Gas safety for employers

If gas appliances, such as ovens, cookers and boilers, are not properly installed and maintained, there is a danger of:

As an employer you must comply with the relevant regulations to help ensure worker and public safety. You can do this by:

Who is competent to work on gas fittings

In domestic properties and workplaces such as shops, restaurants, schools and hospitals, work on gas fittings must be carried out by a Gas Safe registered engineer who is qualified to do the work. It’s illegal for anyone else to do it. It’s your responsibility to check a person is registered and is qualified.

You can check if a person is registered with Gas Safe and their gas qualifications by:

People who are registered carry a Gas Safe ID card, which shows the type of work they are qualified to do and whether their qualifications are up to date.

In the following places, work on gas fittings must be carried out by a competent person:

It’s your responsibility to check they’re competent to do the work. A competent person should have the necessary training, skills, experience and knowledge to do the work safely.

Work on a gas fitting in any part of the premises listed above used as domestic, residential or sleeping accommodation must be carried out by a Gas Safe registered engineer.

What you have to do

The basics

Use a Gas Safe registered engineer or competent person to install, maintain or repair your gas fittings.

Ensure that your gas pipework, appliances and flues are regularly maintained.

Check that all rooms with gas appliances have adequate ventilation – do not block air inlets to prevent draughts, and do not obstruct flues and chimneys.

Gas leaks

If you suspect a leak, turn off the supply and immediately phone:

If in doubt, evacuate the building and inform the police as well as the National Gas Emergency Service or your gas supplier.

Do not turn a gas supply back on until a leak has been dealt with by a competent person.

Appliances and pipework

Use a Gas Safe registered engineer or competent person to install, maintain or repair your gas appliances and pipework.

Ensure that your gas pipework, appliances and flues are regularly maintained.

Do not use any appliance you know or suspect is unsafe.

Check that the room has adequate ventilation.

Do not block air inlets to prevent draughts or obstruct flues and chimneys.

Industrial and commercial plant

Explosions can be caused by the ignition of unburnt gas.

Consider the need for explosion relief and/or flame-failure protection as necessary.

Make sure the gas supply is interlocked with the ventilation of the appliance.

The equipment should be designed, operated and maintained to make sure dangerous levels of carbon monoxide (CO) are not produced. It should not be used in poorly ventilated spaces.

There should be enough ventilation to remove combustion products.

Make sure the operators are fully trained and use a safe procedure for purging, lighting up and shutting down the plant.


The importance of being Gas Safe registered

A plumber who was not Gas Safe registered and had previously been served with a prohibition notice by HSE, persisted in carrying out illegal gas work in a shop. He was caught on CCTV doing so, was prosecuted for 2 breaches of health and safety law and was sentenced to 2 concurrent terms of 6 months in prison.

How cases like this can be avoided

Working with gas appliances is difficult, specialised and potentially very dangerous. Only competent engineers should attempt it. If unregistered workers try to bypass the law, they are not only putting themselves at risk of prosecution and a large fine or even imprisonment, they are also putting their customers' lives at risk.

Maintaining gas systems

Twenty-five pupils and 2 members of teaching staff were evacuated from a classroom in a primary school when they were overcome by dangerous levels of carbon monoxide.

The investigation found that carbon monoxide was being produced by an inadequately maintained boiler and was leaking into the classroom above. The employer was fined a total of £10,000 and ordered to pay costs of £6,830.

The employer did have a maintenance system but poor practices had crept in, which they did not identify until after the incident. The consequences could have been much more serious.

How such incidents can be avoided

It's important that employers make sure their gas appliances are maintained in a safe condition by a competent person and in line with manufacturers' instructions and appropriate standards.

The law

The general duties of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 cover work on gas fittings in:

The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 cover work on gas fittings, both natural and LPG in other premises, for example: