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Transcript: Gas Safe Register

Transcript of April 2009 podcast.

You are listening to the HSE Podcast. The HSE protects people's health and safety at work.

Welcome to this edition of the HSE Podcast. In this episode we met up with Jeff Learmann to find about the Gas Safe Register the body responsible for managing the registration and inspection of gas engineers in Great Britain from the first of April two thousand and nine.

And HSE's info line Victoria Brady provides some answers to one of your most popular health and safety questions.  This time we ask can I work alone?

But first here is a round up of the latest health and safety news.

Good news for businesses from the sixth of April two thousand and nine employers will no longer have to register the factories, offices and shops in which their employees work with the relevant safety authority.  This means fewer forms to fill in.  For more information about the repeal of this legal requirement and news of other recent changes to health and safety law visit health and safety legislation website

The HSE and the Environment Agency are working together to make sure that any Nuclear Power Station built in the UK meets the highest standards of safety, security, environmental protection and waste management.  Visit the recently re-launched New Nuclear Power Stations website  to find out about our assessment of two power station designs and how you can get involved.

Employers have a legal duty to display HSE's Health and Safety Law poster in a prominent position in each workplace or provide each worker with a copy of the equivalent leaflet outlining British Health and Safety Laws.  HSE is publishing new versions of the Health and Safety poster and leaflet.  The new versions are modern, eye catching and easy to read.  They set out in simple terms what employers and workers must do and tell you what to do if there is a problem.

Employers can if they wish continue to use their existing versions of poster and leaflet until the fifth of April two thousand and fourteen, as long as they are readable and the addresses of the Enforcing Authority and the Employment Medical Advisory Services are up to date.  Visit the HSE Books website  to find out more and purchase the new versions

For links to these HSE websites and other issues covered in this episode view the transcript at hse.gov.uk/podcasts/index.htm.

You can stay up to date with the latest news and updates from the HSE by visiting the news pages on our website at news.hse.gov.uk

If you would rather get the latest news by e-mail then sign up for free regular eBulletins on a range of different health and safety subjects. Sign up at hse.gov.uk/news/subscribe/index.htm

Now you have probably seen CORGI badges on vans across Britain.  From the first of April two thousand and nine CORGI is replaced by Gas Safe Register.  We spoke to Jeff Leerman to find out more about the changes and what it means for Gas Engineers and consumers at home.

My name is Geoff Leerman I am Director of Stakeholder Relations at Gas Safe Register.  My job is to work between Gas Safe Register, HSE and all the other interested parties who are not installers or engineers but have an interest in Gas Safety.

What has changed here? What is the Gas Safe Register?

Gas Safe Register is the register that from the first of April this year took over and replaced the CORGI Gas Register, which operated for about seventeen years.   So from the first of April only an engineer with a Gas Safe Register ID card should be allowed in our homes to undertake either maintenance work, installation work or repair work on our gas appliances.

What is the relationship between the Gas Safe Register and the HSE?

We have been given the contract by HSE to operate the Gas Safe Register which effectively means for the next ten years we are responsible for managing the registration of and inspection of gas engineers in Great Britain.

So what happened to CORGI because everyone remembers the CORGI gas man don't they?

Well the CORGI gas person is now really going to be replaced by the person who is the Gas Safe Register Engineer.  So Jimmy who used to come and look at your gas fire every year to check it is working okay is still going to be Jimmy working from the same van, working with the same tools the only difference is that Jimmy now must be registered with Gas Safe Register rather than with CORGI.

Can I ask you what was wrong with CORGI?

There was nothing wrong with CORGI.  In about 2006 there was a review undertaken by the Health and Safety Executive that really looked at what the situation was with Gas Safety and really talked to a lot of people in the Industry.  What came out of that was that there was a need to revitalise reenergise the industry especially in the terms of gas safety.  And so there was a tender opportunity and Gas Safety Register was the brand that was developed by the Company who won the contract which was CAPITA.

How much of an issue is gas safety?

If gas is treated sensibly it is safe like anything, but if not treated safely it is dangerous because it can cause injury or it can cause death.  Last year fourteen people died from carbon monoxide poisoning and over two hundred people were extremely unwell, and that is because in the main that they didn't have their appliances annually checked.  The didn't have an audible alarm or that people who were not qualified to do the work were undertaking pretty serious work that needed to be done by qualified people.

So what will the difference be between the old CORGI system and this new system Gas Safe?

We are obviously going to build on what exists so far.  There is a number of things that will be different.  Firstly there will be a sharper focus on gas safety.  CORGI undertook a range of activities one of which was gas safety, we are just about gas safety.  We will have a more simpler facility to search for a qualified engineer and also a facility to check that engineer is who they say they are because not every engineer is qualified to undertake all gas work.  We have also introduced new ID cards with a photograph of course on the front and a hologram and specific licence details just for that person.  But just as importantly on the back of that card it actually says what that person is or is not qualified to do and of course that makes a big difference.  We have also kind of developed some ideas on how to better target dodgy engineers.  Those people who aren't qualified who day in day out are undertaking work that could be dangerous in my home or your home.

But if you have got a gas safe card as a gas person a gas man you are obviously qualified surely

Well if a person has got a gas safe register card yes they are registered with us.  Are they qualified to do all the work not necessarily, not everybody is qualified for everything even though they might all be registered.  Check the card that is the biggest message we are giving to both the engineers, that somebody will ask and they will be challenged to show the card, and for the public they must challenge that and have a look at the card first. 

Visit the transcript for this podcast episode at hse.gov.uk/podcasts for more information about the Gas Safe Register

Next in our regular feature we put HSE infoline's Victoria Brady to the test when we asked her to answer one of your popular health and safety questions, “am I allowed to work on my own under health and safety law?”

Good afternoon HSE's info-line Andrew speaking how can I help?

Hi my name is Victoria Brady I am the training manager here at HSE's  info-line and I am going to answer all your health and safety questions for you.

I have heard that I can't work on my own because of health and safety law says that I can't.  Is that right?

No there is nothing under health and safety legislation that says you can't work alone, and it is going to be assessment based as to whether you can or you can't.  The employer really needs to look at any issues that you could come across if you are sort of out on your own.  Issues such as the risk of violence for example, if you are in a building by yourself what if there was an accident what would happen to you, and as long as the employer can put in measures to protect the employer employee rather then they can work alone.  So an example of that would be if there was a risk of violence from members of the public or if maybe people in the street come in to the building then the employer could provide the employee with a panic alarm or they could phone the employee every half an hour to make sure that they are okay, or they could set up a direct link to the police station.  There are ways that you can control the risks to somebody working alone as long as the employer can control those risks there is nothing stopping that employee working by themselves. 

And do you get many employees getting in touch with you about this and asking about you know maybe if they are worried about their own safety. 

Yes certainly I mean we do get quite a lot of questions on lone working especially round this time when it is a lot darker in the nights you know and people are more concerned about working by themselves, especially from a lot of retail outlets, carers you know having to go in to people's homes or estate agents, anybody really who needs to work alone should make sure they are taking all the adequate precautions. 

We will be putting Victoria to the test with another question next time.

If you have anything to say on what has been covered in this podcast just let us know at hse.gov.uk/podcasts.

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Updated 2014-06-27