Gas Appliances and Installations - Know Your Obligations

15 February 2017

Gas Appliances and Installations - Know Your Obligations

Gas is used in the workplace in a number of different ways. The most common is heating and hot water, but gas is also used for cooking and many other processes. As gas is a dangerous substance under certain conditions, there are regulations that govern its use. As an employer and business owner, you have responsibilities under those regulations.

Gas Risks

When gas appliances and systems work properly, gas is a reliable, consistent, and user-friendly form of energy. When those appliances and systems don't work properly, there are two main risks:

  • Carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Fire or explosion

Carbon monoxide is produced when gas doesn't burn properly. It can't be seen and you can't smell it, so it’s incredibly dangerous. When inhaled, it starves the body of oxygen and can be fatal.

Fires and explosions are caused by gas leaks coming into contact with flames or sparks. This can cause significant injury and loss of life.

Your Obligations

Before going into the legalities, most employers and business owners agree that they have a moral duty to their employees, customers, and visitors. Most, therefore, take gas safety extremely seriously.

In regard to the law, standard health and safety laws apply to your gas appliances and installations, but there are specific regulations too.

These regulations apply to all employers as well as the self-employed:

  1. You must ensure all work on your gas appliances or installations is carried out by Gas Safe registered engineers. It’s up to you to conduct the necessary checks to ensure the validity of an engineer's credentials. You can normally do this on the Gas Safe website.
  1. When you get new gas appliances, you have to make sure they are installed in a suitable location. In particular, you must make sure they’re accessible so they can be easily used as well as inspected and maintained.
  1. You must not allow anyone to use a gas appliance you suspect might be dangerous. The appliance has to be checked and verified as safe by a Gas Safe registered engineer before you allow it to be used again.
  1. You have a duty to report any cases of individuals becoming unconscious as the result of exposure to gas while on your business premises.

As well as the above, landlords have additional responsibilities. This includes ensuring gas appliances, pipework, and flues are regularly maintained. Landlords also have to ensure safety checks are completed by a Gas Safe registered engineer at least once a year, and they have to keep records of these safety checks.

What Should You Do?

In addition to the legal requirement, the Health and Safety Executive makes other recommendations to business owners. This includes maintaining your gas appliances, pipework, and flues on a regular basis. It also includes making sure there is good ventilation in rooms that contain gas appliances. In addition, you should take steps to ensure air inlets are not blocked (for example, to prevent draughts), and you should never obstruct flues or chimneys.

By taking these steps, you will help to fulfil your legal obligations as well as ensure the gas installations in your business are as safe as possible.

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