Gas safety

1.  Introduction

The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 require all engineers involved in the installation, inspection, servicing, maintenance and repair of domestic gas appliances to be registered under a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) approved scheme. On 1 April 2009, the scheme previously operated by CORGI was replaced by the new Gas Safe Register™. The Gas Safe Register™ is run by Capita Gas Registration and Ancillary Services Limited, a division of Capita Group PLC, and its operation is now regulated by HSE. The CORGI gas registration scheme is no longer recognised by law as the appropriate register for gas safety.

2.  Competence

No person may work on gas fittings or appliances unless they are competent to do so. The requirements apply to both natural and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).

Gas work includes:

(a)  the installation, repair or service of a gas boiler;

(b)  installation or repair of a gas fire, gas cooker, hob or water heater;

(c)  any other work on heat producing appliances involving the gas supply pipework, flues, or combustion chambers if connected to either a natural gas or LPG supply.

Gas Safe registered engineers undergo stringent training and are examined to ensure they are competent and qualified to work safely with gas. Although registration is deemed a basic indication of competence, it must be noted that not all engineers are qualified for all gas work. Registered engineers are issued with a unique licence number and a photo identification card. The card will list specifically the types of work that the engineer is qualified to undertake. Departments must ensure that any contractor engaged to work on gas fittings is Gas Safe registered, and appropriately qualified for the work to be done.

3.  In-house gas engineers

Specified operatives of the Direct Labour Organisation (DLO), part of the University Estates Services, are registered to work with gas under the new Gas Safe scheme. Competency, skills training and continued registration is overseen by the DLO Manager.

Other departments with in-house gas engineers, previously CORGI registered, must also comply with these requirements. However, the strict training and competency requirements imposed by the legislation may prove onerous and prohibitively expensive for departments to manage, with little benefit being derived in relation to amount of gas work actually undertaken. Therefore outsourced expertise is recommended for all gas work.

4.  Monitoring

Gas Safe Register™ will periodically monitor the work undertaken by registered gas engineers to ensure that they understand and continue to work to the standards set out in legislation, and in accordance with the rules of registration. They will also investigate complaints about unsafe gas work.

5.  Modification to gas fittings and refurbishments

Alterations to gas fittings may only be made after a suitable risk assessment has been undertaken by a competent gas engineer. The responsibility for ensuring that an appropriate risk assessment is carried out rests with the person(s) placing a given contract.

Gas safety must be considered before any refurbishment commences and must be part of the project risk assessment. Refurbishment projects must be notified to the Director of Estates and Project Officers appointed by her must ensure that where gas work is undertaken, a suitable risk assessment is prepared and the work executed by Gas Safe registered contractors.

6.  Maintenance

All gas appliances and fittings must be maintained in a safe condition. The relative responsibilities of the Estates Services and the department for maintenance in University buildings are delineated in the Standing Orders for University Functional Buildings and Sites, otherwise known as the ‘Grey Book’.

7.  Landlords

The Gas Safety Regulations deal with gas work in domestic and certain commercial premises and place specific duties on landlords. In the case of properties let by the Land Agent, the Land Agent assumes the responsibilities of the landlord. Similarly, where residential accommodation is provided as part of the employee’s conditions of employment, and is part of the functional estate (e.g. various caretaker houses or flats), the Director of Estates is responsible.

Landlords must ensure that pipe-work, gas appliances and flues are maintained in a safe condition, that annual safety checks are performed and that a copy of the gas safety certificate is issued to tenants within 28 days of the safety check being carried out. New tenants also must be provided with a copy of a current certificate. Landlords are also obliged to let tenants know how to turn off the supply in the event of a gas leak. Where mobile and portable gas appliances are landlord owned, the duty to ensure annual testing rests with the landlord.

Copies of all test certificates should be retained for two years.

Where short-term accommodation is provided for participants on further education courses or during conferences, e.g. Rewley House or Egrove Park, the responsibility for maintenance and annual safety checks on any fixed and mobile gas appliances is the responsibility of the parent department, in accordance with section 6 above. In the case of the examples provided this is the Said Business School and the Department for Continuing Education, respectively.

For premises under the control of St Cross College and Kellogg College, although the University is ultimately responsible for ensuring that the requirements are met, in practice the arrangements are made by the college concerned. However, the University will monitor that these arrangements are satisfactory.

THIS STATEMENT FORMS PART OF THE UNIVERSITY’S SAFETY POLICY.  UNIVERSITY POLICY NOTE S5/99 IS SUPERSEDED.  PLEASE AMEND THE INDEX.

July 2009