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New inquiry to improve CO safety

A call for evidence investigating ways to improve carbon monoxide safety has been issued by a new Parliamentary inquiry .

The inquiry, Preventing Carbon Monoxide Poisoning 2: Bringing behavioural insights to poisoning prevention efforts’, is being conducted by the All-Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group (APPCOG), a cross-party grouping of Parliamentarians.

Co-chaired by APPCOG and  Dr Rachel McCloy, Director of the Centre for Applied Behavioural Science, University of Reading, the inquiry builds on the APPCOG’s 2011 inquiry ‘Preventing Carbon Monoxide Poisoning’, chaired by Baroness Finlay of Llandaff. This  made 17 recommendations for policy and other change, including improved detection, regulation and public awareness of the threat posed by the colourless, odourless gas.

The new inquiry will gather evidence and assess what progress has been made by both government and industry in enacting those 2011 recommendations.

The inquiry will also identify a core set of behaviours that must change, in order to enhance efforts to reduce carbon monoxide poisoning. In doing so, the inquiry will draw from emerging experience/evidence from behavioural-insight led approaches in the domestic gas industry, as well as in different policy domains.

The inquiry will publish its final report in Autumn 2014, in which it will make further recommendations for policy change, laying out clear roles and responsibilities for government and industry in promoting safe CO-related behaviours amongst the UK population.

The public consultation is open until 16 May, and you are encouraged to submit written evidence via the APPCOG website. This written evidence will help support later stages of the inquiry.

APPCOG co-chair Barry Sheerman MP said: “It’s obviously important to raise public awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide in order to reduce the number of poisonings. But we should also recognise that the ultimate goal of awareness-raising activities is to effect significant changes in behaviour and reduce incidents of poisoning.

Information alone may not be sufficient in bringing about the behaviour changes needed to prevent unnecessary deaths and injuries from carbon monoxide poisoning. This is why we’re excited by what a behavioural-insights led approach will bring to the new APPCOG inquiry and efforts to reduce poisonings.”

 Inquiry co-chair Dr. Rachel McCloy added: “Insights from behavioural sciences have made strong contributions in other areas of public policy, not least in the areas of personal finance and public services. This inquiry will bring that expertise to bear on policy surrounding carbon monoxide safety. We are confident the insights we uncover will help us develop clear recommendations that, if acted upon by government and industry, will help save lives and prevent injuries from the tragedy of carbon monoxide poisoning.”

The inquiry will be guided by an expert advisory board comprising senior leaders from across the Parliamentary, energy industry and academic communities.

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