With the arrival of Gas Safety Week each year comes a flurry of activity, and this year is no exception. Three stories have stood out at the start of the week.
Gas Safety Superheroes
The first comes from the Gas Safety Superheroes, a group of installers who have set out to emphasise the central role that registered engineers play in enforcing the safety message. As we revealed exclusively on September 4th, throughout this week, they’re giving RGEs the chance to win a Worcester Bosch boiler by posting a selfie with their Gas Safe ID card on their social media accounts using the hashtags #GSSH, #GSW19 and #RegardTheCard.
Good morning all , welcome to start for gas safe week . We are running a campaign this week to help engineers from the newly qualified to the most experience.
Look forward to a positive week ! #GSW19 #GSSH #REGARDTHECARD pic.twitter.com/UipUFoYPZ3
— GasSafeSuperheroes (@SafetySuperhero) September 16, 2019
New appliance label
Secondly, members of the HHIC boiler manufacturers group have pledged to place the Gas Safety messaging on their packaging – detailing that gas appliances should be installed by a competent, registered Gas Safe engineer.
The pledge was made in 2018 and the label has now been signed off by the Gas Safe Register, Health and Safety Executive and The Register of Gas Installers of Ireland.
Stewart Clements, Director, HHIC said: “Every person working in the gas industry has a responsibility to help raise awareness with consumers of the dangers and risk involved, in allowing somebody who is not trained, qualified, registered or insured, to work on any gas installation.”
“HHIC boiler manufacturer members made this pledge, to place the Gas Safety messaging on boiler packaging, to show their commitment to continually raising Gas Safety awareness, and making it harder for unregistered ‘installers’ to operate in the industry.
“Awareness of gas safety is absolutely vital. A third (33%) of UK adults admit they’ve not checked if engineers they’ve let into their home to work on gas appliances are on the Gas Safe Register.
“HHIC and our members are committed to continually raising Gas Safety awareness, and making it harder for unregistered ‘installers’ to operate in the industry.
“This prominent gas safety message for boiler packaging will now be rolled out by our members and will serve as a reminder to consumers to ensure that all gas appliances must be fitted by a Gas Safe registered engineer – something which can easily be checked online through the Gas Safe register, or Registered Gas Installer (ROI), or in person by checking their ID card.”
Alarming survey statistics
Finally, some shocking stats from Worcester Bosch about boiler maintenance and servicing across the country – with 18% believing that servicing is unnecessary until a boiler breaks down.
The survey also reveals that more than one in 10 of the population have never had their boiler serviced, and a further 20% haven’t had their boiler serviced for over 12 months. Over a third of millennials said they would wait for their boiler to break down before servicing it.
Key stats from the survey include:
*10% of people have never had their boiler serviced
*30% of people haven’t had their boiler serviced for over 12 months (stat includes the 10% of people who have never had their boiler serviced)
*18% think that a boiler service is unnecessary and that you should just wait until your boiler breaks down
*48% of people have never asked for the service history of a boiler when they’ve moved house
*18% do not pay for a service because they think their money could be better spent elsewhere
*The North East take better care of their boilers than the rest of the UK (40% have had their boiler serviced in the past six months compared to as low as 22% in London)
*35% of 25 to 34-year olds think a boiler service is unnecessary and you should just wait for it to break down
The view from installers
The focus here is primarily on the HHIC’s label announcement.
Some have pointed out concerns about the wording of the label…
Surely that should read, ‘MUST’???
— Rob Berridge EngTech (@HeatingConsult) September 16, 2019
… and a discrepancy between the label and installation manuals.
The word MUST is used in the installation manual.
Can you explain the difference between words on something inside the box, and words on the outside of the box? pic.twitter.com/a3fw8FpTaN
— Plymouth Gas (@Plymouthgas) September 16, 2019
While it has been generally acknowledged that this is a step forward for gas safety (and HHIC has confirmed that the wording has been reviewed legally), our take is that it’s essential to convey to consumers (during Gas Safety Week or at any time throughout the year) that appliances MUST be fitted by a registered engineer. As has also been raised on social media, the qualifying use of the word “competent” is an issue too. As we see it, Gas Safe registration by its very nature should (and indeed must) be a benchmark of competence. Running the risk of implying otherwise could potentially jeopardise the very message the label aims to put across.