Householders across Lancashire are being urged to be more vigilant against rogue tradesmen who could be putting customers’ lives at risk by installing dangerous heating systems.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that 40 people die needlessly every year as a result of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning and a further 200 are hospitalised.
All types of boilers can emit the colourless, odourless gas and households in Lancashire could be more at risk from poisoning if they use unqualified, cowboy installers.
In response OFTEC, the UK trade body for the oil fired heating industry, is urging local households to report any suspected dangerous installations via their website www.oftec.org.uk.
Malcolm Farrow, of OFTEC, said: “Every year hundreds of people across Lancashire put themselves at risk of CO poisoning by using non-qualified technicians to service their boilers.
“As households seek to cut back on costs we are concerned that more and more vulnerable people will be put at risk.
“If you suspect that you have been a victim of a cowboy installer then you can report it to us through our website.”
CO poisoning can lead to serious long term health problems and even death, and victims are often completely unaware of the cause.
The main symptoms to look out for are tiredness, dizziness and prolonged headaches.
Malcolm added: “Cowboy installers give the industry a bad name and their unprofessional work can cause serious health problems to innocent victims.
“They can also cause you problems when you try to sell your home as the work may not meet current building control legislation.
“It is important to get your boiler regularly serviced but it is also essential that you use a registered GasSafe or OFTEC technician.
“These experts follow strict safety regulations including checking the levels of carbon monoxide as part of their service.”