I hate to rake it up, but here's HSE's version of Competence

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Wrote to HSE for a defintion of gas competence. Here's the reply, which you may peruse at your leisure, argue about, or simply walk on by!:

Dear Mr Dextrous

Thank you for your enquiry regarding the definition of the term 'competent'.

There is no precise legal definition of the term 'competent' under health and safety legislation in general. However, in relation to its meaning under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (the Management Regulations), the following information may be useful.

Regulation 7 of the Management Regulations, which is concerned with health and safety assistance, requires every employer to "appoint one or more competent persons" to assist them in complying with their health and safety responsibilities. While the regulation don't specify any particular qualifications that have to be gained in order to be considered a competent person, it does say that "A person shall be regarded as competent ... where he has sufficient training and experience or knowledge and other qualities to enable him properly to assist in undertaking the measures".

The accompanying guidance goes onto explain:

"Competence in the sense it is used in these Regulations does not necessarily depend on the possession of particular skills or qualifications. Simple situations may require only the following:

(a) an understanding of relevant current best practice;

(b) an awareness of the limitations of one's own experience and knowledge; and

(c) the willingness and ability to supplement existing experience and knowledge, when necessary by obtaining external help and advice.

More complicated situations will require the competent assistant to have a higher level of knowledge and experience. More complex or highly technical situations will call for specific applied knowledge and skills which can be offered by appropriately qualified specialists. Employers are advised to check the appropriate health and safety qualifications (some of which may be competence-based and/or industry specific), or membership of a professional body or similar organisation (at an appropriate level and in an appropriate part of health and safety) to satisfy themselves that the assistant they appoint has a sufficiently high level of competence."



Additionally, regulation 13 of the Management Regulations, which is concerned with capabilities and training, states:

"(1) Every employer shall, in entrusting tasks to his employees, take into account their capabilities as regards health and safety.

(2) Every employer shall ensure that his employees are provided with adequate health and safety training -

(a) on their being recruited into the employer's undertaking; and

(b) on their being exposed to new or increased risks because of -

(i) their being transferred or given a change of responsibilities within the employer's undertaking,

(ii) the introduction of new work equipment into or a change respecting work equipment already in use within the employer's undertaking,

(iii) the introduction of new technology into the employer's undertaking, or

(iv) the introduction of a new system of work into or a change respecting a system of work already in use within the employer's undertaking.

(3) The training referred to in paragraph (2) shall -

(a) be repeated periodically where appropriate;

(b) be adapted to take account of any new or changed risks to the health and safety of the employees concerned; and

(c) take place during working hours."

The accompanying Approved Code of Practice goes onto explain:

"When allocating work to employees, employers should ensure that the demands of the job do not exceed the employees' ability to carry out the work without risk to themselves or others. Employers should take account of the employees' capabilities and the level of their training, knowledge and experience. Managers should be aware of relevant legislation and should be competent to manage health and safety effectively. Employers should review their employees' capabilities to carry out their work, as necessary. If additional training, including refresher training, is needed, it should be provided.

Health and safety training should take place during working hours. If it is necessary to arrange training outside an employee's normal hours, this should be treated as an extension of time at work. Employees are not required to pay for their own training. Section 9 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 prohibits employers from charging employees for anything they have to do or are required to do in respect of carrying out specific requirements of the relevant statutory provisions. The requirement to provide health and safety training is such a provision."

The accompanying guidance also states:

"The risk assessment and subsequent reviews of the risk assessment will help determine the level of training and competence needed for each type of work. Competence is the ability to do the work required to the necessary standard. All employees, including senior management, should receive relevant training. This may need to include basic skills training, specific on-the-job training and training in health and safety or emergency procedures. There may be a need for further training eg about specific risks, required by other legislation. For those working towards National and Scottish Vocational Qualifications, the Employment National Training Organisation has designed stand-alone training units in health, safety and the environment. These vocational units are for people at work who are not health and safety professionals/specialists."

Reference: L21, Management of health and safety at work, ISBN 9780717624881, £8.00.



The following information regarding the competency required to carry out risk assessments under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations 2002 (as amended) may also be useful:

"Employers must ensure that whoever carries out the assessment and provides advice on the prevention and control of exposure is competent to do so in accordance with regulation 12(4). This does not necessarily mean that particular qualifications are required. However, whoever carries out the assessment should:

(a) have adequate knowledge, training and expertise in understanding hazard and risk;

(b) know how the work activity uses or produces substances hazardous to health;

(c) have the ability and the authority to collate all the necessary, relevant information; and

(d) have the knowledge, skills and experience to make the right decisions about the risks and the precautions that are needed.

The person who carries out the assessment does not always have to be fully familiar with the requirements of COSHH and this Approved Code of Practice. However, that person should have access to someone who has a firm grasp of those requirements. This pooling of knowledge would allow, for example, a supervisor's experience of a process to be combined with the technical and legal knowledge of a health and safety manager.

If more than one person contributes to the assessment, the employer should ensure that each person knows precisely what they are to do, and nominate one person to co-ordinate, compile and record the significant findings."

Reference: L5, Control of substances hazardous to health (Fifth edition), ISBN 9780717629817, £12.50.



However, in relation to gas installation work, there are more specific requirements set down by regulation 3 of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, which is concerned with qualification and supervision, and the legislation states:

"(1) No person shall carry out any work in relation to a gas fitting or gas storage vessel unless he is competent to do so.

(2) The employer of any person carrying out such work for that employer, every other employer and self-employed person who has control to any extent of such work and every employer and self-employed person who has required such work to be carried out at any place of work under his control shall ensure that paragraph (1) above is complied with in relation to such work.

(3) Without prejudice to the generality of paragraphs (1) and (2) above and subject to paragraph (4) below, no employer shall allow any of his employees to carry out any work in relation to a gas fitting or service pipework and no self-employed person shall carry out any such work, unless the employer or self-employed person, as the case may be, is a member of a class of persons approved for the time being by the health and safety executive for the purposes of this paragraph.

(4) The requirements of paragraph (3) above shall not apply in respect of -

(a) the replacement of a hose or regulator on a portable or mobile space heater; or

(b) the replacement of a hose connecting a re-fillable cylinder to installation pipework.

(5) An approval given pursuant to paragraph (3) above (and any withdrawal of such approval) shall be in writing and notice of it shall be given to such persons and in such manner as the health and safety executive considers appropriate.

(6) The employer of any person carrying out any work in relation to a gas fitting or gas storage vessel in the course of his employment shall ensure that such of the following provisions of these regulations as impose duties upon that person and are for the time being in force are complied with by that person.

(7) No person shall falsely pretend to be a member of a class of persons required to be approved under paragraph (3) above."

The accompanying guidance goes onto explain:

"All gas installation businesses, including self-employed gas installers, are (subject to the limited exceptions in regulation 3(4)) required to be in membership of a 'class of persons' approved by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), whether they carry out such work as their main or part activity. Gas fitters who are employed by a member of an approved 'class of persons', but who do separate work on their own behalf, need to be in membership of such class of persons, eg Gas Safe Register-ed, in their own right.

At the time of publication of this guidance, the only body with such approval is the Gas Safe Register (although other organisations may apply to HSE for consideration to act as a registration body if they so wish).

Anyone who does work on a gas fitting or gas storage vessel must be competent to do so, WHETHER OR NOT they are required to be a member of an approved class of persons. Therefore, do-it-yourself installers and those performing favours for friends and relatives all need to have the required competence. The level and range of competence should match the full extent of work done, but needs only to be sufficient for and relevant to that work. Employers of gas fitting operatives are also required under regulation 3(2) to ensure that their employees have the required competence for the work undertaken; in addition to ensuring they are properly experienced and trained (see paragraph 47), this involves ongoing monitoring of performance standards, as necessary.

The duty to ensure gas installers are competent extends to other employers and self-employed persons with control over the work concerned, eg certain contractors, and those requiring work to be done in a workplace under their control. Where there is more than one dutyholder in a particular situation, close liaison is essential to ensure requirements are met, eg through proper check procedures. Information on the scope of work a Gas Safe Register gas installer is competent to perform may be obtained from the installer certificate of competence (issued under the certification scheme referred to in paragraph 47) or where, under transitional registration arrangements, no certificate has yet been issued, from Gas Safe Register - see also regulation 4 concerning duty to check for membership of an HSE approved class of persons.

Competence depends on a combination of training and experience. The HSE ACOP STANDARDS OF TRAINING IN SAFE GAS INSTALLATION provides guidance both on the scope of training and the need for proper assessment/re-assessment of gas fitting operatives (see Appendix 4). Although failure to observe any provision of the Code is not in itself an offence, that failure may be taken by a Court in criminal proceedings as proof that a person has contravened a particular regulation. The ACOP extends to gas installation work at premises excluded from these Regulations but subject to the HSW Act sections 2 and 3 - see paragraph 42 and Appendix 3. The nationally accredited certification scheme introduced in January 1998 requires individual gas fitting operatives to have their competence assessed at five-yearly intervals by a certification body accredited by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS).

Regulation 3 extends to work on portable or mobile space heaters, eg LPG cabinet heaters (where done at premises subject to the Regulations), see paragraph 11. As gas storage vessels are not 'gas fittings' within the meaning of these Regulations, the changing of cylinders, filling of storage tanks or fixing in position of such tanks does not require membership of an HSE approved class of persons, eg Gas Safe Register. However, people involved in these activities, or any of those covered by the exceptions in regulation 3 (4) (a)-(b) (concerning certain 'like for like' hose/regulator replacement activities, such as where used/worn items are replaced) need to have the required competence and ensure that they follow instructions, eg given by the gas supplier/appliance manufacturer, as appropriate. Where other work is involved, eg installing or replacing an LPG tank requiring work on service pipework or other gas fitting(s), it should be carried out only by someone who is in membership of an HSE approved class of persons, eg a Gas Safe Register installer, with the required competence (see also regulation 2(6)(c) regarding exceptions for certain work on gas appliance control devices primarily intended for use by the consumer).

Reference: L56, Safety in the installation and use of gas systems and appliances, ISBN 9780717616355,
 
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Competence in the sense it is used in these Regulations does not necessarily depend on the possession of particular skills or qualifications.

Shmokin`!! Hang on too yer Wingnuts... it`s time for an overhaul!


Somebody stop me........
 
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Dear Mr Dextrous

Something wrong there.

There is no Mr Dextrous listed on the electoral register ( or telephone listings either )

I'm in exile! Obviously changed the name for publication on here, which I assume you are well aware of, unless you're running a police CRB check on me. ;) The remainder of the reply is a direct copy and paste quote.
 
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In a nutshell:
No employer is allowed to have work carried out by someone who doesn't know what he is doing.
If you work on gas, you must be competent.
If you work on gas for gain, you, or the company you work for, must be gsr registered.

They have quoted you about 3 pages of legalese, which the average reader will not be able to interpret to a degree that would win him a case in court.

The point being?
 
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In a nutshell:
No employer is allowed to have work carried out by someone who doesn't know what he is doing.
If you work on gas, you must be competent.
If you work on gas for gain, you, or the company you work for, must be gsr registered.

They have quoted you about 3 pages of legalese, which the average reader will not be able to interpret to a degree that would win him a case in court.

The point being?
Don't know anymore. Have lost the will to live :confused: :rolleyes: ;)
 
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IN reality can anyone be arsed reading it alll..... TALK ABOUT BORING
 
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Mr. Exile _ I know where you are. In Cognito, Just firing up Google Earth now.
 
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So that means I can fir my own boiler and if it doesn't blow up, then I can guess I'm competent.


Good...
 
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I started reading it when it was first posted, only just finished it :eek:
 
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You won't get any definite clarification because the lawyers would have nothing to run up their bills in court; the civil service bureacrats would have to do an honest days work; the lawmakwers would have to admit responsibility.
Remember, them as can do DO, them as can't do teach it or discuss why others shouldn't.
 
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Wrote to HSE for a defintion of gas competence. ,

That's the sort of thing I do! I like you, perhaps we should get together to read BS and TBs late into the night!

Seriously, though.
The internet is saturated with people writing about their DIY gas work (ok they are often americans - so I investigated more and found out DIY gas work is mostly illegal there too).

Forums and comments board are full of people saying DIY gas at home is OK that it is not against the law. I really think they are ignorant, wrong and dangerous people.

Unfortunately, the HSE don't prosecute DIYers until they injure people or endanger lives - so in reality there is no penalty or deterrent to stop incompetent people doing illegal gas work.

bengasman's summary is right.

And I think that means anyone doing DIY might not be GSR but should be competent such that they have done the same training as anyone who is GSR (eg someone who is retired and didn't renew GSR but could have done.
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