Inadequate carbon monoxide alarms 'putting lives at risk'

Inadequate carbon monoxide alarms 'putting lives at risk'

Landlords are being urged to regularly check their carbon monoxide alarms or risk being fined up to £5,000, after a new report revealed that many alarms are not fit for purpose.

More than half (52%) of the carbon monoxide (CO) alarms tested across seven EU member states posed a 'high' or 'serious risk', a new report co-funded by the European Union and the Product Safety Forum of Europe (PROSAFE) has revealed.

In total more than 81 models of CO detectors were inspected, with 25 tested in a laboratory.  Of those laboratory tested, only three models were found to be OK, with many detectors assessed by PROSAFE deemed to be a 'high' risk.

This shocking report comes less than eight months after West Sussex Trading Standards warned that as many as 80% of CO alarms tested failed British Standards tests.

Recognising the issue, last year the UK government passed legislation requiring private sector landlords to test their smoke and CO alarms annually and before each new tenancy. 

Failure to comply would see landlords face fines of up to £5,000.

"There is undoubtedly a serious issue with the quality of CO alarms on the market and more needs to be done to raise awareness of the issue," said John Stones, managing director of Gas Safe Europe, which estimates that there are more than 30m alarms in the UK that could be "providing consumers with a false sense of security and putting lives at risk".

Last year, a company was ordered to pay £11,000 in fines and prosecution costs after pleading guilty to two breaches of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 for putting a woman and her son at risk of suffering carbon monoxide poisoning for seven years at their home in Ashton-under-Lyne.

Landlord, Rent4U Ltd, of Manchester, was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after an inspection of the gas boiler at her home found it was in a condition classified as 'immediately dangerous', and therefore unsafe for the tenant.

Trafford Magistrates' Court heard that the firm failed to arrange an annual gas safety check at the terraced house on Marlborough Street between 2007 and 2014.

The court was told that Rent4U had previously been served with two Improvement Notices by HSE in 2013 after failing to arrange annual gas safety checks at two other properties.

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