NSW Fair Trading Minister Anthony Roberts is warning the public about the risks associated with gas heaters, including gas hot water heaters, used in enclosed or confined areas.
The NSW Coroner recommended NSW Fair Trading launch an information campaign for building managers in strata schemes, strata managers and owners corporations after an inquest into the death in 2002 of a Sydney security guard from carbon monoxide poisoning.
The gas water heater servicing the gym’s pool in the Pyrmont unit block where the security guard worked was not flued and ventilation to the gym was sealed to prevent the ingress of cold air and debris.
“Carbon monoxide is colourless, odourless and tasteless and as a result, people will be unaware of its presence and quickly overwhelmed,” Mr Roberts said.
“Heaters designed to be installed and operated outside can be dangerous if they are installed in enclosed spaces.
“Adherence to the regulations and Australian Standards regarding the installation, storage and handling of gas heaters and gas water heaters is a matter of life and death.”
The Minister said the major danger associated with all gas heaters used in enclosed or confined spaces was when ventilation was poor or obstructed and poisonous fumes such as carbon monoxide could be forced back into rooms.
All gas water heaters are required to be fitted with a flue vented to the outside of a building to prevent products of combustion entering buildings.
Mr Roberts said that in addition to conducting an information campaign, NSW Fair Trading regularly inspects the marketplace to ensure compliance and NSW Fair Trading had the power to direct unapproved or unsafe gas heaters and appliances be removed from sale and defective gas installations be immediately rectified.
“NSW Fair Trading is currently investigating another Sydney unit complex where gas water heaters have been installed contrary to the Australian Standard, so I am strongly urging people to heed this warning and if they need further advice to call NSW Fair Trading on 13 32 20 or check the Gas Safety fact sheet at NSW Fair Trading website,” the Minister said.
For more information visit the NSW Fair Trading website or call Fair Trading on 13 32 20.
More information on product safety is available at www.productsafety.gov.au