From gas boilers to cookers and heaters, your business might use a range of different gas appliances. This equipment could be crucial to the running of your everyday operations. But while these appliances may offer impressive convenience and functionality, they are also associated with certain risks. For example, when they are not installed or maintained correctly, there is a danger of explosions and fires. There is also a risk of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. According to the NHS, each year in England and Wales alone there are around 60 deaths from accidental CO poisoning. This colourless and odourless gas is produced when certain fuels, including natural gas, fail to burn fully.
Given the potential dangers associated with gas appliances, it is no surprise that there are strict rules in place in the UK governing their installation and maintenance. One aspect of this is ensuring you have up-to-date Gas Safety Certificates. Keep reading to discover more about these certificates, including what they are, how to get them and the penalties you may face if you don’t have the appropriate certification.
What is a gas safety certificate?
A Gas Safety Certificate, also known as a Gas Safety Record form – and in the trade as a CP12 – is a document that confirms gas appliances have been tested for safety as part of an inspection conducted by a suitably qualified engineer. In the UK, it is a legal requirement that landlords and owners of commercial properties have their gas appliances inspected every 12 months to make sure they are working properly and are in a safe condition. This means it’s important to be in the know when it comes to this element of business energy.
Gas safety certificates
The certificates can only be issued by Gas Safe registered engineers. These specialists must attend your premises and carry out a number of tests on each gas appliance before they provide a certificate. The tests include a visual inspection, as well as pressure, functionality and operation tests. Also, any appliances that use extraction systems to expel gases created during the combustion process must undergo an inspection to make sure the extraction method is suitable.
The results of these checks are recorded on a Gas Safety Record form. This document will include a description of each appliance checked by the engineer, along with its location within your premises. It will also detail the name and register number of the engineer who performed the assessment. All engineers must be included on the Gas Safe Register, and they each have their own individual registration number. The safety form will also include the date that the inspection was conducted on, the address of the premises that has been checked and any problems or defects found by the engineer – along with the actions needed or taken to fix them.
What is the Gas Safe Register?
Launched to the public in April 2009, the Gas Safe Register is the UK’s official registration body of gas businesses and engineers. All gas businesses are legally required to be on this register, and engineers can only be issued with a licence to undertake gas work on behalf of registered businesses if they have a current and valid qualification. Every year, the Gas Safe Register carries out more than 40,000 inspections of engineers and their work to ensure that the necessary standards and rules are being observed.
What is the law around Gas Safety Certificates?
Gas safety rules in the UK fall under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. As mentioned previously, these rules require that gas systems are fitted and maintained correctly. They apply to both natural gas and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), and they include all gas appliances, fittings and flues in commercial and public premises, as well as in rented accommodation.
By law, your business is required to have an in-date commercial Gas Safety Certificate if you have any gas appliances in your premises. This means you need to arrange a commercial gas safety check every year. This can be any time in the 10th to 12th month after the previous check. Once your engineer has completed the assessment, they will give you a copy of your Gas Safety Record form.
If you fail to get the certificate in time, you are breaking the law and could face a fine and potentially even imprisonment. The penalty for not having appropriate certification will depend on the nature and severity of the case. One example of a fine imposed due to a lack of Gas Safety certification involved a Staffordshire landlord who had failed to inspect the state of gas appliances in his properties. This failure led to the fatal CO poisoning of a tenant. Following an investigation carried out by the Health and Safety Executive, which found that several safety problems had led to the death of the tenant, the landlord received a fine of £40,000, as well as costs of £4,500. He was also warned that failure to pay the money could result in a prison sentence of up to 18 months.
How to get a Gas Safety Certificate
To get a Gas Safety Certificate, you will need to book a visit from a Gas Safe registered engineer. As mentioned before, these experts will come to your premises to assess all of your gas appliances, as well as accessible pipework, to ensure they are in suitable condition. They will also test to make sure there are no gas leaks.
When you are arranging an appointment with an engineer, it’s crucial that you make sure you choose someone who is on the Gas Safe Register. These are the only people who can legally provide you with the required certification. Using an unregistered engineer will void any certificate issued. The Gas Safe Register lists all the companies that are allowed by law to conduct gas work. Each business on its official list employs engineers with a Gas Safe ID card. Always check the engineer’s ID card before you allow them to carry out the checks or conduct any repair or maintenance work. This card should feature a personal licence number and start and expiry dates, along with the company name and a photo of the engineer. Valid ID cards also have a security hologram with the Gas Safe logo on it. On the reverse, you will see a full list of qualifications held by the engineer.
To find an engineer certified to check the gas appliances in your business premises, you can use the search tool provided by the Gas Safe Register.
How much is a Gas Safety Certificate?
The need for these documents is clear, but you may be wondering how much a commercial gas safety certificate costs. These prices aren’t regulated by the Gas Safe Register, so there is no set fee for Gas Safety Certifications in the UK. The amount you pay to get this documentation will depend on a range of factors, including the company you choose to do the work, your geographical location and the number of appliances that will need to be checked on your business premises.
Prices can start from around £30 and rise to more than £150, so it is well worth getting a selection of quotes to compare. If you simply go with the first company you find, you may well pay more than necessary for these checks. Also, before you agree to have the work completed by a particular company, make sure you know exactly what’s included. Some quotes can appear to be cheaper than others until various hidden costs are factored in.
How do I find my Gas Safe number?
As a business owner and user of gas appliances, you don’t have a Gas Safe number. As discussed previously in this guide though, engineers do have a Gas Safe licence number. You will find this information on their ID card. It is a unique seven-digit number and is prominently displayed on the licence. If you want to check this Gas Safe number against the official database to ensure it is valid, you can run it through the Gas Safe Register ‘check an engineer’ tool.
Gas safety certificates for commercial premises
Although the regulations and advice governing gas safety does vary somewhat according to the specific nature of the business premises in question, gas safety rules for different kinds of commercial and public premises are broadly the same. In simple terms, if you have a commercial or public property with gas appliances, it is a criminal offence not to have a valid annual Gas Safety Certificate.
Highlighting how similar the regulations are, we’ve picked out catering companies and schools as two examples of the kinds of premises that are subject to gas safety regulations.
Gas safety for catering companies
Gas safety in commercial kitchens is clearly paramount. More so than many other types of organisation, catering businesses often rely on multiple types of gas appliances, and use them heavily during their daily operations. To keep workers and customers safe, and to meet the specifications of the law, these companies must ensure they have up-to-date commercial catering Gas Safety Certificates.
Catering businesses are required to have a suitable maintenance scheme in place for all their gas appliances, and they must use a Gas Safe registered engineer to install, service and maintain these pieces of equipment. They must also ensure that all the manufacturer’s instructions are followed correctly, and that employees receive the necessary training to use gas appliances safely. In addition, they are obligated to have these appliances inspected each year by an appropriately registered engineer and they must keep the Gas Safety Record provided by this engineer available for inspection.
There are also requirements placed on catering businesses regarding kitchen ventilation. These extraction systems should provide general ventilation through the kitchen and new systems must be interlocked to the gas supply to prevent the gas from being turned on if the extractor is not running.
Gas safety for schools
Just like commercial organisations, schools and academies need access to energy. The majority of school buildings have access to a gas supply. Typically, this is fed from the mains, although in some cases it comes from LPG. The effects of gas safety lapses in schools can be dangerous for pupils, teachers and other members of staff. It is therefore vital for managers to consider potential risks when dealing with the installation and maintenance of gas systems.
In the case of local authority-run schools, the relevant council is responsible for ensuring gas safety, including the necessary certification.
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