The Institution of Gas Engineers and Managers (IGEM) and Energy & Utility Skills (EU Skills) have long held the belief that UK standards of gas training needed to be revisited.
Now, a new document on standards of training in gas work is due to be released on April 1, 2014, following months of collaborative work.
The IGEM and EU Skills document Standards of Training in Gas Work promises to completely transform the way in which gas industry workers are trained in this country.
IGEM Technical Services Manager Keith Needham said: “For too long the gas industry has relied on a system of training which we believe does not adequately prepare new entrants to the gas industry.
“The safety of millions of people is in the hands of these workers and it is essential to have the confidence they are fully trained, up to speed with the latest developments and being regularly tested on their abilities.
“In time, we hope all training providers will follow this guidance in order to comply with the existing regulations, and ensure the people they are sending out into the industry are safe to operate in it.”
Standards of Training in Gas Work replaces Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE’s) Approved Code of Practice (ACOP) 20 as the industry document covering appropriate training in the gas industry.
The document provides guidance for training for those entering the industry as well as for training providers themselves. It has been carefully designed to give clear, robust criteria in the support of well-trained and competent engineers able to undertake safe gas work.
IGEM CEO Sarb Bajwa said: “As a world-leader in gas, the UK has a duty to ensure its operatives are the safest, most able and consistent in the industry. Our hope is that this guidance will guarantee that is the case for generations to come.”
Energy & Utility Skills (EU Skills), as the UK authority on professional development and employment in the energy and utilities industries, will appraise training providers on the basis of Standards of Training in Gas Work.
From January 1, 2015, it is envisaged only training providers meeting the criteria set out in the document will be recognised.
Recognition of providers is referenced in the latest edition of HSE’s ACOP Safety in the installation and use of gas systems and appliances.
Neil Robertson, Chief Executive of EU Skills, said: “This is a ground breaking moment for the gas industry, demonstrating the competence of new entrants in the industry is paramount. These new standards will provide employers with the confidence that through a robust quality audit process they meet the high standards of training expected across the UK gas industry.
Standards of Training in Gas Work, published by IGEM, has been approved by the Strategic Management Board (SMB) of the gas industry Standards Setting Structure and IGEM following consultation with Gas Safe Register, the industry and the HSE.
Trevor Smallpeice, Professional Head of Technical Compliance at Carillion said: “UK employers of gas industry operatives need confidence that their recruits have a broad knowledge of gas work, before they undertake ACS.
“Having helped develop ‘Standards of Training in Gas Work’ with IGEM and EU Skills I’m confident that industry entrants will receive consistent and valuable training which will support higher levels of competence and safety in our industry in the future.”