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Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

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Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

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Senator


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Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Pat Rabbitte)

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Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Pat Rabbitte)

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Snippet Contents:

I am very conscious of the dangers posed by carbon monoxide gas to people in their homes and at their places of work.
That is why I launched the first Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week on the 24th September 2012; a week which saw a sustained, multi-media publicity campaign to alert people to the dangers and give them advice as to what they should do to be safe. The issue was widely reported on television, on national and local radio and in both national and local press. This covered everything from personal testimony from bereaved family members to television demonstration of correct fitting of carbon monoxide alarms.
There have been similar media campaigns at the start of the heating season, to try to prevent the tragic loss. They have been organised by Bord Gáis, approved by the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) and reported to the CER’s Gas Safety Committee, in which my Department participates. While the focus is on the start of the heating season, when people start up boilers and appliances that may not have been used for some time, there are media messages throughout the year.
Publicity campaigns are only part of the work that the Government does to try to ensure people’s safety.
My colleague, the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government has recently revised the Building Regulations so that it will become compulsory to fit approved carbon monoxide alarms to certain types of new building. A lot of work has been done on the relevant standards that apply to these alarms, both at national and at European level. The Gas Technical Standards Committee of the National Standards Authority of Ireland is currently working on guidance documentation to assist with proper installation of such alarms. They also issued a special standard to fill the gap until the relevant European Standard can be enhanced.
I also wish to acknowledge the great work done by the gas industry to raise safety standards. The gas industry has worked with the energy regulator to establish a register of approved gas installers. This has been a hugely important development in improving quality control in gas matters, including reducing the risk posed by carbon monoxide in gas installations.
This “joined-up” approach to matters relating to carbon monoxide can be well demonstrated by the specific campaign last year to warn the public about gas cookers which could be operated in an unsafe manner, creating a carbon monoxide risk. Industry, government, regulator, standards authority and the National Consumer Agency all acted together to identify and promote the risks and the solutions to consumers. As a result, very many potentially dangerous appliances were identified and associated risks were mitigated.
I assure the Deputy that I take this matter very seriously and that I intend to launch this year’s Carbon Monoxide Week after the summer.