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ALL ABOARD THE SAFETY TRAIN Keeping abreast of training opportunies

While the focus of the Gas Safety conversaon is usually around the home, the nondomesc sector should not be overlooked. Steven Evans, Sales Director at Poerton Commercial, discusses the vital role that manufacturer training plays in relaon to gas safety within commercial premises.

central part of the discussion around gas safety. In fact, commercial gas safety has its own specific needs and challenges. For example, a commercial plant is usually much larger than a domestic boiler and, if things go wrong, the consequences could potentially be much more serious. Recently, an office building in Manchester was evacuated for several hours following a suspected gas leak.1

G The exact

cause has not been confirmed, but this scenario demonstrates the potential disruption that unsafe gas poses within the commercial setting. Considering the building houses hundreds of people during working hours, the outcome could have been much worse if the evacuation procedure had not been put in place.

Another difference is that many commercial properties are regularly left unmanned for extended periods of time, such as overnight or during weekends and bank holidays. This means potential leaks and other issues may not be detected until they have become much more serious, for example when CO in the air reaches fatal levels. Under Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR), certain conveyors of gas are required by law to report gas safety-related incidents, such as CO poisoning, exposure to unburnt gas, and fires. According to these statistics, there were 261 non-fatalities and eight fatalities related these occurrences in 2015/16.2 It is important to remember that commercial boilers that have been manufactured, tested, installed, commissioned and maintained correctly are completely safe. Issues usually only occur when an appliance is faulty, damaged, or incorrectly managed.

So, how does training play a part in ensuring gas safety?

Obtaining a gas qualification is just the starting point in any engineer’s career. This covers the fundamentals, but it does not include product-specific training. There are sometimes substantial differences in protocol from one brand to another and it is important that all boilers are installed in accordance with manufacturer guidelines.

This is why it is so crucial that engineers undertake regular training delivered by the manufacturer of the products they are working with. As a result, engineers will feel more confident about working with those products, which will make their lives easier and result in a better service and improved safety for the end-user. They also get the opportunity to network with their peers, share knowledge and experiences, and potentially form new business relationships.

What’s more, legislation is constantly evolving, and it can be difficult to keep up with requirements. However, all good manufacturer courses will cover relevant current or upcoming legislation, so engineers can learn exactly what those changes will mean for them.

uRefreshing your skills helps to drive up installaon, maintenance and commissioning standards.

Paul Hull, director of P R Hull Plumbing & Heating Ltd and founder of Gas Safety Superheroes agrees: “When it comes to improving gas safety, manufacturer training courses are

as safety is primarily seen as an issue for the domestic sector. Although it is true that poorly installed or maintained gas appliances are more likely to pose a health risk in domestic properties, the commercial sector should also be a

paramount. It’s not enough just to become accredited and start doing gas work; engineers should make sure they know everything about the products they’re working with. Some may think they don’t have the time to take a day out of work to attend a training course, but it’s a small price to pay to keep customers safe.”

Handover process

Education is important for not only the engineer, but also the building occupier and depending on the type of premises their level of knowledge may vary greatly. For example, a hospital or care home is likely to have an on-site facility manager who is well versed in boiler maintenance. On the other hand, the person in charge of arranging boiler servicing for an office may be the administration manager or secretary. Nevertheless, it is equally important that engineers remind both parties of the importance of safe operation and regular maintenance.

A handover conversation should include, but not be limited to: servicing, maintenance and water treatment requirements; the proper use of controls or BMS system; warranty requirements; and emergency contacts. If another engineer is going to be responsible for maintaining the boiler, it is worth reminding the customer to check they are certified to do so by verifying their Gas Safe number against the register. It is good practice to remind the customer of the importance of having a CO detection system and ensuring it gets checked at regular intervals. A simple CO alarm is often sufficient for the domestic sector, but the same cannot be said for commercial premises. Whilst an alarm would at least give a local audible indication for those within the environment, the hazard given the likely size of the plant generating the problem will still be present. Instead, there are much more complex systems available which continuously monitor the conditions in the plant room, and automatically shut equipment down in the event of a dangerous rise in CO levels.

Finally, occupiers should be advised on how to recognise the symptoms of CO poisoning. The symptoms include headaches, nausea and dizziness; very similar to common ailments such as flu, food poisoning and viral infections. Therefore, it is easy for people to mistake CO poisoning for something less sinister and risk putting their lives in danger if they delay getting the necessary medical treatment. The commercial heating industry is constantly evolving with new trends, legislation, technology and products. Training is a simple, effective and often free way for engineers to stay up-to-date with what’s going on in the industry and constantly refresh their skills. In turn, this drives up installation, commissioning and maintenance standards and improves gas safety.

For more information on Potterton Commercial’s Training Academy, or to book a course, please visit: Sources:

1 greater-manchester-news/rbs-building-spinningfields-evacuated- after-14380589

2 ‘ The commercial

heang industry is constantly evolving with new trends, legislaon, technology and products. Training is a simple, eecve and oen free way for engineers to stay uptodate with what’s going on in the industry and constantly refresh their skills.

uPictured here is Baxi Heang’s Commercial Training Academy in Warwick, where gas engineers can gain hands on experience of Baxi Heang brands’ commercial products, including those from Poerton Commercial.



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