Keeping Gas Safety high on the Agenda

Article from AGSM Corporate Member Keepmoat Ltd:-

keepmoat-LogoKeepmoat Limited is a national market leader in sustainable community regeneration, housing, and planned and responsive repairs to the UK housing industry. The £1bn business has a strong track record in social housing solutions and specialises in creating great communities, not just buildings, and places to live, work and play.

Keepmoat is a Corporate Member of the Association of Gas Safety Managers (AGSM) and has been visionary in its continuous drive towards gas safety management, by putting gas safety at the top of its agenda. We recognise the real risk unsafe gas work poses and the company has undertaken a number of initiatives to raise the awareness of gas safety across the company, and amongst clients and residents.

An effective quality management system

In 2013, we introduced a quality management system to ensure good gas safety management practices were adopted, which is crucial when carrying out new build and refurbishment projects.

The system contains a number of gas procedures which identify the potential impact of property refurbishment work where gas appliances, pipework, flue systems or ventilation openings are present, prior to commencing the work. It documents any activity that could affect the continued safe operation of a gas installation.

The benefits of the new system being introduced was that it ensured consistency for Keepmoat across the country, rather than relying purely on local site management experience to manage gas safety, which can result in differing levels of experience and knowledge. It was introduced across the company through a series of briefings and tool box talks and now forms part of any new project mobilisation programme that we are involved in.

The quality management system has also enabled site management and operatives to fully understand the potential impact their work may have on existing gas installations and to avoid gas incidents, as well as preventing the need for expensive works rectification programmes. The system is an effective way of managing and recording ‘safe system’ of working.

Introduction of the Domestic Gas Safety Awareness Programme

In 2014, two further initiatives were rolled out across the company. The Domestic Gas Safety Awareness Programme was introduced to employees, contractors, clients and residents. This provides an awareness of the risks of unsafe gas work or non-gas work being carried out in close proximity of working gas installations, appliances, ventilation openings and flue systems.

An awareness programme was previously in place but was in need of modernisation to include education of ‘safe system of work’ methods, especially when working in close proximity to gas installations.

The new programme was developed with the support of CORGI Technical Services, and is interactive with the audience by means of a ‘knowledge’ quiz, which allows attendees to review their level of understanding, in an engaging way.

The programme has already proved popular with attendees. Knowledge learnt can be applied, not only in the workplace, but within their own homes, and this is supported by a handbook that attendees keep for on-going reference and reinforcement.

The programme has been successfully implemented and has improved the way the company responds to managing or addressing gas safety issues.

A bespoke Gas Safety Record

A Keepmoat Limited branded version of The Gas Safety Record has also been introduced which enables us to provide clients with a complete safety ‘health check’ of a property. This not only records relevant legislation information, but also contains ‘best practice’ information surrounding the presence of electric immersion heater cut-out system, smoke and CO detector equipment, on one form, for example.

This has replaced the standard Gas Safety Records which were previously purchased through suppliers such as CORGI Direct and The Gas Safe Shop.

Whilst containing relevant information as required by the Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations, gas safety records purchased through suppliers tended to cause confusion with clients as a result of their differing layout/format.

The company branded Gas Safety Records allow us to record relevant information as required by the Gas Regulations, but also include some ‘best practice’ positive recording of non-gas safety systems within the property. These bespoke records have proved positive with clients, as they provide information in a consistent format, which helps with any client internal documentation inspection programme.

A continuous journey

David Sheridan, chief executive for Keepmoat, said “Keepmoat is committed to supporting gas safety and these initiatives are an example of our continuous journey and ongoing improvement. It is crucial for us to ensure that employees, contractors, client, residents and the communities within which we work, are kept safe at all times.”