A regular duty and service of the gas company’s meter-reader personnel should be to periodically (at least once a year) check to make sure that gas shut-off valves are not stuck or are not too hard to turn. Of course, they should also always be easily accessible. The meter-reader person should notify the owners or tenants of any problem.
Also, gas valves should be redesigned to be able to be shut off by hand without the need for any tools to turn the valve. However, if any tools are required, they should be required to always be within arms reach of the gas shut-off valve for quick and easy shut-off.