Summary of legislation interfacing with the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998
This is a summary of HSE and other legislation that interfaces with the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. The information was previously provided in the 2011 and earlier versions of the Approved Code of Practice L56 Safety in the installation and use of gas systems and appliances.
This Act applies to everyone concerned with work activities, ranging from employers, self-employed, and employees, to manufacturers, designers, suppliers and importers of materials for use at work, and people in control of premises. It also includes provisions to protect members of the public. The duties apply both to individual people and to corporations, companies, partnerships, local authorities, nationalised industries etc. The duties are expressed in general terms, so that they apply to all types of work activity and work situations. Every employer has a duty to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of his or her employees.
The principles of safety responsibility and safe working are expressed in sections 2–9. Employers and self-employed are required to carry out their undertakings in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that they do not expose people who are not their employees to risks to their health and safety (sections 3(1) and 3(2)). In some areas the general duties have been supplemented by specific requirements in Regulations made under the Act and such Regulations will continue to be made. Specific legal requirements are also included in earlier legislation which is still in force. Failure to comply with the general requirements of the Act, or specific requirements found elsewhere may result in legal proceedings.
Although some of the duties imposed by the Act and related legislation are absolute, many are qualified by the words ‘so far as is reasonably practicable’ or ‘so far as is practicable’. If someone is prosecuted for failing to comply with a duty which is qualified by these words, it is up to the accused to show to the court that it was not reasonably practicable or practicable, as appropriate, for him/her to do more than was done to comply with the duty.
The judgement of what is reasonably practicable means weighing up the seriousness of the risk against the difficulty and cost of removing it.
Where the difficulty and cost are high and a careful assessment of the risk shows it to be insignificant, action may not be necessary although in some cases there are things that have to be done at all costs. No allowance is made for size, nature or profitability of a business.
Sections 21–23 provide for improvement and prohibition notices to be issued; section 33 provides for prosecution and penalties; section 15 provides for Regulations to be made; sections 16 and 17 provide for Codes of Practice to be approved, and for their use in legal proceedings.
These Regulations impose requirements on pipelines for purposes of health and safety. The requirements, with certain exceptions, cover any pipe or system of pipes for conveying fluids; this includes pipes supplying gas to premises (ie transmission pipes, distribution mains and service pipes) but excludes anything downstream of an emergency control (eg installation pipework, meters and other fittings, as covered by GSIUR). Any pipeline contained wholly within the premises occupied by a single undertaking, or contained wholly within a caravan site, is not covered by the Regulations.
The Regulations include requirements for design, construction, installation, examination and maintenance of pipelines, and for decommissioning of disused pipelines. Additional requirements are imposed in relation to certain (‘major accident hazard’) pipelines, including notification to HSE of specified information, preparation of a major accident prevention document and drawing up emergency procedures.
These Regulations deal with the management of the safe flow of gas (defined as any substance in a gaseous state which consists wholly or mainly of methane), whether in a single system or a network of connected systems. The Regulations make it unlawful for gas to be conveyed in a system or network without a safety case being prepared by the conveyor and accepted by HSE. Where two or more gas transporters operate on a network, there has to be a sole network emergency co-ordinator (NEC) for that network, whose safety case has been accepted by HSE.
The Regulations cover requirements for emergency response to and investigation of gas escapes. These requirements apply to an escape of natural gas, or actual/suspected emission of carbon monoxide (CO) from an appliance using natural gas; they interface with GSIUR provisions on escapes of other fuel gases and emissions of CO from appliances using gases other than natural gas.
Requirements for the content and other characteristics of gas conveyed in a network are also included. For example, maximum quantities of hydrogen, oxygen, hydrogen sulphide, sulphur and other impurities are specified. Although GSIUR does not cover gases wholly or mainly comprising hydrogen when used in non-domestic premises, a gas containing the 0.1% molar (approximately 0.2%) maximum level allowed under the GSMR is covered generally under GSIUR (see definition of ‘gas’ in regulation 2(1)).
These Regulations impose requirements with respect to the health, safety and welfare or persons in a ‘workplace’ which, with certain exceptions, covers any premises or part of premises which are not domestic premises and are made available to any person as a place of work. This includes certain areas, eg staircases, lobbies and corridors used as a means of access to, or egress from a workplace or where facilities are provided for use in connection with the workplace, eg boiler/central heating plant rooms.
The Regulations include requirements for maintenance of the workplace and certain equipment, devices and systems; ventilation; temperature; lighting; cleanliness, and other provisions. These requirements are imposed on employers, persons who have, to any extent, control of a workplace, and certain others.
The central feature of these Regulations is the duty imposed on employers and self-employed persons to make a suitable and sufficient assessment of risks to the health and safety of employees, and non-employees affected by their work. This links closely with specific duties, eg on gas installers and suppliers, under GSIUR (see under ‘Interface with other health and safety legislation’ in the Introduction to this ACOP). MHSWR also requires effective planning and review of protective measures (which include those to comply with GSIUR), health surveillance, emergency procedures, information and training.
These Regulations impose health and safety requirements with respect to ‘work equipment’, which includes any machinery, appliance, apparatus or tool and certain assemblies of components (this would include certain gas appliances/fittings). The requirements address the suitability of work equipment; maintenance and associated records; inspection and associated records; measures to deal with specific risks (including use of designated persons to operate, repair, maintain and service equipment); information, instruction and training of users and others; and other specific areas (eg dangerous parts of machinery, protection from high and low temperature, lighting and stability of equipment).
The requirements apply to employers in respect of work equipment provided for, or used by, their employees for use at work. They also apply to self-employed persons and persons in control of work equipment to any extent.
These Regulations place wide-ranging duties on clients, designers, planning supervisors and contractors to take health and safety matters into account and manage them effectively from the planning stages of a construction project through commission and any future construction work, including dismantling or demolition.
The aim of these Regulations is to prevent serious injury from the hazard of stored energy, as a result of the failure of a pressure system, or one of its component parts. They are concerned with steam at any pressure, gases which exert a pressure in excess of 0.5 bar above atmospheric pressure and fluids which may exert a pressure in excess of 0.5 bar above atmospheric (gauge) pressure. Exceptionally, pipelines are within scope when used to convey gases and liquefied gases above 2 bar gauge. Pipelines include: compressors; valves; associated pipework; and other apparatus used to cause the gas to flow through the pipeline system; the primary shut-off valve at each end of the pipeline and the pipeline protective devices. This guidance should be read in conjunction with the publication L82 A guide to the Pipelines Safety Regulations 1996.
PSSR place duties on designers, maufacturers, importers, suppliers, installers and users (or owners in the case of mobile systems) of pressure systems. The Regulations also place certain duties on Competent Persons. The requirements for design, manufacture, supply, and certain marking and information requirements, do not apply to equipment and assemblies supplied in accordance with the Pressure Equipment Regulations 1999.
PSSR also apply to pressure systems where a transportable pressure receptacle (gas cylinder) is connected. The requirements for the design, manufacture, supply, and periodic inspection of the gas cylinder is covered by the Carriage of Dangerous Goods and Use of Transportable Pressure Equipment Regulations 2007.
These Regulations implement an EC Directive on the minimum requirements for the provision of safety and/or health signs at work. Under these Regulations, safety signs complying with specified descriptions must be provided where the risk assessment made under regulation 3 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 indicates that (residual) risks cannot be avoided or controlled in other ways. Although certain requirements apply to signs concerning storage and piping of hazardous substances, exclusions are provided for signs used in relation to the supply of equipment or substances, for transport of dangerous goods and for regulation of transport (eg as covered by separate legal provisions).
The Regulations also include requirements in relation to the instruction and training of employees in the meaning of safety signs and the measures to be taken in respect of such signs. SSR does not apply to self-employed persons or to premises which are not workplaces, but similar requirements might be necessary in these situations to meet general obligations under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
These Regulations impose requirements for the purpose of eliminating or reducing risks to safety from fire, explosion or other events arising from the hazardous properties of a ‘dangerous substance’ in connection with work. This includes flammable gases, such as natural gas, propane and butane.
The Regulations include a requirement for employers to carry out a suitable and sufficient risk assessment of risks to employees, where a dangerous substance is or may be present at the workplace and to eliminate or reduce the risk so far as is reasonably practicable. This builds on the related duty to carry out a general risk assessment under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.
Places at the workplace where explosive atmospheres may occur must be classified as hazardous or non-hazardous, hazardous places are required to be classified into zones based on the frequency and duration of the occurrence of an explosive atmosphere and equipment and protective systems in hazardous places need to comply with specified requirements. These particular requirements generally do not apply to gas appliances as defined in the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations, or to other gas fittings located in domestic premises. However, they do apply to certain situations within these Regulations, eg work at commercial premises, and to service pipes generally.
These Regulations require employers to report specified occupational injuries, diseases and dangerous events to HSE. Certain gas incidents are reportable by suppliers of gas through fixed pipe distribution systems/LPG suppliers, and gas installers are required to report certain dangerous gas appliances to HSE.
The Gas Act 1995 updated provisions in the Gas Act 1986, including new licensing arrangements for public gas transporters and permitting competition in the domestic gas market.
A number of safety issues are both directly and indirectly addressed, including detailed provisions (some new), inserted into the Gas Act 1986 (under Schedule 2B – the ‘gas code’) by the 1995 Act – GA 1995 Schedule 2 refers. These provisions include duties to notify connection/disconnection of service pipes, and disconnection of meters in certain circumstances; maintenance of service pipes; duties on public gas transporters in relation to certain gas escapes, and entry powers in specified circumstances. Safety provisions concerning antifluctuators and valves (previously included in section 17 of the ‘gas code’) were revoked by GSIUR and are now covered by these Regulations (regulation 38 refers).
All new appliances burning gaseous fuel (that is to say, any fuel which is in a gaseous state at a temperature of 15 degrees Celsius at a pressure of 1 bar) used for cooking, heating, hot water production, refrigeration, lighting or washing and having, where applicable, a normal water temperature not exceeding 105 degrees Celsius, are subject to the Gas Appliances (Safety) Regulations 1995, and must bear CE marking and be safe. However, gas appliances specifically designed for use in an industrial process carried out on industrial premises are not subject to the Gas Appliances (Safety) Regulations 1995, but must still be safe and bear the CE marking in conformity with other applicable Regulations which implement other EC directives, eg on machinery and pressure.
Building Regulations address various aspects of building design/construction, including health and safety, energy conservation and the welfare and convenience of disabled people.
A number of documents have been approved by the Secretary of State under the Building Regulations as practical (non-mandatory) guidance to meeting requirements under the Regulations, including on ventilation and heat producing (eg certain gas) appliances. The Approved Documents cover the more common building situations but alternative ways of demonstrating compliance may be appropriate in other circumstances. In case of legal action, following the guidance may be used as evidence to demonstrate compliance with the Regulations.
Similar ‘deemed to satisfy’ guidance is provided in technical standards of the Building Standards (Scotland) Regulations. This includes heat producing installations and storage of liquid and gas fuels (Part F) and ventilation of buildings (Part K).