Gas Safety Regulations

Introduction

According to the Department of Health and Social Care, there’s an average of 60 dead people every year in the United Kingdom by cause of carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide can be produced when gas, coil, or oil don’t fully burn. So, if any human is exposed to large amounts of it which could be due to leaks, blocked flues, or any other damage to gas appliances, it can cause very serious health problems. Some household appliances like boilers, gas fires, water heaters, and central heating systems, operates with gas, and in some circumstances, due to the lack of maintenance, incorrect installation or other reasons, these appliances can cause carbon monoxide leaks, which is bad for humans and causes complications like brain damage, heart problems, and even death. That’s why it’s important to always be aware of what gas appliances need to go through checking and maintenance to avoid future problems. People should never use a gas appliance if there’s a sign it’s not operating properly, or if objects are blocking the ventilation or outside flues, as this can be one of the main causes why carbon monoxide can get stuck in a room. It’s also important for those that are living in a property to know how to turn the gas off and what to do if there’s a gas emergency. Due to unexpected situations, that can happen at any moment and people should know ways to put their lives safe. A carbon monoxide detector is a great device to have at any place using gas appliances, in some places like Northern Ireland these detectors are required after installation or replacement of a combustion appliance. And in Scotland, landlords must provide these detectors after any gas appliance fixing or maintenance as well. You can always find information and support regarding gas safety-related subjects with Perfect Plumbers. We have qualified professionals available for solving any concerns about gas operating appliances. The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 is a United Kingdom statutory instrument that regulates activities related to the safety of installation and use of gas appliances. It covers aspects of the supply and use of gas such as the duties of landlords to warrant gas appliances safety on their properties, the qualifications gas engineers should have, details about the gas safety checks, maintenance, and other related subjects. It’s important to know in detail what these regulations state, to understand how the gas safety checks work, who is responsible for carrying them out, what are the requirements for a gas engineer to carry out these checks and other landlords’ and tenants’ duties. Let’s look into the regulations and learn about all gas appliances related topics.

Contents

What Are The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998?

These regulations, supported by the Health and Safety Executive’s Code of Practice, came into force on the 6th of April, 1998. It’s a guide for those who want to install, repair, or maintain gas appliances, like other gas fittings as well. Landlords have the biggest amount of duties on these regulations, but tenants also have an important part. One of the most common questions is ‘what type of properties are covered by these regulations?’. The short answer is most of domestic and some commercial premises, especially when they are under a lease of seven years or less. Regarding the type of appliances, it covers all type of gas and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) appliances or flue installed that belongs to the premises. This means any other appliances on the premises that belong to the tenant won’t be covered. Violation of the gas safety regulations have severe consequences, so it’s important to not only follow them from a health and safety perspective but also to avoid any hefty fines. If a landlord fails to meet any of these responsibilities, the Health and Safety Executive can bring prosecutions like facing fines or custodial sentence. Or they could serve an Improvement Notice on the responsible party requiring the damage to be fixed. Health and Safety Executive inspectors have the power to enter to a private property to examine, investigate and even destroy damaged items or appliances where there are signs or prove that they might cause danger or personal injuries to the tenants. Along with these regulations, there’s another piece of legislation that deals with gas safety as well: The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 Approved Code of Practice and guidance. Also published by the Health and Safety Executive, it includes detailed guidance on the safe installation of gas-related equipment and provides standards of training in safe gas installations.

Other Gas-Related Legislations to Comply With

The Health and Safety Executive details some other pieces of legislation related to gas safety uses. To mention some of those: Health and Safety at Work etc. Act (1974): a law that covers all concerning health and safety in connection with the workplace, visitors, or public’s protection on work premises. Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015: sets out what people involved in construction work needs to know, including gas installations on buildings or any premises. Gas Acts 1986 and 1995: related to the transportation and supply of gas services to consumers. Reporting of Injuries, Diseases, and Dangerous occurrences Regulations 2013: states obligations for employers to report occupation-related diseases and injuries, including gas safety accidents. Pressure Systems Safety Regulations 2000: covers the safe design and use of pressure systems, and control of under-pressure storage of hazardous substances like liquid gas canisters. Other related legislation can be found on the HSE website. All these regulations have defined employers, landlords, and tenants’ responsibilities or duties related to the installation, management, and use of gas-operated appliances. They specify all the gas safety matters to be covered, let’s study all those duties in detail.

Gas Safety Landlord Responsibilities or Duties

There are many different responsibilities and duties that a landlord must adhere to when it comes to gas safety. To help make it easier, we’ve broken them down below. Ensure all relevant gas fittings and flues serving to any gas fittings are maintained in a safe condition, so it prevents the risk of injury to any tenant or person in the property. All gas appliances should be serviced as per the manufacturer’s instructions. The landlord is responsible for ensuring each gas appliance is checked for safety every 12 months after being installed. Arrangement and payment of the safety check are the landlord’s responsibility. Always keep two years record of all appliances and flues gas-safety checks. These checks must be available for any future tenants of the occupant of the premises. Make sure that all gas-safety checks are carried out by a qualified and HSE authorized person. If gas fittings are not in rooms occupied by tenants, for example, they’re on a hall or other public service use, the landlord should ensure that a copy of the gas safety checking is displayed for the view of all the premise’s users. A gas safe registered engineer should inform the landlord and tenants about a dangerous or damaged gas appliance, and if he can’t get agreement from any of those to disconnect the appliance, then a gas transporter can use its power to do disconnect the gas supply, for the safety of the tenants. Landlords cannot delegate their duties to tenants, for example asking them to arrange and/or pay gas safety checks. Gas appliances installations on bedrooms, shower rooms, or any other room of caravans should be the ‘room-sealed’ type, but heating systems of less than 14 kilowatts can be fitted if they have a device that cut off the gas supply before a dangerous level of carbon monoxide builds up. Property managing agents can be responsible for the arrangement of gas safety checks if the contract between them and landlords states it in that way, maintenance of gas appliances can also be part of the managing agent responsibilities once agreed in the contract. As per this law landlords owe a duty of care to tenants or occupiers, this means they should take steps to deal with risks of death due to gas leaks, or any other gas-related danger. Having the safety check document doesn’t directly mean all gas appliances are operating properly and there’s no risk, the safety check itself it’s not sufficient to provide effective maintenance. If a gas safety registered engineer states there is a failure or appliance not operating properly, measures to fix it should be taken. When it comes to gas safety, we at Perfect Plumbers make sure that everything is done properly. If you have any questions about gas safety in your home, feel free to get in touch.

Gas Safety Tenants or Occupiers Responsibilities or Duties

The first and main responsibility of any tenant, occupier, or responsible person, is to not use any gas operating appliance if it’s known or there’s a suspect it’s unsafe or dangerous or can cause injuries. They should inform their landlord or managing agent of any faults on the gas appliances. Gas safety engineers should inform first to the tenants or occupiers of any failure or damage on the gas appliances, then they should inform the landlord or managing agent as well. Under a gas leak situation, the tenant or occupier is responsible for taking steps to prevent further escape of gas. This doesn’t mean they’re responsible for fixing it, but they should inform the landlord or managing agent and request a professional gas repairing service. It’s advised it to turn the appliance off and do not touch it or use it until it has been properly checked and fixed. Gas safety engineers should fix the damage before 12 hours after being notified. And gas transporters have the right to disconnect gas service if necessary. If the tenant has brought their gas appliance to the property, then the landlord is not responsible for its maintenance and checking, but it is responsible for the gas pipework. If there is a gas escape tenant should open all doors and windows, shut off the gas supply from the meter valve, not use the appliance until it has been fixed, and call the gas emergency number or call Perfect Plumbers for immediate assistance. Under no circumstances, the tenants or any other person should manipulate any gas appliances if they’re not professional and authorized gas safety engineers.

Who Should Carry Out the Gas Safety Check?

Even if a tenant has knowledge or has worked before as a gas fitter, they should not carry out the Gas Safety Check. Instead, this should be done by a Gas Safe registered engineer, who is competent and qualified to work in that specific area of gas appliances operations. A landlord or tenant can ask a gas safety engineer to provide their registration card to check with the Gas Safe register website if they’re registered. Engineers get a new ID card annually with a different license number to make sure they’re constantly updating their knowledge and registration. A Gas Safe license shows the license number, valid dates of operation, name and a picture of the engineer and the company he works for, and also the types of work he’s allowed to do. It’s a big violation of the law to allow a non-registered engineer to do the gas safety and then ask a registered one to sign up the check document, it could cause them to face prosecution and other big consequences. A plumber can’t do any Gas Safety check unless they’re also registered and authorized engineers. In that case, they can do both appliances installation and repair, such as heating system or radiator’s installation, and then they could also do the connection of the water pipework to the boiler. To obtain the Gas Safety certification, engineers must do training and/or an apprenticeship with a Gas Safe registered company. This can usually take up to three years, there are different levels of Gas safe engineers, you should choose the right one for making the annual gas safety checking. Consumers can always go to the Gas Safe Register website (www.gassaferegister.com.uk) to find a registered gas safety engineer, and also to check if a business or an engineer has been registered.

What is the Gas Safety Register?

The official gas registration body for the United Kingdom, it’s handled by Capita Gas Registration and Ancillary Services Limited, a division of Capita PlcIt., and it states that all engineers must be on Gas Safe Register to provide their services. Not only engineers but also gas-related businesses must register to be issued a license that allows that company to provide services. If you need to find an engineer or company that offers gas installation or maintenance services you can check directly at the Gas Safety Register website. You can also contact directly Perfect Plumbers, who are registered and have all the qualifications and authorizations to provide checking and other related services. The Gas Safety Register is an official list of organizations and engineers legally permitted to implement gas work. If you suspect or have proof that somebody is working on gas unlawfully, you must report this to the GSR. Some actions or activities made by the GSR: Work together with the Health and Safety Executive to Investigate reports of illegal gas work Coordinates the annual industry-wide Gas Safety Week Campaign Issue Building Regulations Compliance Certificates if a registered engineer installs a gas-operating device on a property Conducts campaigns to create awareness on consumers regarding the dangers related to gas works, like carbon monoxide poisoning.

Gas Safety Checks

The Gas Safety Check is designed to inspect any gas appliances and to make sure they’re operating properly and safely. It’s different than a gas service which is a less in-deep checking. Every property that has gas-operating appliances, including residential and commercial use should have an annual gas safety check, made by an authorized and registered Gas Safe Engineer. There are just a few exceptions of households that are not required to have annual checks such as places where elderly or very young kids lives. Some of the main things that require to be checked during the process are: 1. All safety devices should be working correctly 2. Check all appliances are correctly fitted and connected to the gas pipes 3. Make sure the appliances are using the correct pressure –as per the manufacturer’s instructions- 4. The gas should be burning correctly on all appliances and the air supply should be enough for proper operation 5. Flues and chimneys can emit gases outside the property without obstacles stopping them 6. Gas pipework is tested for leaks Usually, the Gas Safety Check will take about an hour to be finished, it will also depend on the size of the premises and the number of gas appliances to check. Buildings and bigger premises could take longer. It’s only a one time a year operation and the benefits are worth the spent time. These checks can even be done without the tenant or homeowner being present during the process. Gas engineers won’t usually need any help or information from occupiers, but maybe to let them know where the appliances are located inside the property. It could be done while the homeowner or tenants are not at home though. It’s recommended to arrange gas safety checks during summer months when most of the gas appliances are not being used. It’s more cost-efficient and also easier to find an available gas safe engineer, who might offer a reduced price during this time of the year. Those properties where the boiler’s flues are hidden behind the walls or ceilings won’t be able to be inspected, but only those where the boiler’s flues are connected to fan-assisted room-sealed boilers. If during the checking the engineer senses a carbon monoxide it won’t be possible for the check the flues, so the hatches must be fitted, previous turning the boiler off and not use it until all hatches have been correctly fitted. Should a Gas Safety Check fail or any of the appliances are condemned, the engineer should state it on the Gas Safety Record and the appliance must not be used and instead should be repaired or replaced urgently. If your gas boiler needs to be replaced, consider us at Perfect Plumbers service. We’re all qualified and registered engineers to make sure we get the job done properly for you! In the worst scenario, if a Gas Safety Engineer states that the property has been exposed to big amounts of carbon monoxide, you might have to go to the hospital and inform this to the doctors, so they can make the required tests to identify if you’ve been poisoned with the gas.

Gas Safety Records

This document or certificate is the one provided by the Gas Safe Engineer after carrying out the Gas Safety annual Check. It’s usually better known as Gas Safety Record. If you’re a homeowner, living on your premises, it’s not mandatory to have a Gas Safety Record, but all your gas appliances will still need to be serviced once a year. Instead, if you’re a landlord, it’s a law requirement for you to have a Gas Safety Record updated every year. If you’re a tenant it’s not your responsibility to get the record but your landlord should arrange the checking and provide a copy of the record to each tenant, it should not be dated more than 28 days after the check has been made. Some of the things this certificate will state: 1. Details of the landlord and premises 2. Details of the engineer providing the service 3. Results of the safety checks for each gas appliance 4. Details of each one of the appliances that have been checked 5. Actions or work needed to be carried out in case of any appliance’s failure If your boiler or any other gas appliance fails the gas safety check, it will be mentioned on the record, and it will state the action required to fix or replace, then you’re supposed to make the necessary arrangements to get it repaired or changed. Meanwhile, the gas appliance should not be used, as it could be dangerous and cause injuries or even death. You must keep records of the work undertaken to your boiler or any other gas appliances and you should keep the Gas Safety Records of the past two years. Boiler certificates are not the same as Gas Safety certificates, these first ones are not mandatory and they’re only provided by some homeowners sometimes before selling a property. Boiler certificates state that they have been installed by a qualified and registered engineer and complies with all the safety requirements.

How to Carry on Maintenance of Gas-operated Appliances?

A landlord must ensure that all gas appliances are in a safe condition and proper maintenance is carried as per gas safety regulations. Proper maintenance involves periodic inspections or services and fittings fixing if required. Usually, these maintenances go according to manufacturer’s instructions, but in case there aren’t any a Gas Safety Engineer will operate with the standard instructions for gas appliances. Every maintenance session should have a deep examination of all appliances, operating tests should be performed and taking any remedial actions if necessary. There’s not a specific time for when to do maintenance. It’s recommended to do it once a year, or in less time if the gas safe engineer advises that. Some of the appliances that need maintenance are any gas-operating appliances installed on the premises, including all flues, heating boilers, and radiators. Even those flues that pass through the property but none gas appliances are installed. When there are damages on gas appliances caused by the tenant, usually the tenant will have to pay for the repair, anyway, it’s always recommended to state all the responsibilities of the landlord and tenant on the tenancy agreement. Failure to do maintenance as per law’s requirements can cause death to premises occupiers, which means big problems for landlords, unlimited fines, and even imprisonment. If a property hasn’t had the appropriate maintenance and occupiers suspect of a gas escape, it’s recommended to open all windows and ventilation ways, shut off all gas supply and call a Gas safe Engineer, who should come and fix the damage in less than 12 hours. In the case of a gas-operated appliance emergency into a caravan or holiday home park, where liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) is being used, it must be discussed with the LPG supplier.

Most Common Gas-related Hazards

The most common types of gas used in workplaces are natural gas and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). But along to these main two, there are also a few other less common types: methane, medical gases, and LPG autogas (LPGA). The inaccurate use of gas appliances, the lack of maintenance, or improper installations can cause big health risks like carbon monoxide poisoning and burns. Carbon Monoxide (CO) Poisoning: It’s caused when the gas is not burned properly or the area where the appliance doesn’t have adequate ventilation. Inhalation of this gas can be extremely dangerous for anyone, due it binding with the haemoglobin in the blood and reduces the blood’s ability to carry oxygen which can cause death. Some symptoms of CO poisoning are headaches, nausea, chest, and stomach pains. If you have these symptoms and suspect you’ve been inhaling CO it’s recommended to go to the emergency service at the hospital. Gas Explosions: Poor pipes maintenance can lead to leaks, which increases the risk of an explosion. If there’s a suspect of a gas leak it’s recommended to switch off the gas supply and evacuate the property and contact the National Gas Emergency number on 0800 111999 or local gas supplier. The Gas Safety Regulations states that the responsible person for any premise (landlord, tenant u other occupants) should not use any appliance that shows any signs of danger. Instead, it should be informed to the person in charge of the premises or directly to the gas transporter or supplier if necessary.

Safety Precautions with the Use of Gas Appliances

The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 has started a list of precautions that should be followed to promote the proper use and installation of gas appliances and to avoid dangerous situations that could put premises occupiers’ lives in risk. No one should install a gas appliance that could cause danger to other people. If a used gas appliance needs to be installed, it should be previously checked to guarantee it’s on safe conditions to operate. Flued domestic gas appliances shouldn’t be connected to the gas supply system except by a permanently fixed rigid pipe. No one should install a gas appliance of which use has restrictions or prohibitions. Before installing any gas appliance the gas supply should be turned off unless the appliance is sealed off with an appropriate fitting. Gas appliances that don’t comply with all safety standards shouldn’t be installed. A few things must be checked before installing any gas appliance: flue effectiveness, combustion air proper supply, pressure or heat input, and safe functioning. Also, any defect of the appliance, even if it uses liquefied petroleum gas, should be notified to the responsible person on the premises, and/or to the gas supplier or transporter if necessary. Other general gas-work related precautions also should be taken, like: Make sure gas won’t be released before installing any appliance, take all measures and precautions to do so. Gas fittings should never be left unattended during a gas work, any incomplete gas way should be sealed to make sure it’s safe. Any gas fitting disconnection must require to seal the pipes with the appropriate fitting to avoid the gas to spread outside the pipes. Not any source of ignition should be used while searching for a gas scape. When making any gas fitting work, the installer should make sure that the tightness of gas installation is checked after finishing the installation or repair. Gas storage vessel should be installed as long as it’s safe to do so, and it won’t cause any danger to other people. Gas storage vessels and gas appliances fuelled with liquefied petroleum gas shouldn’t be installed in a cellar or basement. Gases consisting of methane shouldn’t be stored in domestic premises, not even pipes or fuel tanks.

Emergency Control Measures

Emergency controls should be available on the premises for gas appliances to operate. These controls should be locales in an easy-access and adequate location. There are a few measures a person should take when installing emergency control for gas appliance operations: Keys or hand-wheels of the control are securely attached to the operating spindle of the control. Keys should be easy to operate and it should be clear for anyone to understand when the control is open or closed. If the key is not easy enough to handle or understand, a permanent notice should be displayed near showing how to turn controls on and off. Emergency controls should display the procedure to be followed in the case of a gas escape Gas suppliers should ensure that the emergency control procedure notes are clearly and properly worded. Emergency regulations don’t apply for refillable cylinders unless two or more of these cylinders are installed.

Summary

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning is the cause of dozens of deaths all over the world, making it something we need to be very careful about. The poisoning is caused by inhalation of gas, which can spread out of the pipes due to lack of maintenance and leaks. That’s why it’s very important to follow all maintenance instructions and making sure to comply with all the gas safety regulations. The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 is a United Kingdom statutory instrument that regulates activities related to the safety of installation and use of gas appliances. It settles responsibilities for all gas appliance users but specifies landlords and tenants, it also gives details on how to carry out Gas Safety checks and when they should be made. Violation of these regulations can cause high fines and imprisonment. Other gas-related legislation to comply regarding the use, maintenance, and installation of gas-related appliances are The Health and Safety at Work, etc. Act (1974), Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015, Gas Acts 1986 and 1995, Reporting of Injuries, Diseases, and Dangerous occurrences Regulations 2013, Pressure Systems Safety Regulations 2000. Other related legislation can be found on the HSE website. Most of the responsibilities related to gas safety on rented premises belong to landlords, they should ensure all gas appliances and fittings are in safe conditions for operating. One of the main responsibilities is to ensure an annual Gas Safety Check is carried on, by a qualified and registered Gas Safe Engineer, and to keep the Check Record for at least two years. Landlords are also responsible for the repair of any damages on the gas appliances and their flues. On the other side, tenants are responsible for reporting any damages to the landlords or managing agents, and should not operate any appliances with signs of being dangerous for any other person. If there’s a leak or gas escape, they should take all measures to put their lives save and also when possible to open all ventilation ways, shut off the gas supply and request a professional gas repairing service, which should be done in less than 12 hours. Regarding Gas Safety Checks, they should be carried on at all premises using gas appliances, and it’s mandatory to get them done every year by a registered Gas Safe Engineer. They should have an updated license that allows them to do specific types of gas-related jobs, so it’s recommended to check their ID to confirm this information. The Gas Safety Register is the official gas registration body for the United Kingdom and it states that all engineers must be on Gas Safe Register to provide their services. They provide an official list of organizations and engineers legally permitted to implement gas work. Gas Safety Checks should be done every year, and Gas Safety Records should be kept for minimum two years, the certified copy must also be sent to tenants, if applicable, and they should contain details of the landlord and premises being checked, and list gas appliances that were checked, as the ones that might need repair. Not only the annual checking should be carried on, but homeowners and landlords should do maintenance to all gas appliances at least once a year or when required. Two of the more common gas-related hazards are Carbon Monoxide (CO) poisoning and gas explosions. To avoid any of those, proper maintenance should be done, and also the annual gas safety checks. But also, landlords and tenants should make sure to not use any damaged gas appliances or any that show signs of being dangerous for other people. Along with to those measures, it’s also recommended to take safety precautions with the use of gas appliances, such as not installing damaged devices or any that could put lives in risk, do the proper operational checks before installing any fittings, and make sure there aren’t any failures or defects. It’s recommended to install Emergency Control devices on-premises and make sure keys or valves are correctly located so that it can be easy for anyone to activate them in case of an emergency. Gas safety regulations should be always followed and checks and mandatory fixings or repairs should be carried on as faster as possible. Perfect Plumbers has specialized and registered engineers that can provide advice on safety gas procedures, and can do annual services and gas safety checks with the best quality. Safety is always a priority, health and well-being shouldn’t be taken as a secondary matter. Make sure all gas appliances at your premises are safe so you and your family can be safe.