Providing advice

General Public Information

Illegal Gas Operatives

South West Assessment and Training train and assess operatives in order to ensure that they are competent at carrying out work on gas installations. It is a legal requirement that anyone working on gas installations are appropriately qualified to do so and are registered on the Gas Safe Register.

The qualifications have to be renewed every five years and have cost implications, as operatives not only have to pay for their training and assessment but the process takes several days to complete, meaning they are unable to work during this time.

Therefore it is imperative that, as a customer, you ensure that any gas operative you employ to undertake work on your gas installation is both qualified to carry out that particular work and also registered to do so. To do this click here and you will be taken to the Gas Safe Register website where the name of the operative can be entered and their details checked.


If you are the landlord of rented accommodation, you have a legal obligation to have any gas appliances within that accommodation checked for safety within every 12 months. Click here for a free leaflet outlining the legal duties.

Regular servicing of gas, oil and solid-fuel appliances

Even if the property you live in is your own, if there are gas, oil-fired or solid fuel appliances within it they should be checked for safety at least every 12 months. This is because failure to do so can result in carbon monoxide occurring (see below).

The same requirement for regular servicing applies to any unvented hot water cylinder installed within the property due to the potential danger if its safety devices fail.

In order to service a gas, oil-fired or solid fuel appliance to the highest possible standard it is essential that manufacturer's instructions provided with that appliance are made available to the operative.

Therefore when you first have an appliance installed, please keep the instructions supplied with it somewhere safe nearby the appliance, and where you'll be able to find them quickly when needed.

Carbon Monoxide

Unsafe gas, oil and solid fuel appliances produce a highly poisonous gas called carbon monoxide (CO). It can cause death and serious long term health problems such as brain damage.

You can’t see it, taste it or smell it but it can kill quickly with no warning, and it is known as the silent killer. Many of the symptoms of carbon monoxide are similar to those of flu, food poisoning, viral infections, or simple tiredness.

It is common to mistake the symptoms for something else. Gas, oil and solid fuel appliances should be serviced every year to ensure that they are safe and to minimise the risks of carbon monoxide.

It is also highly recommended that an electronic carbon monoxide detector (complying with BS EN 50291) is fitted for certain types of appliances (ones which use air from the room in which they are installed, , such as gas fire, as well as flueless appliances such as gas cookers). For further information about the dangers of carbon monoxide, click here.

Oil Installations

Having oil appliances serviced and maintained regularly is equally as important as having gas appliances maintained. The operative carrying out this maintenance work should be suitably qualified and should also be registered for oil work with an appropriate competent persons scheme such as OFTEC.

In addition to maintaining the oil-fired appliance, the condition and location of the oil tank should also be checked with a risk assessment. If the oil tank is single skinned you are likely to be advised that the tank should be bunded (a tank within a tank). If this is the case and the tank is not replaced your household insurance may be void in the event of an oil leak. The same applies if you are advised to fire protect the tank and you fail to do so. Click here for further details of what should be checked during a routine inspection of your oil-fired appliances.

Electrical Installations

Your electrical installation requires periodic inspection. The frequency of this inspection depends on property type (i.e. rented, privately owned, commercial etc.). If this is not carried out your insurance may become void.

This inspection must be carried out by a competent electrician.