A man from Staffordshire has been sentenced to prison time after he performed gas work in someone's home with no experience or qualifications to do so. The man, named Colin Christoper Batchelor, conducted this gas work in September 2016. He:

  • Removed an old boiler
  • Installed a new boiler 
  • Installed a gas meter
  • Connected pipework

All while being completely unregistered to do so!

When Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated this incident, they found that Mr Batchelor had performed gas work while claiming to his client that he was part of the Gas Safe register, when in fact, he was not. He was not competent to carry out the gas work that he did, and the result of his shoddy workmanship was a home left unsafe. Mr Batchelor failed to carry out any tests or examinations to verify that the installation was safe and gas-tight once his work was finished.

Mr Batchelor pleaded guilty to five separate breaches of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 and was sentenced to 8 months imprisonment for each offence. That means, that Mr Bachelor's thoughtless actions have cost him over three years of his life!

After the hearing, HSE inspector, Dr Riley Roberts, said:

"The Gas Safe Register Exist to protect the public from people such as Colin Christopher Batchelor, who are prepared to work illegally, falsify records and carry out potentially dangerous gas work. Performing gas work without being competent to do so can be highly dangerous and lead to loss of life."

Don't risk being prosecuted like Mr Batchelor. Do a gas course with Access Training Academies and we will give you the skills and practical knowledge you need to become Gas Safe registered.

Browse Our Gas Courses Now >

 

 

How Safe Is Your House? is a new programme from the BBC that looks at all the different accidents that can befall homeowners. Not only does it feature experts uncovering home dangers that you might not know about, it also goes undercover to expose rogue tradespeople and the shoddy work they perform while pretending to be fully qualified. The second episode in the series aired last night on BBC 1, and included was something very important to us here at Access Training - proper gas engineer training and the Gas Safe Register.

It is estimated that there are currently around 7500 unqualified gas engineers working illegally in the UK, installing up a quarter of a million (250,000) appliances in our homes. All engineers should be part of the Gas Safe Register to work legally on any sort of gas appliance, and without that not only are they working illegally but you have no way of knowing how qualified these engineers really are. One simple registration may not be enough either - engineers must have separate qualifications for EACH gas appliance they work on. So if an engineer is Gas Safe Registered to work on boilers, that doesn't necessarily mean he has the qualifications to work on fires. The information as to exactly what your hired engineer is qualified in can be found on the back of their Gas Safe ID card, which you can ask to see at any time.

Operating as a gas engineer without first joining the register can not only result in fines/imprisonment, but it also endangers the lives of the homeowners who are placing their trust in you. A quick phone call is all it can take for a doubtful homeowner to double check whether their engineer is registered, and Gas Safe also provide these records online. With it so easy to be caught out, is it really worth endangering the lives of others and risking facing the law?

Andrew Barnes seemed to think so, as he was prosecuted by the Health & Safety Executive for not being Gas Safe Registered, fined and given a conditional discharge. Two months later, he was at it again without getting registered. How Safe is Your House went undercover to expose him, eventually confronting him when he continued to claim he was legally registered to work on gas appliances. It was only after this confrontation that he finally registered, but who knows what could have happened in the time he was practicing illegally.

The whole episode is well worth the watch, and can be found on BBC iPlayer for the next 6 days.

If you're training to become a gas engineer or considering a change of career to become a gas engineer, it is vital that you earn the correct qualifications and then become Gas Safe Registered. Here at Access Training we'll be able to help you with this, as we offer intensive gas training courses complete with a work placemebt and ACS assessment. You'll learn the basics from experienced gas engineers before moving on to completing a top quality portfolio working alongside an established engineer. Then you'll return to our centre ready to tackle the ACS assessments, fully qualifying you for Gas Safe Registration.

Having the right qualifications isn't just a matter of being the best you can, it's a legal obligation. Don't risk the lives of your customers, give us a call on 0800 345 7492 and get the correct training.

Dangerous gas appliances

The Gas Safe Register, the UK's gas safety authority which all gas installers are legally required to join upon completion of their ACS assesments, is urging members of the public to get the safety of their gas appliances checked after their latest research revealed that 9 out of 10 Britons could not identify gas appliances that were deadly or potentially life-threatening.

1,200 consumers were shown 10 images of gas appliances, eight of which were dangerous and only two of which were completely safe to use. The results were particularly startling, with nearly everyone (95% to be precise) thinking at least one of the deadly appliances were safe. 6% of them even thought that all eight of them were safe! Only one person of the entire 1,200 was able to correctly identify all 10 - and that is definitely cause for concern.

Six of these eight dangerous gas appliances could have resulted in a gas leak, fire, explosion or carbon monoxide poisoning, but were thankfully from homes checked before anyone got hurt. The other two appliances shown, however, were ones that had only been discovered after the damage had been done - one tragically killing the homeowner and the other hospitalising a family. In the case of the appliance that resulted in a fatality, half of respondents thought it looked safe when shown the photograph.

Stakeholder manager for Gas Safe Sarah Hill had this to say about the findings:

"Our research backs up what we, as the UK gas authority, already know - people cannot spot a deadly gas appliance as often there are no obvious signs. That’s why it’s vital to get your gas appliances safety checked regularly by a registered engineer, who has the skills and the know-how to spot the dangers. Sadly, we also know that the consequences if you don’t can be serious, especially when CO is involved as you can’t see it, taste it or smell it."

Would you be able to spot an unsafe gas appliance? If you think you could just look at the pictures and spot it, have you considered a career as a gas installer? Gas can be an extremely useful source of energy when installed properly but if anything goes wrong the results can prove fatal. Installers are required to have passed their ACS assessments and join the Gas Safe Register before they are legally allowed to start work, and here at Access Training we can provide you with all the training needed to work safely with gas appliances.

To find out more about our professional gas courses, please contact us on 0800 345 7492.

The Gas Safe Register isn't just a comprehensive register of the UK's qualified gas engineers (something that is a legal requirement - not just something we recommend to our gas course trainees!), it also plays a huge part in promoting awareness gas safety and making sure people know how to detect a gas leak. And their latest efforts have paid off, as the Register is awarded a DBA Design Effectiveness Award for its 'Silent Killer' campaign.

The campaign was set in motion after one in five homes in the North West were found to have unsafe gas work, and used a mix of online, local press, outdoor advertising, events, and even a horror-movie styled advertisement. All of these steered viewers towards the 'Silent Killer' campaign website, where they could then book a gas safety check and sign up for an annual reminder. The campaign was a roaring success, with the Gas Safe Register seeing a 300% increase (equivalent tomore than 53,000 homes) in higher risk households signing up for annual checks.

The Design Effectiveness Awards 2014 gave 'Silent Killer' the gold award in the 'Design for Society' category, featuring the full case study on its effectiveness outlined by Gas Safe on their website. Gas Safe Register marketing and communications director Nick Terry commented that: "“The Silent Killer pilot was the first time Gas Safe Register had aimed to persuade people to change their behaviour, rather than simply raise awareness of the dangers of gas work. It was therefore vital that the design was engaging and would encourage people to act; by getting their gas appliances checked by a Gas Safe registered engineer."

He continued to say that the campaign's success has helped shape future ones to come as more and more people sign up to protect themselves from unsafe gas work nationwide. However in a perfect world they shouldn't need protection - all gas installers would be professional and above board, fully qualified members of the Gas Safe Register. Unfortunately there are those out there who aren't so honest, and while they are always eventually caught they put lives at risk with dangerous workmanship. At Access Training Acadmies we make sure all candidates on our intensive gas training courses are given expert levels of tutelage, teaching them the very basics of gas engineering all the way up to assisting them with their gas portfolios and ACS assessments. For more information, call 0800 345 7492 to speak to one of our advisers. 

But for now, congratulations to the Gas Safe Register and long may its good work continue!

2014 is already shaping up to be a big year for Access Training Academies, and today (the 13th January) marks the first steps we'll be taking to make your training experience here even better. This year ACS gas assessments will be returning to our Cardiff training centre.

Now students that complete their gas training at Access will be able to complete their Logic ACS (Accredited Certification Scheme) gas assessments here. ACS is the industry recognised and accepted route for students to enter into the gas industry, earning their gas certificate which is needed to become a member of the Gas Safe Register. This itself is a legal requirement to be able to work on all gas installations and appliances in the UK. These assessments will not only be available to those who have completed an extensive gas course here, but is also open to others who may have completed a gas course elsewhere.

Students will be able to complete both the written and practical assessments required to qualify, covering the CCN1 Core Domestic Gas Safety module and then any of the additional appliance assessments relevant to your area of work. This includes the CENWAT (Central Heating Boilers & Water Heaters) qualification, CKR1 (Cookers), HTR1 (Gas Fires) and more. For a full list of what we can offer you here at Access, please get in contact.

To find out more about ACS gas assessments, our plumbing training or any of the many other trades training courses we provide here at Access please get in contact with our course advice team on 0800 345 7492 or via the form provided on this website. They'll be more than happy to answer any further questions you might have, as well as arrange of a tour of our facilities so you can get a first-hand look at what we do.

Via InstallerOnline

Despite the advances in electric fires and other forms of household heating, gas fires are still proving to be the number one choice for homes. So if you're looking to go out and get your gas certificate to become a qualified engineer, you'll be pleased to know that business is just as good as ever.

As well as the authenticity and flame effect which prove highly popular among the public, gas is still the cheapest fuel to run. On average, 1kW of gas supplied by British Gas costs just 4.662p (incl VAT) compared to nearly 14.259p (incl VAT) for 1kW of electricity - a number that seems to only be going up these days. Not only that, running a gas fire is actually more beneficial to the environment too, as it delivers half the CO2 emissions of an electric fire.

Gas fires are also far more efficient than they were back in the 80s, with developments in technology making them capable of delivering heat efficiencies of over 80% and heat outputs of 4.0kW - more than enough to heat your living room! But most of all a gas fire is reliable - if by chance your boiler were to break down over the winter (say, due to condensation freeze), you'll still be able to keep safe and warm until everything is back up and running.

Gas heating is just as vital now as it was 20 years ago, and Britain will continue to need engineers who have received the proper gas training. At Access Training you'll be able to learn all about the gas trade on one of our intensive training courses, eventually going on to complete a guaranteed work placement and subsequent ACS assessments. After that you'll be able to join the Gas Safe register and legally work on all forms of gas installation and appliance in the UK. Reckless gas maintenance can cost people their lives, so we're sure to make sure ALL of our students are training to the required professional standard.

To find out more give Access Training a call on 0800 345 7492.

 

Back in the beginning of August we wrote a post about the forthcoming Gas Safety week, which was set to kick off between the 16th and 22nd of September. Well time has flown since then, and its now only three more days until the week-long awareness campaign gets underway!

Set up by the Gas Safe Register, this week will see all areas of the gas industry - manufacturers, retailers, training companies, consumer bodies and even the public, make a special effort to inform about the importance of proper gas safety and the dangers from not taking proper care. So far of 2500 different people (including Access Training) have pledged their support toward the cause, and there's still plenty of time for you to do the same! Simply visit the website and sign up to pledge your support, and following that you'll be sent a supporter's kit to give you some ideas of what you can do in your area.

 

What is the Gas Safe Register?

Gas Safe Register is the official list of gas engineers who are qualified to work safely and legally on gas appliances. By law, all gas engineers must be on the Gas Safe Register. It replaced CORGI.

Registering with Gas Safe Register is a legal requirement for anyone carrying out gas work in the United Kingdom, Isle of Man and Guernsey. For more information and to register email register@gassaferegister.co.uk or call 0800 408 5577.

 

How to find an engineer

To make sure that gas appliances such as boilers, fires, ovens and hobs are fitted, fixed and serviced safely, only a Gas Safe registered engineer should carry out the work. If someone other than a Gas Safe registered engineer undertakes gas work, they are breaking the law and could put lives at risk.

To prove they are legally permitted to work on gas, all Gas Safe registered engineers have an ID card with their own unique licence number and a photograph. Those in the building industry must always check that engineers contracted to undertake gas work are on the Gas Safe Register.

To find or check an engineer go to www.GasSafeRegister.co.uk or call 0800 408 5500.

 

Access Training will begin a week long look at gas safety in our blogs, and may even throw in a few special offers for all budding gas engineers too. Gas Safety is an extremely important concern to us, and it is not something that should be taken lightly. Download your supporter's kit today and help spread the word of Gas Safety! 

With Gas Safety week coming up soon Access Training will be highlighting the importance of gas safety in our blog in the lead up to 16-22 September. However this isn't always going to be in a fun and educational way - yesterday the Heating, Ventilating & Plumbing magazine reported two separate instances of dishonest traders either fined or leaving people at risk because the tradesmen were not Gas Safe Registered.

The first article reports that a self-employed heating installer from King's Lynn was fined for illegally carrying out sub-standard gas work at two homes in Norfolk. Ryan Neale, trading as R. Neale Plumbing and Heating, installed gas appliances and pipework despite not being Gas Safe registered. He was fined a total of £2,000 and ordered to pay a further £1,000 in costs after pleading guilty to two separate breaches of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 for his work at each property – four charges in total.

Secondly, a London heating installer was also fined for illegal and unsafe gas work. Abhishev Yadav, 28, of Greenwich, installed a boiler at a property on Penywern Road, Earls Court, that was later classed as ‘at risk’ because the flue was not properly sealed or secured. He carried out the work in March 2011 on behalf of his firm Ability Heating, while falsely claiming to be Gas Safe registered. He was was fined a total of £7,500, and ordered to pay £2,500 in costs plus a £120 victim surcharge for breaching the same regulations.

In response to these stories,  Gas Safe Register chief executive Russell Kramer has issued this statement: "Every Gas Safe registered engineer has an ID card which shows who they are and the type of work they are qualified to carry out. Customers should ask to see this and check the engineer is qualified to do the job in hand. You can also check your engineer by calling us on 0800 408 5500 or by visiting www.gassaferegister.co.uk.

Joining the Gas Safe Register is a legal requirement of any tradesman installing, maintaining and decommissioning gas appliances and can only be achieved when they have been awarded all of the relevant gas qualifications. The register can also be used by homeowners to search for a suitable tradesman in their area, or to ensure that the one they've hired is a legitimate gas engineer. 

If you're interested in earning the qualifications to become a qualified gas engineer, Access Training offer comprehensive gas courses that will have you well on your way to success. Completing our courses successfully will give you the skills and knowledge to join the Gas Safe Register and start a new and rewarding career. To find out more give us a call on 0800 345 7492.

 

The Gas Safe Register is preparing for its annual Gas Safety week, which is due to take place between the 16th and 22nd of September.

The week is geared to raise awareness of gas safety and the importance of taking care of your gas appliances. While it is co-ordinated by the Register, it is also supported by many areas of the gas industry - including retailers, manufacturers, consumer bodies and the public. They are inviting anyone looking to get involved to pledge their support online via the website, where they will then receive a supporter's kit to help spread the word of gas safety.

Twenty one million households in United Kingdom, Isle of Man and Guernsey use gas for heating, hot water and cooking, yet we take it for granted that our boilers, cookers and gas fires are safe. Badly fitted and poorly serviced gas appliances can cause gas leaks, fires, explosions and carbon monoxide poisoning.

Did you know?

  • Every year thousands of people across the UK are diagnosed with carbon monoxide poisoning. It is a highly poisonous gas. You can’t see it, taste it or smell it, but it can kill quickly with no warning. Gas Safe Register estimate that there are a hard core of around 7,500 illegal gas fitters operating across the UK and up to 250,000 illegal gas jobs may be carried out each year (Gas Safe Register Research 2009).
  • Although there is awareness that gas appliances need to be safety checked annually, 43% of Britons don’t do it, and 10% have gas appliances which have never been checked (Gas Safety Week Research 2011).

Access Training have already pledged their support to Gas Safety week, so look forward to more articles and tweets from us about it in the run up to September!

 

Easy Safety Cert are offering registered Gas Safe engineers a free trial of their gas safety inspection software, available as an app for iOS devices such as an iPad or iPhone, with an Android version due to launch within the next six weeks.

Engineers will be able to complete, send and store gas safety inspections while on the go. They will also be access their own secure online database, which stores completed certificates along with client and job details and automatically sets 12-month inspection reminders.

The trial allows three free inspections; beyond that, engineers can purchase inspections on a pay-as-you-go basis. There are no subscription fees or extra charges for multiple users, devices, support or updates.

Bianca Dainty, director of Easy Safety Cert, said: "We’ve always had a key focus on usability and quality. The new features found in the iPad and updated iPhone apps are examples of our commitment to bringing the best technology to our customers."

The app can be found by searching "ESC GasCert" in the App store.

Full story: Daily Mail - 'Incompetent' plumber causes gas explosion

A 32-year old plumber is currently in course after he caused a gas explosion which resulted in a home being 'blown from its foundations' and leaving the couple inside with serious burns.

While converting the former kitchen of Martyn Moody and his wife Theresa's luxury home in the Lincolnshire Wolds into a dining room, plumber Daniel Hickling cut off and capped the protruding gas pipe, burying it under the floorboards. However during the work he punctured the pipe and failed to carry out a straightforward check to ensure there had been no damage to it.

Later the couple smelt gas and began searching their home. During this time Mr Moody flicked on a cigarette lighter and the flame ignited, causing a massive explosion with such force that the entire building moved an inch. Mr Moody, a retired construction and electrical tradesman spent two weeks in hospital undergoing skin grafts after suffering serious burns to his hands, arms and scalp. His wife suffered burns to her legs and feet nut was released from hospital after two days.

The home, which the couple had built for themselves in 1993, sustained so much damaged that it had to be almost completely rebuilt. It was a year before the couple were able to move back in. They were also left £100,000 out of pocket after being found to be underinsured on their contents insurance and thus had to cover some of the loss themselves.

Lincoln Crown Court were told by prosecutor James Puzey that Hickley was "incompetent to carry out this work and it was carried out incompetently. That led directly to an explosion which almost destroyed the property and caused serious injury to the householders." It was also revealed that he was not a registered Gas Safe engineer and failed to tell the couple this when he agreed to do the work. However he claims that he did not know he would be working on a gas pipe and as such never put himself forward as properly qualified.

Hickley has admitted to breaching the 1998 Gas Safety Regulations and performing work to an inappropriate standard. Recorder Helen Malcolm QC has adjourned the case to a future date when she will give her ruling on the case following these two days of evidence.

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Cases like this are a prime example of why having the right qualifications to do the job is vital. Simply having plumbing qualifications is not enough if you are potentially going to work with gas pipes, as not only are you breaking the law and could potentially face prosecution but you are also endangering the lives of your customers. If you train as a gas engineer, becoming Gas Safe Registered isn't just advised, it is essential proof that you are legally competent to work with gas pipes and gas appliances safely. If you are a plumber and would like to learn more about gas engineering, gaining the qualifications required to be eligable for Gas Safe registration, we at Access Training offer comprehensive gas courses to ensure you are fully trained. To find out more click the link or give us a call on 0800 345 7492.

Following on from part 1 we will now look at what training courses are available to you, as well as factors such as their cost and duration.

At Access Training we deliver many construction courses, including;

 

Each course can vary from a one week taster course to a total of eight weeks, depending on the outcome you wish to achieve. The one week taster course will give you a good insight to your chosen trade, basic use of tools and basic techniques. Then there are two and three week courses which obviously involve a more in depth look at the particular trade. Each of these courses can give you a recognised qualification from City & Guilds.

The eight week course will give you a CAA Level 2 (Construction Awards Alliance) and potentially a NVQ diploma, both of which are again highly regarded and recognised C&G qualifications. The cost of each course varies, so I suggest you contact Access Training Wales and speak to one of the course advisors.

OK you’ve finished the course you’ve gained your qualification, what next? The truth is finding work is not as difficult as you may think. Most trainees after leaving Access Training start by doing small jobs for friends, family and neighbours.  This will build your confidence and give you some indication of how long a job will take. Best of all you will be under no pressure from family to complete by a certain deadline.

Then there are construction “agencies” that employ people to work on various jobs. They’ll find you the work, but be prepared to work maybe one week here, two weeks there and so on. This is a great way of gaining experience quickly and you will be on a fixed hourly rate, usually around £12 per hour.

So now that you’ve gained both experience and confidence, it’s time to go on your own. This is where you can earn a lot more money – it’s not uncommon for a good tradesperson to earn between £600-800 per week. Keep your options open, if you completed a bricklaying course don’t think that you can only lay bricks. Bricklayers can usually lay patios, decorative work indoors, build archways and more. If you completed a plastering course, plasterers can usually fix coving up, lay screed floors etc. One very lucrative area from a plastering point of view is “Venitian” or “Polished” plastering. There is a niche in the market for this type of work, if you have good trowel skills you can learn this method relatively quickly, and the price for doing this work is roughly £60 per square meter. So the choice is yours – there is work about for good tradespeople, so if you feel you need a career change then go for it!

If you need more information contact Access Training Wales on 08003457492.

- Richard James