Demonstrating competence

Published:  14 August, 2018

PWE takes a look at the CEA’s ‘I-GAS’ qualification for maintenance personnel and gas fitters working in industry to demonstrate competence.

Many people in industry are under the impression that the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 do not apply to them or their employees within their factory premises. Unfortunately, this assumption is wrong and there is a clear requirement to provide suitable training and assessment for anybody working on gas equipment in industry no matter what equipment they are working on. The statement below is an extract from the regulations.

Guidance to Regulation 3 of the ‘Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998’ (GSIUR) says:

“Gas work for those working at premises that fall outside the scope of the Regulations should only be undertaken by a person who has successfully completed an appropriate full training course followed by assessment of competence.”

Why do we need I-GAS?

Blue Flame Associates said: “For many years the need to ensure that any gas operative that we employ are Gas Safe Registered and previously CORGI Registered has been accepted by most users. And it has been the general belief that by using Gas Safe Registered operatives, we can be assured that the operative has undertaken independent competence assessments and will be safe to work on our installation, however, this is generally true for domestic and commercial installations, but for industry this has always been a contentious and confusing issue.

Therefore, to help clarify both the legal requirement and the need to provide suitable training and assessment the CEA has created I-GAS, which is aimed at proving the competence of contractors and equally as importantly your own maintenance staff. The necessary knowledge and expertise to create this was provided by experts involved with gas safety and maintenance in industrial settings alongside CEA members and others who manufacture and work on gas equipment.”

Kiwa at Bishop Cleeve said “Many staff working with industrial gas-fired equipment have acquired their competence with often quite specialised equipment through paths such as on the job training, historical knowledge and years of experience. However, until now, there has been no formal way of demonstrating that competence. The I-GAS course, approved by the CEA, is the only formal gas course specifically available for operatives in an industrial setting. After completion of the I-GAS training syllabus, technicians will be familiar with the legislation, regulations and requirements to undertake gas work safely and confidently”.

Why I-GAS?

CEA was asked to create the I-GAS programme by a very large facilities company, it had some 300 engineers on various sites across the UK that could and would have to do some work on gas systems at some point, and it had no way of suitably proving competence for these engineers. Discussions took place with the HSE and IGEM to ensure that the CEA were doing the right thing in creating this accreditation to fill a gap. CEA had partnered with several of its member companies to create the programme, initially looking at a one-week course. It became apparent very quickly that this one-week course was not long enough to enable delivery of the training necessary and to carry out suitable assessments.

From the initial design approach, the five levels of I-GAS were agreed and the first three were created:

• Level 1 - Entry Portfolio

• Level 2 - Industrial Gas Maintenance

• Level 3 - Industrial Gas Technicians

• Level 4 & 5 - are in development (For Engineers and Designers).

All aspects of work require a risk assessment, working with gas is no different and risk assessments should be a part of a company’s procedures when looking at any plant, equipment or task that needs to be undertaken.

For gas equipment Steve Johnston of SGAS said:

“The frequency and nature of maintenance should be determined through risk assessment, taking full account of:

• The manufacturer's recommendations

• The intensity of use

• Operating environment (e.g. the effect of temperature, corrosion, weathering)

• User knowledge and experience

• The risk to health and safety from any foreseeable failure or malfunction

Safety-critical parts of work equipment may need a higher and more frequent level of attention than other aspects, which can be reflected within any maintenance programme. Breakdown maintenance, undertaken only after faults or failures have occurred, will not be suitable where significant risk will arise from the continued use of the work equipment.”

(Ref. PUWER Reg 22. And the Health and Safety at Work Act etc.1974 section 2. which requires work equipment to be maintained so that it is safe, and work to be undertaken safely, so far as reasonably practicable).

Steve Johnston also said: “the manufacturer's instructions should describe what maintenance is required to keep the equipment safe and how this can be done safely. These instructions should always be followed, unless there are justifiable reasons for not doing so (e.g. where more frequent maintenance is necessary, due to intense use, adverse environmental conditions or when other experience shows this need). Maintenance on a less frequent basis than the manufacturer's recommendation should be subject to careful risk assessment and the reasons for doing so should be reviewed at appropriate intervals. For example, where there is already an inspection regime, perhaps for lightly used equipment, less frequent maintenance may be justified because of the condition monitoring already provided by the inspection programme.

“There is no requirement for you to keep a maintenance log, although it is recommended for high-risk equipment and is good practice to do so. Maintenance logs can provide useful information for the future planning of maintenance, as well as informing maintenance personnel of previous action taken. However, if you have a maintenance log, you must keep it up to date”.

If the site with gas is also a place of residence such as a hospital or similar, then Gas Safe Register is a legal requirement.

For further information please visit: www.cea.org.uk

CEA approved I-GAS Training Providers

• Blue Flame Associates

• SGAS – Steve Johnston

• Kiwa Training

• SAACKE Combustion Services Ltd.

• Cochran Boilers

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