The Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations require us to service appliances to Reg 26/9, which involves Flueing, Ventilation, Gas rate and/or Burner Pressure and to confirm the appliance is safe for continued use. You will note the absence of a requirement to test any CO alarm.

As CO alarms are not referred to in Reg 26/9, there will therefore not be category of defect under the Gas Industry Unsafe Procedure. Can you imagine the public furore, not to mention the possibility of legal action, if an appliance was deemed safe under Reg 26/9 GSIUR but was not signed off because of the lack of a CO alarm, as the author is suggesting. Articles like this do a disservice to the CO lobbyists, as anyone reading this article would regard them as being untrustworthy with the facts.
Until the law is changed, we have no legal right to not sign off appliances that do not have a CO alarm.

If it becomes law that CO alarms must be fitted, we do not see how a malfunctioning CO alarm will inhibit the use of a perfectly safe working gas appliance and will once again just lead to another paper exercise of issuing a warning notice - such as we do for many other defects and which has been highlighted at industry level (GILG) by OPGO - without the prospect of the situation being resolved.

The crux of the matter is that householders are responsible for their own safety; we can only advise and turn off or disconnect an appliance with their permission. As we are all aware, "At Risk" warnings are frequently ignored by the public, sometimes with tragic consequences.

As working gas engineers, and belonging to an organisation such as OPGO, we are able to disseminate all the available information in order to sort fact from fiction. With regard to testing of CO alarms, we have recently contacted several CO alarm manufacturers and CoGDEM about a product which is being marketed as a way of testing these alarms. They all categorically assured us the product in question was not an approved product; in fact many good quality CO alarms now have self- diagnostic facilities - which puts the ongoing functionality of these alarms firmly in the "householder’s responsibility" bracket.