What has become a UK household brand over the past 29 years is set to fade a little from the landscape now that Gas Safe Register (GSR) has been commissioned to replace the familiar gas safety regulator, the Council of Registered Gas Installers (Corgi).
As of April 1, 2009 Gas Safe Register has taken over responsibility to monitor, regulate, train and inspect gas safety in the UK. Since 1970 Corgi has been the UK’s authority on gas appliance safety and installation and was the official source of gas safety information for homeowners with a mission to protect Britons against unsafe installations.
As of April 1, all professional gas appliance installers must be registered with Gas Safe Register before they can legally carry out any repair work or fit any gas supplied appliances and service.
Clearly the priority of this regulation is fundamental and necessary as a means to ensuring gas services such as central heating systems, fireplaces, boilers and cookers have been installed correctly and in a fail-safe manner. Anyone and everyone in proximity to faulty gas fittings and services obviously would be at risk.
We all recognize that when it comes to gas, regulations are absolutely required and necessary. The unqualified installer rolls the dice with the well-being and safety of us all, threatening possible fire and asphyxiation. Poor, unregulated and error ridden installation can prove fatal.
Corgi has been a highly successful national watch dog in this all-important arena. Now the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) – “[their] mission is to prevent death, injury and ill health in Great Britain’s workplaces.” – have charged Capita with the responsibility of carry on the priority duty of gas safety. Capita has launched the new regulatory body – Gas Safe Register – throughout the UK with the responsibly of regulating and ensuring gas safety.
Obviously Gas Safe Register will be focused in continuing to maintain and raise public awareness over the potential dangers of gas. In particular it has expressed the need to ensure people are aware that this can include the silent and odorless threat of carbon monoxide poisoning. Gas Save Register has announced that on average 25 people a year die from carbon monoxide poisoning and many more suffer health problems from harmful exposure that can be directly related to gas. Perhaps still surprising in 2009, HSE figures reveal that as many as 40 people a year are killed or injured in gas explosions!
Gas Safe Register, like Corgi before them will continue to stress upon homeowners the absolute importance and necessity of ensuring they employ only registered professionals to carry out fittings and repairs of boilers and gas appliances. It should almost go without saying that Gas Safe Register will continue to implore homeowners not to carrying out any gas work themselves as tempting as this may be as a means of attempting to save costs during this almost unprecedented recessionary period.
It will be of some interest to homeowners and professional installers alike to know why HSE has made the institutional change that it has. In 2006, the HSE conducted an evaluation of gas safety and found that there to be a strong case for the updating of a gas registration scheme and providing additional benefits to gas consumers and engineers. Their decision was that such updating and benefit would be best realized through the introduction of a new regulatory body.
From a consumers perspective there may be a little of “the more things change, the more they stay the same” as they will still be able to, and should, always ask the servicing engineer to show them their Gas Safe ID card. This yellow card includes a licence number and photograph of the engineer, verifying both the engineer’s identity and that he or she is qualified to carry out the work required.
All qualified engineers will now be carrying their Gas Safe Register card and Plumbing and Heating companies through London and the UK will be giving prominent display of the new Gas Safe Register logo. All consumers should ensure that the company they choose can guarantee and demonstrate to their satisfaction at the work site that the engineers carrying out all gas works are suitably trained and fully qualified and registered with what is set to become a new household name Gas Safe Register.