A report commissioned by the CO Research Trust has found the data surrounding carbon monoxide (CO) incidents related to solid fuel appliances is poor, and that it could be leaving homeowners at risk.

Wood burning stoves have seen a surge in popularity in recent years, and with 200,000 stoves sold every year, this growth shows no signs of slowing down. It is estimated that 1.5m UK households have a wood burning stove.

However, unlike the gas sector, where there is a requirement to report CO related incidents under RIDDOR*, with solid fuel appliances there is no legal requirement to report incidents.

The report, led by Dr James Hanlon of the Institute of Occupational Medicine (IOM), looked at the current state of play for the regulatory and policy landscape and incident data for CO in domestic properties in the UK.

The report found huge shortcomings in terms of regulation and reporting of CO incidents, and that the solid fuel industry was under regulated compared to the gas sector. He concluded that there needs to be a concerted effort to collect data that relates to CO incidents for solid fuel appliances, to protect homeowners in the UK.

Lead Researcher Dr James Hanlon said “It is hoped that this project will be a catalyst for change in this area and that the report will galvanize the industry to help improve safety. The industry is facing several challenges currently. We have identified the clear need for reporting and improved regulation in the solid fuel sector”.

Head of Charitable Operations Adrian McConnell said “The worry is that because we don’t have a clear picture, we just don’t know how many people are at risk of CO poisoning from solid fuel appliances. Given the spike in popularity of these appliances, this is a growing problem”.

The CO Research Trust has just released the latest Downstream Incident Data (DIDR) figures for 2018 to 2020, in which there were 6 fatalities reported from CO incidents, 4 of which were caused by solid fuel appliances.

The data for the DIDR reports is provided by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), British Gas and the Gas Safe Register. The report is produced from the investigation of domestic incidents, which involve mains natural gas and piped LPG in Great Britain. They include an assessment of incidents involving solid fuel and oil appliances.

The concern is that these figures do not show the whole picture and that many more lives could be at risk.

Dr James Hanlon will be presenting the findings of the project at 3pm on Thursday 25th November. To sign up for the presentation please click here.

There will be the opportunity to discuss these crucial issues after the presentation.

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*RIDDOR is the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 to the https://www.hse.gov.uk/riddor/

About the CO Research Trust
The CO Research Trust (formerly the Gas Safety Trust) is a registered charity which was established in 2005. The vision of the charity is a world where people are not exposed to carbon monoxide (CO).

For more information please contact.

Natalie Fleck

CO Research Trust


Follow us: @COResearchTrust

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