“I-GAS” A qualification for maintenance and gas fitters working in industry to demonstrate competence.

There are many activities routinely occurring in industrial premises that might require breaking into a gasway for maintenance or repairs. Currently, available training and certification for gas fitters and engineers working on domestic and commercial appliances is often not appropriate for the types of gas equipment commonly found in industry, increasingly including premises where electricity is generated using gas.

These images are only one example of an industrial gas installation

  • Do you or any of your team work on industrial gas systems? Have you been formally trained, and can you prove competence?
  • Do you or your team organise or carry out any maintenance or installation work on industrial gas systems?
  • Do you employ contractors to do this work?
  • Do you check contractor’s qualifications and competency?

Large numbers of maintenance technicians, gas operatives and contractors working in factories may have no formal training in the safe use of gas in industry.  Gas is widely used in bakeries and other food processes, breweries, laundries, metals processing, energy centres, chemical works, pharmaceutical, brick works and lots of other manufacturing across a wide range of industrial users and sites.  Most people know of Gas Safe qualifications, and that it is a legal requirement in domestic situations to have the appropriate Gas Safe accreditation for the appliance being worked on.  However, these qualifications are not required in factories and the associated training will not be relevant for the types of equipment and sizes of plant involved, the only requirement is to be able to prove competence.

However, many Engineers and Managers in industry believe that they do not have to comply with any gas training for their staff, or that GAS Safe is required because they are a factory, both perceptions are wrong. The next sentence is taken directly from the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations and it clearly states that people working on gas MUST be suitably trained and assessed.

Guidance to Regulation 3 of the ‘Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998’ (GSIUR) says:

“Gas work for those working at premises that fall outside the scope of the Regulations should only be undertaken by a person who has successfully completed an appropriate full training course followed by assessment of competence”.

The CEA’s Industrial Gas Operations Accreditation Scheme (I-GAS) qualification has been created to fill this gap, in collaboration with industrial gas training providers, manufacturers of combustion equipment, and employers.  It is the only formal training and accreditation scheme currently available that is specifically designed for maintenance staff and technicians working with gas in industrial premises.

Candidates for I-GAS qualifications are expected to already be working as mechanical fitters or installers, maintenance technicians or in other associated industrial activities where they are working around gas fired systems and equipment.  They may already have domestic gas qualifications and need to enhance these with an industrial gas qualification, or they may have no formal gas training at all.

Whilst everything is completed correctly by suitably qualified and experienced personnel, then all is well – but: Below – the devastation caused by an untrained operative adjusting the gas valve to the boiler.

The first boiler exploded in 2013 – Its sister boiler exploded in 2014, all because the operator and the company had not learnt its lesson from the first explosion.

2013 (NB. The sister boiler in the background) 2014 (both boilers now lay in ruins)

No Formal training and no company procedures were in place either before or after the first explosion.

In order to prepare candidates for I-GAS accreditation a number of independent and competing organisations offer suitable training courses approved by the CEA for Levels 1, 2, and 3.  These courses are intended to supplement and confirm existing knowledge and prepare suitable candidates for the various levels of qualification afforded by I-GAS.  All courses are a mix of practical training and assessments including written examinations assessed by independent gas Assessors.

I-GAS Accreditation itself is not a legal requirement, however, it is a test of a person’s competence in relation to their current knowledge and experience at the time their assessment is completed.  It is only one possible component that may help an organisation to demonstrate their corporate responsibility to provide suitable training for employees under the Health and Safety at Work Act.

I-GAS is not a substitute for Gas Safe qualifications which are still needed for work on gas installations in a wide variety of domestic and commercial premises and other publicly accessible locations such as schools and hospitals where people stay overnight.

The CEA is the independent Certification Body responsible for the scope, syllabus and administration of the scheme, and the selection and appointment of Training Providers and Assessors.

There are five levels that can be achieved under the I-GAS accreditation scheme and suitably skilled entrants can join at the appropriate level in line with their knowledge and skills, (these level do not have to be taken sequentially as there are exemptions), these are:

 

  • Level 1 – Entry portfolio – Available

New entrants, possibly with limited gas experience.

Off line course and home study to familiarise candidates with gas industry standards, legislation and procedures.  It does not accredit or allow staff to work on gas systems.

  • Level 2 – Industrial Gas Maintenance – Available

Safe procedures for gas work, breaking into gas ways, repairing or replacing gas line components ‘like-for-like’, strength testing, tightness testing, purging & relighting end of line equipment.  Knowledgeable to supervise gas contractors.

  • Level 3 – Industrial Gas Technician – Available

Work on gas pipework; understand combustion principles and combustion equipment.  Combustion analysis and emissions.  Setting regulators.

  • Level 4 – Industrial Gas Engineer – Currently under development

Pipework design, strength testing, Pipeline replacement and modifications to installations (incl. “component change” procedures), and gas system commissioning.

  • Level 5 – Industrial Gas Designer – Currently under development

New installation design and certification. DSEAR and risk assessments. Gas installation projects.

 

Level 1 Home study materials available through CEA Tel 01740 625538

Level 2 & Level 3 are currently available at the following CEA approved Training Centres:-

  • Blue Flame Associates – Newcastle Under Lyme Tel 01782 576810
  • Kiwa – Stoke Orchard, Cheltenham Tel 01242 662121
  • SGAS – Whitehills Business Park, Blackpool Tel 01253 697078
  • SAACKE Combustion Services – Havant, Hampshire Tel 02392 333900
  • Cochran Boilers – Annan, Dumfries & Galloway Tel 01461 306000 or 07736 799833
  • Other CEA approved training providers to follow shortly.

For further information contact:

David Kilpatrick – Director:  The Combustion Engineering Association, NET Park, Thomas Wright Way, Sedgefield, Co. Durham, TS21 3FD Tel: 01740 625538 – Fax: 01740 625251 – Mobile: 07866 764716 – Email: info@cea.org.uk

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