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COVID-19 Advice and Guidance

Advice for the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. Please be aware: as this is an ever changing situation information may be updated, amended and added on a regular basis.

UPDATED 7th April

What do the new restrictions announced by the UK Government mean for gas engineering businesses?

Given the restrictions have been put in place in order to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus, it is essential that any registered businesses undertaking work still follows the guidelines in terms of:

  • Keeping a minimum of 2m apart from other people (who are not from your household),
  • Washing hands frequently,
  • Wiping down all surfaces.

Guidance on businesses and trades that can continue to work through the restrictions can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close-guidance#work-carried-out-in-peoples-homes

And: www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-decontamination-in-non-healthcare-settings/covid-19-decontamination-in-non-healthcare-settings

This is based on current guidance from the UK Government, at 24th March 2020, and is subject to change as the pandemic situation progresses.

We also note that registered businesses should conduct their own assessment of the risks before entering any property.

Will Gas Safe Register Inspectors continue to undertake inspections in gas work where there has been a concern raised?

During this initial period of restriction, Gas Safe Register anticipates we will only conduct inspections undertaken by GSR Inspectors into high risk scenarios, and that these will be determined on a case-by-case basis with the HSE.  All other inspections will be held and prioritised to be scheduled once the restrictions are lifted.   

We have suspended all of our routine Inspection Events for the time being, and are looking at suitable alternatives to attending an event in person. This work will continue, and we will communicate details of these as soon as they have been decided.

General Information: Gas Safe Register service 

Due to the COVID-19 situation, we are currently operating a limited service as we have closed our main office (as of 25 March 2020 until further notice) to support efforts to reduce the spread of the virus.

All of our services are available online, at www.gassaferegister.co.uk, or you can email us with your query to register@gassaferegister.co.uk.

If you have a gas emergency or can smell gas please call the emergency service provider on 0800 111 999.

For vulnerable members of the public, unable to use our website or email, we continue to operate the HSE Gas Safety Advice line on 0800 300 363. Please be aware response times are currently longer and they may need to leave us as voicemail message, so that we can call back.  

General Information: Inspections

Where inspections or investigations must take place, our inspectors are taking a range for precautions to protect the public and engineers that they come into contact with, as well as themselves.  These are based on the guidance provided on Gov.uk, and include;

  • Personal protective equipment, frequent handwashing with soap or use of alcohol hand sanitising gel.
  • Inspectors visiting sites, confirm prior to entering the property, whether anyone is anyone is self-isolating, or has been in contact with anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID19 or has recently gone into self-isolation?
  • In addition, if the inspector visiting a site suspects anything that makes them feels uncomfortable with the situation then they can retreat from site and follow the steps above.

Any member of Gas Safe Register staff residing in a household where another person has symptoms, or presenting symptoms themselves, will follow the guidelines on self isolation available on Gov.uk.

COVID-19: Advice for landlords Safety Checks

The HSE have provided a wealth of new information for landlords including a variety of scenarios which may help provide some clarity for those concerned for their well-being or the well-being of their customers.

Please visit: https://www.gassaferegister.co.uk/help-and-advice/covid-19-advice-and-guidance/landlords/

 

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Advice for vulnerable (shielded) tenants on landlord gas safety checks

Government advice is that people who are clinically extremely vulnerable should minimise all interaction between themselves and others (also referred to as shielded people).

If you have been advised by the government that you fall into the extremely vulnerable (shielded) category, you should inform your landlord that you are shielding because you are medically vulnerable, so do not want an engineer in your home.

Your landlord can find out more about what is expected of them in respect of gas safety checks at this time on the Gas Safe Register website. The landlord must rearrange the landlords’ gas safety check to take place after your isolation period has ended.

However, if you smell gas, or if you have concerns about the safety of your appliances, you should call the gas emergency service provider on 0800 111 999, and switch off appliances until the gas emergency supplier, or a registered gas engineer, has attended and advised that the appliances are safe to use.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Advice for engineers on working in people’s homes

Gas engineers working in the homes of people who are self-isolating or vulnerable should follow the latest advice on Gov.uk, including guidance on working in peoples’ homes and social distancing.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Advice for engineers and assessment centres on maintaining ACS qualifications

We have had reports that some ACS assessment centres have closed due to COVID-19, resulting in engineers being unable to take their ACS reassessment. Engineers are expected to take all reasonable measures to maintain their ACS qualifications, including planning ahead where possible.

Maintaining gas safety competence is essential for registered gas engineers. If assessment centres have enough staff and customers to keep functioning, they should do so and follow Gov.uk advice on good hygiene and encouraging engineers not to attend if they should be self-isolating.

If engineers take all reasonable steps to update their expired ACS certification as soon as possible, and continue to work safely, HSE will permit registered gas engineers to remain on the Register for an additional period during the peak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) measures.

Engineers may be required to demonstrate that they have taken reasonable steps to renew their qualifications.

Engineers MUST maintain their Gas Safe registration during any extension of their ACS qualification period if they are carrying out gas work.

This is a temporary measure and does not remove the standing requirement for registered gas engineers to maintain their ACS certification and renew certification every 5 years.

Registered Businesses

Can gas engineers and tradespeople still work?

Given the restrictions have been put in place in order to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus, it is essential that any registered businesses undertaking work still follows the guidelines in terms of:

  • Keeping a minimum of 2m apart from other people (who are not from your household),
  • Washing hands frequently,
  • Wiping down all surfaces.

Full guidance on precautions to take to avoid transferring or contracting the virus can be found at www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19

And: www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-decontamination-in-non-healthcare-settings/covid-19-decontamination-in-non-healthcare-settings

There is also information on Gov.uk regarding tradespeople working in people's homes: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close-guidance#work-carried-out-in-peoples-homes

This is based on current guidance from the UK Government, as of 25th March 2020, and is subject to change as the pandemic situation progresses.

We also note that registered businesses should conduct their own assessment of the risks before entering any property, as with any other risk.

We have had a range of queries around whether gas engineers are critical workers or not, and we have seen a range of conflicting opinions offered by different organisations. As of 23rd March, the most comprehensive advice is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-education

Where these queries relates to the question of provision of emergency school places, we are not in a position to comment:
  1. every engineers situation is different
  2. each situation is also about the specific schools' capacity to provide places to the most vulnerable children and to critical workers.
We understand many schools are using a triage system, based around nature of parent/ guardians job roles, and ability for the child to be kept at home safely with a responsible person. The intent to also keep as many children at home as possible, to reduce the spread of the virus.
Whilst Engineers are expected to take all reasonable measures to maintain their ACS qualifications, including planning ahead where possible, we appreciate that the current situation means this is not feasible. Maintaining gas safety competence is essential for registered gas engineers.

If engineers take all reasonable steps to update their expired ACS certification as soon as possible after the restrictions are lifted, and continue to work safely, HSE will permit registered gas engineers to remain on the Register for an additional period during the peak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) measures. Engineers may be required to demonstrate that they have taken reasonable steps to renew their qualifications. Engineers MUST maintain their Gas Safe registration during any extension of their ACS qualification period if they are carrying out gas work. This is a temporary measure and does not remove the standing requirement for registered gas engineers to maintain their ACS certification and renew certification every 5 years.
The Gas Safe Register is a mandatory registration scheme, and all engineers who are working on gas must be registered and carry their licence card in order to work legally in the UK.

If you are working and need to be registered, registration fees may be paid by monthly Direct Debit, spreading the cost across the year.

If you are due to renew your registration, you may choose to cease gas work and your registration during the current period; and, provided you let us know, we will waive re-application fees when you re-register and start working again, as long as this is within 12 weeks of their/ your original registration date.

The Government have also made available a package of financial help for businesses and self-employed, intended to support the UK through this period: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses
Businesses who are otherwise impacted financially as a result of COVID-19 should access the various support mechanisms which have been put into effect by Government: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses

If you are unable to undertake gas work because you are a high-risk category person due to your age or an underlying medical condition etc, and you are following Government guidance to not put yourself at higher risk, please let us know immediately and we will suspend your registration until you advise us that you are returning to gas work.

IMPORTANT: During any suspension period, you must not carry out any gas work. If any gas work is carried out by you whilst your registration is suspended, even temporarily, this will be a breach of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations and you may be liable to prosecution.
No, you do not. Regulation 36 of the GSIUR relating to Landlord Gas Safety Records does not specify that a signature is required from the recipient, only from the engineer undertaking the safety checks.