Gas safety

The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 apply to most flammable gases when they are supplied from a distribution main or fixed tank for use as a fuel gas.  Most common gases such as natural gas, methane, propane, butane and hydrogen are potentially within scope of the regulations.  Supply of fuel gas from a gas cylinder to a mobile heater/space heater is also subject to the regulations.

The regulations prohibit anyone other than a registered* and competent fitter from working on any part of a gas system or the appliances supplied by it.  This prevents staff within the University from working on any mains gas system, any tank-supplied system or any LPG fed portable heaters unless they hold an appropriate personal registration.  Only a few professional staff within Estates & Buildings (E&B) are likely to be qualified for such work.

(*  "Registered" in this context means registered on the HSE approved "Gas Safe Register" scheme.)

The regulations require that gas systems and appliances be installed and maintained in a safe condition.  In practice, this means that a periodic (typically annual) safety check by a registered person must be arranged for all gas appliances, storage vessels and distribution pipework. Generally E&B arrange this for fixed heating systems.  However, each management unit should ensure that any non-E&B equipment they are responsible for receives appropriate maintenance checks.  In particular, Residential Services has a large number of heating boilers that require such a check.

Note that the supply of fuel gas from a cylinder for purposes other than powering a mobile heater (e.g. laboratory uses) is excluded from scope of these regulations.  This exclusion would allow basic work to be carried out on by competent staff on laboratory gas systems and on equipment such as oxy-fuel welding sets.  There are other specialist exemptions for use of LPG as an automotive fuel and for agricultural uses.

The HSE page on gas safety is here: http://www.hse.gov.uk/gas/