There is currently no legislation that applies to the installation and use of gas detection equipment in the UK. At GFG our entire philosophy revolves around the safety and protection of the workforce, the business, and the public, that is why we put our heart and soul into creating the best gas detection equipment we can.
There are plenty of regulations that are relevant to the health and safety practices of a business; Fire regulations, COSHH regulations, DSEAR regulations to name but a few. Delve in to these and you will find recommendations as to why we should be assessing the risks associated with hazardous gases, but no legislation that ensures that gas detection equipment is used in all areas and at all times in spite of the fact a well designed and installed detection system can alert you to a gas hazard before someone becomes a workplace injury or fatality statistic.
If you have a good trawl around the HSE website you can find plenty of useful information about when, where and why gas detection equipment should be installed. We are not doubting that there are plenty of recommendations by Health and Safety officials that this equipment plays a vital role in saving lives, but without legislation, the rules and regs are open to interpretation, a point that was continuously made during the Grenfell Tower inquiry.
It is an employer’s responsibility to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of its workforce. For us, this means that in areas where there is a potential for gas hazards, gas detection equipment should be used. To gain some clarity on our point, take a look at the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. The general duties of employers to their employees very broadly state that the provision and maintenance of plant and systems of work that are, so far as is reasonably practicable, safe and without risks to health. What if this plant requires or involves the use of gases in its operational processes? Surely the only way to ensure that it is safe and without risk to health is to have the right gas detection equipment installed in the correct location? Many businesses and facilities would probably agree with this and the use of gas detection equipment would form part of their risk assessment, but if it is not legislation then an employer is not obliged to invest in such protection.
Presently the only area where gas detection is mandatory is in businesses that use equipment containing F Gas equivalent to more than 500 tonnes of CO2. Sadly this legislation is not about protecting the workforce, but about ozone depletion. Maybe our Government should be as focused on protecting the safety and well-being of the UK workforce and population in general from gas hazards as they are on protecting the environment.
Luckily gas-related injuries and fatalities are few and far between in UK industry today, largely due to the technology and reliability of gas detection equipment. We estimate that the majority of businesses understand the need for reliable gas detection equipment to prevent an accidental leak of gas from causing harm to their workforce, but this is primarily in businesses where gas hazards are part and parcel of the day to day activities of the business such as manufacturing plants, construction sites where workers occupy confined spaces, gas and oil industries and steel production. But, what about our schools, hospitals, shopping centres, theatres and all the other public buildings? Do you think when you drop your children off at school that a leaking boiler could be a potential danger? Probably not, but GFG look at the news every day and there is a regular occurrence of schools reported as closed due to gas leaks that are only detected by staff, rather than gas detection equipment. It doesn’t bear thinking about what could happen if these leaks were not detected at an early stage.
There is a need for legislation surrounding the installation of gas detection equipment in businesses, especially where gases are used as part of the day to day running of the business process, but just as importantly we need to ensure that all public buildings and facilities are protected too. Just because gas incidents are not commonplace does not mean that we should wait until disaster strikes, like with what happened at Grenfell, before action is taken.