New research from Gas Safe Register (GSR) has revealed that almost five million people across the UK are putting themselves at risk from carbon monoxide poisoning, gas leaks, fires and explosions by employing illegal gas engineers.

GSR found that nearly 19% of people who employed a tradesperson to work on a gas appliance did not check their ID card or qualifications.

This comes as GSR releases four years’ worth of data from its investigations team, which searches out unqualified and unregistered gas fitters across the UK. The team found that 65% of gas jobs carried out by illegal fitters were unsafe and one in five gas appliances were so dangerous that they had to be disconnected immediately.

The study found that people are most likely to employ a tradesperson based on recommendations from friends or family members, and trust them based on their personal presentation or how official they look, rather than on their qualifications.

Jonathan Samuel, chief executive of GSR, said: “Our investigation team’s data shows how dangerous it is to let unregistered gas fitters carry out work in your home. We are therefore calling on people to ‘trust the triangle’ by checking for the Gas Safe Register logo on gas fitters’ ID cards, and help keep their families safe by only employing registered engineers who are qualified to work on the appliance in question.”