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 >
If you didn't already know the consequences of working as a gas engineer without being on the Gas Safe register, here is another stark reminder.
Liverpool Magistrates recently fined a man, Kevin Shephard, for working on gas fittings and issuing Landlord Gas Safety Certificates, despite no longer being Gas Safe registered. Health and Safety Executive (HSE) carried out an investigation which showed that Mr Shephard was registered with the Gas Safe register over several periods between November 2013 and June 2016, but his registration lapsed in June 2016, along with his gas competence qualifications.
Mr Shephard continued to carry out gas work and maintenance without renewing his registration or qualifications, so was, therefore, carrying out gas work illegally. Mr Shephard pled guilty to breaching several gas safety regulations, was fined £2000 and had to pay legal costs of £2000 also.
HSE inspector Jane Carrol said:
"Kevin Shephard carried out gas work which he knew he wasn't properly registered to do. All gas work must be done by registered Gas Safe engineers to ensure the highest standards are met and to prevent injury and loss of life."
How Do I Get Gas Safe Registered?
Joining the Gas Safe Register will ensure you avoid illegal gas work penalties. To get on the gas safe register, you need to pass an ACS assessment - an assessment that can only be completed if you learn the necessary skills, theory, and procedures.
If you'd like to become a fully-qualified gas plumber, Access Training Academies can help! We offer a selection of different gas courses that will teach you all the necessary skills to pass your ACS assessments, click below to view and enquire today!
Browse Our Gas Courses >
To work continuously as a gas engineer you will need to complete reassessments to stay on the Gas Safe Register. We can help you with your reassessments too!
It's widely known that gas engineers in the UK are legally required to join the Gas Safe Register before working on gas appliances. But do you know what the punishment is for carrying out gas work when you're not Gas Safe registered?
A Mr Stevens of Milton Keynes recently found out. The director of Master Plumbing Contractors Limited recently appeared before Aylesbury Crown Court, where he was sentenced to 300 hours of community service and ordered to pay costs of £15,000.
This sentence was handed down because Mr Stevens was working illegally when he installed a gas boiler (later found to have defects) at a property in Milton Keynes. The court heard that Mr Stevens had...
- Professed to be Gas Safe registered
- Worn a T-shirt bearing the Gas Safe logo
- Displayed the Gas Safe logo on his company van
...but an investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found that, despite all appearances, Mr Stevens actually was not on the Gas Safe Register at the time the work was carried out.
Following the outcome of this hearing, HSE inspector Andrew McGill issued a statement warning "rogue gas fitters" that gas work is "difficult, specialised and potentially very dangerous", and that it should only be undertaken by "trained and competent engineers who are registered with Gas Safe".
How do you get on the Gas Safe Register?
In order to join the Gas Safe Register and avoid the penalties for illegal gas work, you will first need to pass your ACS assessment - and you won't be able to do that until you've learned the essential skills, theory and safety procedures that every professional gas engineer must know.
If you're thinking of joining the trade and making a living from gas work, we offer a selection of comprehensive gas courses here at Access Training Academies. You'll learn in a fully-equipped training centre under the supervision of an experienced gas engineer, and we'll help you to progress smoothly and quickly from learning the basics to preparing for your ACS assessment. We can also help with the reassessments that you'll have to complete every few years in order to stay on the Gas Safe Register.
Our Gas Courses > Speak to a Course Advisor >
READ MORE: How to Become Gas Safe Registered
As our most recent summer fades away, the days are getting shorter and colder and we start the dreaded march into frosty mornings and pitch-black evenings. Not to mention those pesky heating bills that sky-rocket as soon as it hits September...
...Or is that really the case? A recent survey
conducted by home heating oil specialists Emo Oil has revealed that central heating is actually used constantly throughout the summer, with households turning it up as soon as the evening chill arrives. More...
You may remember that a few weeks ago we posted
about the recent success of 2015 Apprentice
candidate, Joseph Valente, who was rewarded with a £250k business investment from Lord Alan Sugar. It would seem that Valente, owner of plumbing business Impra-Gas, is already putting the money to good use; he recently announced via Twitter
that the company is looking to recruit electricians and gas engineers in Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire and the Midlands.
It's fantastic to see that Lord Sugar's investment is already paying off, and that Valente is able to offer a number of candidates the opportunity to become a part of a successful, expanding business. This is also great news for qualified electricians and gas engineers, and proves how valuable and in-demand their skills are across the country. Valente, who admits that traditional education wasn't right for him, has managed to forge a pathway to success not only for himself, but also for other budding professionals in the industry, proving that highly determined tradespeople are just as worthwhile to the world of business as those in more glamorous professions.
Valente's journey from school drop-out to budding plumber and now businessman is highly inspirational, and is testament to the number of lucrative opportunities available to those who are willing to make the commitment and learn a new trade. Whether you see yourself as one of Valente's future employees or as the owner of your own business, you can be sure that the time and money you invest in completing your training as a gas engineer or electrician will prove to be invaluable in shaping your future career ambitions.
If you've been inspired by Valente's story, or if you're looking to begin your career in a particular trade and don't know where to start, we want to hear from you! We have carefully designed courses for budding plumbers
and gas engineers
, and we would be happy to direct you to the option most suitable for your needs and experience. Whether you're changing careers or starting from scratch, our professional, experienced staff can offer you a great insight into both the skills required and the industry itself, allowing you to step into your new career with knowledge and confidence.
If you would like to speak with one of our advisers about the range of courses on offer, get in touch with us today!
Nominations are now open for Heating Installer of the Year 2016!
This is a brand new award that's been organised by Installer Magazine in partnership with Continental Underfloor. They're looking for the UK's best heating installers and engineers, and if you work in either capacity, you could be in the running!
If you'd like to be considered for the award, you'll need to visit the Heating Installer of the Year website and submit your details using the online entry form. If you'd like to nominate somebody else for the award, that's OK too - you'll need the following details to hand:
- Name of the installer and their business
- Gas Safe registration/MCS accreditation number (if applicable)
- Their contact details
- Images and details of the project they completed for you
- A short testimonial from yoursefl
The deadline for entries is the 12th of February 2016. 11 regional winners will be chosen from the list of nominees; the best of those 11 will then receive the national prize at Installer2016 in May. The regions are as follows:
- East of England
- East Midlands
- North East
- North West
- Northern Ireland
- South East
- South West
- West Midlands
- Yorkshire and the Humber
If you think that your plumber/heating engineer could take home the top award, then be sure to nominate them! These tradesmen and women do great work every day throughout the UK, and their efforts deserve to be rewarded.
Of course, if you're thinking of becoming
a heating installer, then that's something we at Access Training can help with. We offer a number of gas courses
and plumbing courses
for people of all skill levels, so whether you're an absolute beginner or an experienced candidate looking to turn your skills into industry-recognised qualifications, please get in touch
today. Who knows? You could win Heating Installer of the Year in 2017!
Joining the Gas Safe Register is a rite of passage for all trainee gas engineers, but more importantly, it's a legal requirement for anyone who wishes to carry out gas installations in the UK. Unregistered individuals who work on gas appliances are breaking the law and may be prosecuted.
One cautionary example is that of Michael Birch from St Austell in Cornwall. Earlier this week, Mr Birch was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay costs of £5,000 after pleading guilty to breaching the Gas Safety Regulations and the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
What did he do wrong?
Back in 2013, Michael Birch (who is not a Gas Safe-registered engineer) installed a gas boiler in a property in St Austell. The boiler - specifically the flue - was not installed correctly, which the homeowner noticed and reported to the Gas Safe Register. It eventually transpired that, after Mr Birch had finished installing the boiler, he had asked a registered gas engineer named Peter Hopper to 'sign off' on his work, which Mr Hopper did in spite of the unsafe state of the installation.
(Incidentally, Peter Hopper was also sentenced this week - he was fined £1,500 and ordered to pay £5,000 for illegally commissioning the work.)
All of this serves as a stern reminder of how important it is to join the Gas Safe Register before commencing any gas installations of your own. Unregistered personnel risk prosecution and hefty fines, but worse still, they risk compromising people's safety. Had the homeowner in this cautionary tale failed to notice the problems with their boiler, the story's ending could have been far grimmer than a mere fine.
How do I join the Gas Safe Register?
In order to join the Gas Safe Register and legally carry out gas installation work, you will first need to complete an ACS assessment
. This is included as a component of Access Training's Premier Gas Course
, which is open to candidates of all levels, including absolute beginners. More experienced individuals can undergo the assessment on its own.
Click here to browse Access Training's full range of gas training courses, or contact us to discuss the options we offer.
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.
Every year the Gas Safe Register holds a 'Gas Safety Week' to promote proper safety when it comes to gas installations and appliances and what signs to look for if you suspect a gas leak. Last year 2700 different industries (ourselves included!) pledged their support and got involved distributing leaflets, holding promotions or simply spreading the word about gas safety in any way that they could. However this year (taking place the 15th-21st September), they're calling on your to share your stories about being a Gas Safe Hero.
Russell Kramer, chief executive of the Gas Safe Register, explained that for 2014 the register's aim is to highlight the work registered engineers have done and how they've gone "above and beyond". This could be anything from simply holding neighbourhood events to raise awareness to fixing dodgy gas work or even evacuating a home in the event of a leak.
Engineers are able to share their stories by visiting GasSafeRegister.co.uk/hero, which will then go on to appear on the Gas Safety week website as well as potentially be shared with the media. In addition to this, the Register is also looking for Heroes to talk to the media about their experiences and help spread the word of Gas Safety. Those interested in nominating themselves as a spokesperson can also do so at the aforementioned link.
Mr Kramer concludes with these words;
"Gas Safety Week is about bringing gas safety to the forefront of people's minds. So this year, I'm urging the nation's engineers to join in – tell us your story, nominate yourself to be a spokesperson or pledge your support. It's only through the whole industry uniting that we can hope to reach the 23 million UK gas consumers - encouraging them to always use registered engineers, to get appliances checked regularly and to sign up to the free annual gas safety check reminder service at www.staygassafe.co.uk"
Are you on your way to becoming a Gas Safe Hero? Any budding engineer knows that in order to become a professional gas engineer, one must first pass their ACS assessments and sign on to the register - a legal requirement of ANYONE working on gas installations and appliances. But before any of this can happen, you first need a high quality gas training course and a proper work placement to put together a portfolio of your work. And where can you get all of these things? Here at Access Training of course!
At our state-of-the-art training centre, you'll learn all the theory and practical skills you need from our experienced team of tutors before moving out on a guaranteed work placement. Following completion of your portfolio you'll be able to come back and sit your ACS assessment, bringing you to the level of a fully qualified gas engineer. To find out more about the course give us a call on 0800 345 7492.
So you've done your gas training course, passed your ACS assessments, joined the Gas Safe Register and are now starting life as a self-employed gas engineer. Are you prepared for the day-to-day tasks of managing your own business that weren't covered in the course? Well, the Register is here to help make life a little easier for you. To mark its fifth year as the UK's official gas registration body, it has launched a brand new app for iPhone and Android devices.
Titled the "Gas Engineer Workspace", this app is designed to help self-employed engineers and small businesses manage their everyday workload. The tasks it can perform include;
- Managing day-to-day jobs with an easy to use calendar that shows when and where jobs are.
- Logging customer contact details, including addresses, phone numbers and email addresses.
- Setting reminds for scheduled work to help manage time.
- The ability to contact customers directly from the app, along with being able to send them a reminder for any upcoming jobs.
While on the surface this might not sound like a lot, it certainly straightens out the mangerial side of running your own business and seems to be something many gas engineers have been after for a while. The Gas Safe Register's chief executive Russel Kramer has also stated that more functions are planned to be added to the app over the next few months, including a range of calculation tools for pipe sizing and venting calculation.
The app is now available for free on both the App store and Google Play, and can be found by searching "gas engineer workspace". Once the app is downloaded, users will be invited to login with their Gas Safe Register user ID/license card and password.
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.