From July 2020, gas engineers will need to be able to show that they have the knowledge and competence to isolate the electrical supply to a gas appliance safely. In this article, Energy & Utility Skills’ Standard Setting Body sets out what you need to know.
Electrical safety and the responsibility of gas engineers working on gas appliances has been discussed for many years. Although it is not directly a matter of gas safety, it has been recognised that there can be increased danger to today’s gas engineers when working on modern gas installations and appliances. So after much debate, the gas industry agrees that gas engineers should ensure that they and their customers are safe by undertaking safe electrical isolation.
The objective is that before work is started on any gas installation/appliance that has a connection to a 230 Volt electrical supply, the registered gas engineer will undertake appropriate electrical safety checks (safe to touch and/or safe isolation and proving electrically dead) before working on or leaving an appliance operational, in a similar manner
as completing GSIUR Regulation 26(9) checks.
Starting from July 2020 and consolidating by July 2025, there will be a change in the requirement process: all gas engineers who enter or renew their Gas Safe registration via ACS or a Group Competence Scheme (GCS) or any other recognised route must have the knowledge and competence to safely isolate the electrical supply to a gas appliance that uses electricity.
Safe to touch, safe isolation and proving a gas appliance is electrically dead are already covered by the training specifications for all new entrants into the gas industry. Therefore, from July 2020, as a pre-requisite to ongoing assessments, gas engineers will be expected to have the competence (technical knowledge or experience) to be able to undertake safe to touch, safe isolation and proving electrically dead. This competence can be achieved by in-house training, external training or self-learning.
From July 2020, gas engineers presenting themselves for ACS assessment or re-assessment should declare by self-validating that they have technical knowledge or experience of safe electrical isolation. If they feel they are not competent to undertake safe electrical isolation, they are expected to undertake training to enable safe working practices before undertaking ACS assessments.
If refresher training is undertaken before ACS re-assessments, safe to touch, safe isolation and proving electrically dead will form part of the standard training to satisfy the requirements.
Those in a Group Competence Scheme are expected to undertake development starting in July 2020 where needed, with a process of knowledge/competence checks thereafter.
By July 2025, the five-year ACS cycle will be completed, which means that all gas engineers should have knowledge of safe electrical isolation. After this date, it may be appropriate for the SSB to consider including electrical isolation as part of the practical competence assessment process – however, this will be considered after consulting with the industry.
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