Centralians urged to get gas heaters checked before winter

As the central region gears up for winter, NT WorkSafe reminds residents to ensure that their gas heating appliances are working properly to keep them warm and safe.

NT WorkSafe’s Acting Manager of Technical Services Nadia Rimmer said NT WorkSafe regulates the safe use of gas appliances in both commercial and domestic settings under the Dangerous Goods legislation and gas safety remains a pressing issue, especially during winter, following the numerous gas heating-related incidents that have occurred in Australian homes and workplaces over the years.

“Carbon monoxide spillage accounts for the majority of cases and is typically caused by faulty, unmaintained or misused gas appliances operating in a poorly ventilated space,” she said.
She explained that the release and build-up of harmful gases like carbon monoxide put individuals at risk for serious health and safety consequences, especially in enclosed spaces such as a caravan or bedroom.

“Exposure to products of combustion can leave a person dizzy, nauseous, or worse, suffocated to death,” she said.

“Carbon monoxide is especially dangerous as it is a colourless and odourless fume and can enter the body without any warning, leaving victims unaware of their exposure to such toxicity until the damage has already been done.”

To beat this so-called “silent killer”, Mrs Rimmer emphasized that residents should ensure that their gas appliances are free of the risk for carbon monoxide poisoning by having it serviced by a licenced gasfitter.

Licenced gasfitters are professionally trained to install, repair and maintain gas appliances. They can also conduct negative pressure and carbon monoxide spillage tests, assuring households and organisations of their safety before any gas operations take place.

However, NT WorkSafe warns owners not to wait until an appliance becomes old and faulty prior to having it checked.

“We recommend that servicing be done once every two years, or annually if the equipment is more than ten years old,” said Mrs Rimmer.

“With regular cleaning and servicing, issues causing overheating and burner problems, safety control defects, ventilation concerns and other issues that may develop over time would be fixed before they can cause any accidents.”

NT WorkSafe also encourages the use of a carbon monoxide alarm that can easily detect a gas leak, but highlights that it can only serve as a back-up measure and should not substitute regular appliance servicing.

In addition, NT WorkSafe reminds owners to be wary of fire risks by ensuring that their gas appliances are placed in a well-ventilated area and adequately distanced from flammable surfaces and materials such as clothing.

To protect individuals from carbon monoxide poisoning and other gas appliance risks, NT WorkSafe has also issued a range of safety bulletins available on their website.

For more information, visit worksafe.nt.gov.au/safety-and-prevention/gas-safety

Communications Unit
0401 114 569