Gas Safe Register has two new additions to its inspection programme – events that bring together the Register and registered businesses to make sure that gas work is safe.
If you haven’t had an inspection from Gas Safe Register for a while, you might receive an invitation to an inspection event. These are a new way to bring engineers up to date on the Register’s initiatives and plans for the future, its expectations at inspection, and they include a theoretical assessment.
Inspection events take around three hours and take place at locations around the country. Around 35 engineers take part at the same time, where they receive an overview and an update on what the Register is doing and the support it can give – before moving on to a theory-based technical assessment.
“Inspection events are part of the routine inspection programme, so engineers do need to attend when they’ve been invited to do so,” says Barrie Edgar, Field Operations director. “It’s not voluntary.”
The events consist of a series of technical presentations and updates on typical or topical situations, then a theoretical assessment. More than 800 engineers have already attended an event, and feedback has been very positive, especially on the assessment, which is designed to challenge and test knowledge of gas safety and unsafe situations.
Based on the events so far, it’s clear that there’s a correlation between poor theoretical knowledge and defects identified when work is inspected by Gas Safe Register. “It’s the registered business’s responsibility to make sure that they are up to date with changes in the industry. There’s a wealth of information available to help them do so on Gas Safe Register’s website and in Registered Gas Engineer magazine,” says Barrie.
Registered businesses who have not been working satisfactorily will find that they are called to a mandatory attendance event. This is a compulsory full day of focused theoretical training and competency assessments for those who are not working to the required standards.
At these events, engineers take part in targeted training in groups of up to 10, through an event designed specifically for them. The bespoke learning is designed to test and improve the specific areas where their work has been found to be sub-standard – which could include unsafe situations, ventilation, flueing and installation – followed by an assessment during site inspection visits.
If engineers don’t pass their assessment on the day, they will be suspended from the Register until they do reach the required standard. Those who do pass will receive follow-up site inspections to confirm that their work is up to standard – but if it is found to be unsafe, they may be suspended from the Register.
It’s very much a new approach from Gas Safe Register, to work alongside gas engineers to improve poor-quality work. “We might have a concern over a behaviour pattern and we want to work with them to change that,” says Barrie.
Attendance is compulsory, and failure to attend when required can lead to immediate suspension. “We’re aware that it costs time and money for registered businesses because they can’t work on that day. But if their subsequent work doesn’t come up to the required quality level, we may remove their registration.”