Gas Safety Trust warns of wood pellet danger

The Gas Safety Trust is warning installers, distributors and users of wood pellets to be aware of the danger of carbon monoxide poisoning, following 9 fatalities since 2002 caused by poisoning following entry into wood pellet storage areas.
Although there have not been any incidents so far in the UK, the use of wood pellets is increasing and awareness of this danger is essential.
Gas Safety Trust Board Chair, Chris Bielby MBE said:
‘The use of wood pellet boilers in homes, businesses and schools in the UK as an alternative to oil or gas fired boilers is increasing. The HSE have issued a warning to all users of these appliances, as it is not a danger that most people would consider. Carbon monoxide can kill quickly without warning, and we support the HSE in raising awareness of this potential hazard’.
Wood pellets are made from dried and milled sawdust and wood shavings that have been compressed into pellets. They are classified as a bio-fuel, a non-fossil heating fuel.
The pellets for boilers are normally stored in large sealed containers or rooms that tend to be enclosed. The atmosphere inside the storage areas can become oxygen depleted and a toxic atmosphere containing carbon monoxide can accumulate.
Experimentation has shown that small quantities of wood pellets can produce life-threatening quantities of carbon monoxide in a confined space.
Chris continues, ‘Awareness of carbon monoxide poisoning from combusting fuels is increasing. However, this is a new danger that most people would not have previously considered’.

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