General Heating News
In his inaugural speech as the president of the Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors (APHC), Mark Antrobus, outlined his key priorities for improving the quality of new entrants and changes in how the gas registration body operates.
In his speech, Mark explained how the closure of SummitSkills had led to APHC, BPEC and SNPEF to set-up a new body, The Plumbing and Domestic Heating Skills Partnership, to oversee the development of plumbing and heating qualifications and apprenticeships.
However, Mark voiced his long-term concerns over the financing of training and apprenticeships. He said: “A strong message needs to go to the government because as an industry that is made up of largely micro businesses, we cannot be expected to fund all the necessary apprenticeship and qualification design, development and quality assurance work. We need some level of government support to fund this vital work.”
Mark also outlined how he believed the industry needs to put an end to full-time college based training, how the demand for training needs to be led by the number of placements available from employers, and how the government needs to properly incentivise employers to train apprentices.
Mark went on to voice his concerns over how the industry’s gas registration body operates. “There is a need for greater enforcement action in penalising those responsible for dangerous gas work and further legislation banning these individuals from re-registering.
“I also believe that further work is necessary around the way in which those aspiring to develop a gas installation and maintenance career can prove competence. Time and time again we see the outcomes in the form of dangerous gas work resulting from the various fast track training solutions. ACS was not meant as a vehicle for training new entrants, its purpose is for use with experienced operatives.”
Mark concluded his speech by saying that if these points are not addressed then he believes gas registrants are likely to react in much the same way as they did when the CGSC Scheme was launched.
Mark made his speech at APHC’s president’s dinner which was held at the Priest House Hotel in Donington on June 17.
Source – HPM Magazine
In support of Gas Safety Week (19-25 September 2016), local Gas Safe registered engineers from Millside in Holmfirth are helping to raise awareness of gas safety issues and urge local residents to support the most vulnerable in society in order to keep them safe.
Gas Safety Week aims to encourage people from the Huddersfield area to reach out to friends and family, be they elderly parents or a disabled neighbour, to ensure they get their gas appliances – along with their own – safety checked at least once a year. Poorly maintained gas appliances can cause gas leaks, fires, explosions and carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. In the last year, at least 55,200 homes in the UK escaped deadly gas incidents such as these, thanks to engineers switching off dangerous appliances1.
By law, only Gas Safe registered engineers can work on gas appliances. There have been 22 deaths and nearly 1,000 gas-related injuries in the last three years3. An estimated quarter of a million illegal gas jobs are carried out every year by unregistered workers, who do not have the skills or the qualifications to do the job safely. It’s therefore vital you make sure your engineer is registered with the official gas authority, Gas Safe Register.
Mark, who owns Millside Heating Services Ltd said: “We regularly go to people’s homes and find unsafe gas appliances, which either haven’t been serviced in years or have been worked on by illegal fitters. In most cases residents are unaware of the danger they and their family are in. For this reason, we’re pledging our support for Gas Safety Week and doing our bit to raise awareness of gas safety issues among the public in Huddersfield, to let residents know what steps they can take to keep themselves safe.”
Jonathan Samuel, managing director for Gas Safe Register, said: “We know from our own investigations that around one in six gas appliances in the UK are unsafe4, meaning far too many people are victims of preventable gas related incidents. It’s great to have the support of [insert name of organisation] this Gas Safety Week. By working together we can raise further awareness of gas safety, to help reduce the number of dangerous gas appliances that could be lurking in people’s homes.”
Reach out to those who need help keeping gas safe at home by following these top tips:
- Help them to sign up to a free annual gas safety check reminder service at staygassafe.co.uk. You could even sign up on their behalf, so the reminder is sent to you each year
- Make them aware of the signs that an unsafe gas appliance could cause:
- A lazy yellow flame instead of a crisp blue flame; soot or staining on or around the appliance; excess condensation in the room
- Carbon monoxide (CO) has no smell, taste or colour. The symptoms of CO poisoning include headaches, dizziness, nausea, breathlessness, collapse and loss of consciousness, which can easily be mistaken for something else
- Make sure they know to ‘Trust the Triangle’ by asking to see their engineer’s Gas Safe ID card and checking it to make sure the engineer is covered to check or fit the appliance in question.
If you smell gas or think there might be a gas leak, call the free 24 hour national gas emergency number immediately on 0800 111 999.
For more information and to find a local engineer in your area visit www.GasSafeRegister.co.uk or call 0800 408 5500.
The Bansang Hospital Appeal Story (Anita Smith MBE/Northampton University)
Millside are proud and happy to support development works at the Bansang Hospital Appeal in the Gambia, our chosen charity.
The Bansang Hospital Appeal is an award winning charity dedicated to improving healthcare delivery in a remote region of The Gambia. Since 1992, its founder (Anita Smith, MBE MRG) has dedicated her life to reversing its once terminal decline.
Thanks to Anita’s efforts and public support, Bansang Hospital today is vibrant, cohesive and incredibly effective. It has near 100% staff retention – an unparalleled accomplishment in Sub-Saharan Africa, and an unthinkable one when considering the horrors that Anita first viewed in 1992. The BHA’s intervention has ensured that thousands of communities across the entire region have been saved from the destructive trauma of losing loved ones to preventable causes. Public support means 600,000 of the most vulnerable and caring people are now able to plan their futures with ever greater certainty.
Anita and the staff of Bansang Hospital want to continue building a brighter and more assured future for all those that depend on this incredibly important healthcare resource. Their development model, which focuses wholly on retaining and motivating staff, has already given unprecedented successes & garnered numerous awards (including an MBE from Her Majesty The Queen given to Anita in 2008 for services to healthcare).
With everyone’s support, Anita and the hospital’s staff can build on the solid foundations that have been laid down since 1992. With continued dedication, focus and funding, Bansang Hospital can become that most elusive thing; an affordable healthcare resource capable of delivering sustainable and effective healthcare to the chronically poor. This realistic and achievable aspiration will also serve as a blueprint for other African countries that are suffering so terribly with the social destruction that comes from having ineffective health facilities.
So if you believe every mother and child has the right to life, regardless of economic status or geographic location, please join the campaign.
You can find out more about the Bansang Hospital Appeal Here.
March 11, Every year, everywhere!
The World Plumbing Council’s Mission statement says it all – “To promote the role of plumbing in improving public health and safeguarding the environment, by uniting the World Plumbing Industry for the benefit of All.
It is now widely recognised that plumbing has made a significant contribution to the well being of human society, and has done for many generations, providing fresh water, effective sanitation and yes, at the same time safeguarding the environment.
There is no doubt that the widespread establishment of sanitation systems and indoor plumbing was the most significant development over the past 150 years or so, as a result the average lifespan of mankind across many regions of the World virtually doubled. Deadly diseases such as typhoid and cholera rapidly declined as a healthier, more comfortable living environment was created.
However, if we as a human society needed to be reminded of the link between plumbing and public health we only need to consider the so-called SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) epidemic in 2003. At the time, the World Health Organisation (WHO) concluded that inadequate plumbing may have contributed to the spread of SARS.
Perhaps an even a more dramatic and tragic reminder of this link between plumbing and health is to be seen in those parts of the world that do not yet have ready access to fresh water and sanitation and the millions who continue to die each year, particularly children, from diarrheal diseases, cholera and typhoid.
The World Plumbing Council invites every body either directly involved or just associated with the industry to join in World Plumbing Day activities, and spread the word in their local communities and through their industry organizations.
There are lots of activities that individuals and member organizations can do on World Plumbing Day, such as:
· Presentations at schools on water and plumbing, to assist a power point demonstration can be downloaded at www.worldplumbingday.org.
· Organise your local school to participate in the International Poster Competition with a US$1000 prize to be awarded for the best poster from a primary/elementary school, Cub Scout Group or other community organizations with a focus on children in grades 1- 5 or aged under 10 years.
· Participate in the twitter challenge @WPlumbingDay
· Industry days. trade shows, breakfasts and BBQs
· Letters to the editor of local papers, articles in trade magazines and industry journals.
· Motions of support in state & national Parliaments.
For further ideas go to www.worldplumbingday.org
Source: World Plumbing Day newsletter
A gas fitter has been sentenced to community payback after his incompetent installation of a new boiler system at a cottage near Montrose put the tenant’s lives in danger.
David Stott’s substandard work on the boiler in the rented cottage exposed a visiting family and the tenant’s family to potentially lethal carbon monoxide.
Forfar Sheriff Court heard as a result of the accused’s failings, the tenant was poisoned by carbon monoxide, endangering his life and leaving him with long term sleeping problems.
David Stott from Montrose went to Leys of Dun Cottage, a stone built farm cottage, situated between Brechin and Montrose, on 28 October 2013 to install a new boiler which was already at the property. It was decided the new boiler would be situated in the kitchen, where a previous boiler had once been located, with a flue exit for a boiler chimney to pass through.
When the work was finished, Stott provided paperwork and a demonstration of how the boiler worked to the owner of the cottage and the wife of the tenant, who had lived there for eight years previous.
The following week, the tenant was waking up with a severe headache and at one point collapsed when going to the toilet during the night. His wife also suffered headaches, dizziness, nausea and regular vomiting. Their pregnant daughter and her 20 month old son attended the property during that week, had also felt unwell.
On the evening of 1 November, the tenant was shaking and was unable to walk or stand by himself, which he believed to be related to painkillers for a work accident he had suffered.
However, on Tuesday 5 November after returning home the tenant’s wife found the couple’s two dogs had vomited in the house, with one lying on the floor, apparently fitting and unable to stand. The tenant was found unresponsive in his bed, foaming at the mouth, with his eyes rolling in his head and his arms contorted.
The tenant’s wide mentioned the boiler to the attending ambulance crew and when they reached hospital his blood was tested for carbon monoxide. His carbon monoxide level was found to be 33.6 percent. Ordinarily, this would be expected to be zero. Anything over 15 percent is considered serious poisoning.
A gas engineer who came out to look at the boiler noted the flue chimney had been four inches out of line with the boiler outlet and reported the matter to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
The subsequent investigation showed various failings including the new boiler not been installed correctly in terms of the positioning, the connection of the flue chimney, and the necessary adjustments to take account of an LPG source at the cottage.
The way the boiler was fitted provided insufficient space to secure the flue chimney to the top of the boiler, causing excessively high levels of carbon monoxide to be emitted into the kitchen area and the void where it could escape into other parts of the cottage.
The court heard the tenants have since moved from the cottage into a flat due to psychological and sleeping problems. One of the couple’s dogs had to be put to sleep after the exposure.
HSE inspector Niall Miller said after the hearing: “The extent of Stott’s failure was significant.
“The levels of carbon monoxide were far in excess of permissible levels, and given the total failure to connect the flue chimney, this was able to escape into the property.
“The male tenant in this property could easily have died and other people in the cottage were exposed over a number of days, including a pregnant woman and 20 month old baby.”
David Stott of Waterside Road, Montrose pleaded guilty to breaching Sections 3(2) and 33(1)(a) to the Health and Safety at Work Etc Act 1974 and was sentenced to 200 hours community payback to be completed within one year.
Millside is supporting Quality Plumber Week (28 September – 4 October) to celebrate the skilled work plumbing and heating engineer’s carry out everyday.
Organised by Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors (APHC), the second Quality Plumber Week aims to recognise the diversity and range of skills plumbers have, which is often overlooked until an emergency leak or broken boiler requires attention. The week works to raise consumer awareness of using properly qualified, trained and accredited plumbers in a bid to reduce the number of rogue traders operating in the trade.
Plumbing and heating engineers work across a wide-range of specialisms from traditional pipework, boiler installations and seemingly simple plumbing work to increasingly popular new green technologies such as biomass boilers and ground source heat pumps. Yet whatever the job, quality plumbers have extensive training and experience behind them to ensure the latest regulations and safety measures are met. These legislations are constantly under review, with professional plumbing firms working hard to keep up-to-date to comply with these in order to protect their customers.
John Thompson, Chief Executive, APHC added: “We had a great response to the inaugural Quality Plumber Week last year, and the industry really got behind showcasing the ambassadors of the plumbing trade. Our ambition is to increase awareness of the campaign each year.
“There are thousands of excellent plumbers working throughout England and Wales; who provide exceptional service and advice to homes and business. Unfortunately for them rogue traders seem to grab the headlines, which tarnishes the entire industry. On behalf of not only our members, but also every hardworking plumber we want to recognise the skills and work they do.”
Finding a reputable plumber can be challenging and without a personal recommendation homeowners are putting a good deal of trust in their chosen tradesperson. By using a member of a trade association, consumers have the security that members have been vetted for relevant qualifications, experience, insurances and high standards of workmanship. Associations also operate complaints procedures should any disputes arise during or following a job.
Boiled water in Lancashire is “perfectly safe” to drink, health officials say, after the discovery of a microbial parasite in the mains supply.
Investigations are continuing into how traces of cryptosporidium, which can cause stomach upsets, got into Franklaw water treatment works outside Preston.
Public Health England said there was “no reason” to use bottled water though supermarkets have increased stock.
More than 300,000 households have been told to boil drinking water.
United Utilities, which found traces of the parasite on Friday during routine tests, said it had done “everything possible” to warn residents, although some people have said they were not alerted quickly enough.
Chief scientific officer Martin Padley said: “The plant that’s affected delivers 140 million litres of water a day and it’ll take some time for all that water to flush through the system.”
Traces of the parasite, which can cause gastrointestinal complaints, were reducing, said a spokesman.
The alert, which is in place at least until early next week, affects Blackpool, Chorley, Fylde, Preston, South Ribble, Wyre and the Mellor area of Blackburn.
Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said it had issued immediate guidance on the health risk posed by contaminated tap water and had sourced 50,000 litres of bottled water for patients and staff.
Kate Brierley, deputy director for Public Health England in Cumbria and Lancashire, told the BBC people could continue to drink boiled water in the affected areas, saying: “So long as the water’s been boiled and cooled then that is perfectly fine for consumption.”
She said there had been no reports of people falling ill so far, adding: “There is no specific treatment for cryptosporidiosis. In most cases the symptoms of abdominal pain and diarrhoea settle in a few days.
“However, in a few cases cryptosporidiosis can be unpleasant with diarrhoea lasting for several weeks. It is important to drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.”
Source: BBC Lancashire
Water advice includes
- Use tap water for general domestic purposes such as bathing, flushing toilets or washing clothes
- All water for drinking, food preparation and brushing teeth should be boiled as a precaution
- It is safe to eat food after washing your hands
- Using boiled water for washing dishes is the best practice
- Dishwashers are safe as long the setting is at 65 degrees or above
Source: United Utilities
EVERYBODY needs good neighbours – but practical qualifications trump degrees as the pathway into the most highly rated skills in the community, as new research reveals Brits would rather live next door to a plumber than a doctor.
Other practically skilled neighbours such as electricians, builders, carpenters and mechanics – all ‘hands-on’ trades – appeared below plumbers in the top 10 list of the most valued neighbourhood occupations. Neighbours with jobs in law, psychology and politics came lower down the scale of perceived value, with actors coming bottom of the pile.
The report has been produced by education charity the Edge Foundation to mark VQ Day 2015, the annual celebration of vocational qualifications. Edge found that nearly half of the population have required practical help over the last 12 months with the majority (56%) likely to call upon a neighbour for assistance in a crisis.
Over the last 12 months, almost a third of Brits have suffered from plumbing problems, including blocked drains and radiator issues. A quarter of Brits (23%) are likely to call on their skilled neighbours in the event of their boiler or heating system breaking down, whilst one in five would ask for help with a blocked sink or drains.
In contrast, just 8 per cent of us would go turn to our neighbours for legal help or assistance with tax returns.
Most Valued Professions
10. IT technician
Least Valued Professions
9. Taxi Driver
David Harbourne, Acting CEO of the Edge Foundation, which leads VQ Day said: “Over a third of us cite ‘helpfulness’ as the most important quality in our neighbours with one in 10 highlighting practical skills specifically. Whilst ‘everybody needs good neighbours’ still rings true, our research shows that in 2015 it is the technical, practical and vocational skills that really add value to communities.”
When asked what skills, jobs or professions would be useful for neighbours to have in 20 years’ time, plumbers retained the top spot, followed by electricians. Doctors remained third in the list, with IT technicians jumping up into seventh place.
Dr Kingsley Purdam, Lecturer in Social Sciences at the University of Manchester, who collaborated with the Edge Foundation on the research and authored the accompanying report, added: “Throughout history there have always been changes in the types of skills that are valued by neighbours including help with childbirth when most women had their babies at home. As people’s lives have changed – from the types of houses they live in and how they access services to the ways they work and spend their time – so have their relationships with their neighbours. However one thing remains constant – an ongoing reliance on neighbours for friendship, support and practical skills.”
David Harbourne added: “New practical problems will no doubt arise in line with lifestyle trends – people are increasingly asking their neighbours for technical help with Wi-Fi and computer problems owing to the increased digitalisation of our daily lives – but the need for help with universal, everyday problems such as plumbing endures. These types of practical skills are futureproof.”
John Thompson, CEO of the Association of Plumbing & Heating Contractors, the employers’ trade association in England & Wales, commented, “ It is pleasing that over a 20 year period and from a very low base, plumbing is now seen as one of the most popular vocations, as well as being the most valued neighbourhood skill in the UK. This is in part because it is irreplaceable; the only way to fix a plumbing issue is to call in a plumber! As a skill, it cannot be digitalised, making this one of the most future-proof occupations. This research shows that universal skills such as plumbing will be in-demand long into the future.”
Sources: APHC News / Edge Foundation
A landlord was fined £16,000 costs of £1,500 at Plymouth Magistrates’ Court for failing to undertake his landlords’ gas safety duties.
Michael Jones of West Drive, Harrow Weald failed to ensure the gas boiler system at his property at Harbour Avenue in Plymouth was safely maintained, thereby putting tenants at risk.
Jones pleaded guilty guilty to breaching Regulation 36(2) and 36(3)(a) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. He was fine £8,000 for each breach.
Mark Grieves, who carried out the RIDDOR report, on the 18th April 2013, commented:
“The family told me there had been no gas safety check or appliance service carried out in the rented property for at least five years of occupancy. They suffered headaches and found themselves becoming unwell and suffering from tiredness.
Plymouth landlord 2 300×225 Landlord fined after putting tenants in danger“The daughter of the family, received warnings from her employer over her time-keeping because she was often late for work through sleeping in, suffering from headache conditions and tiredness.
“The gas meter and meter box were overgrown with ivy, which restricted access to the emergency control valve; the external grille on the purpose provided ventilation was brittle with age and the plastic crumbled when touched; the gas fire had two cracked radiants which were replaced following the service; the back boiler was layered with dust and pet hair, which had the potential to be flammable; the burner pressure on the back boiler was incorrect, and was adjusted following the appliance being serviced. Carbon monoxide was spilling into the room.
“The tenants were not aware that gas safety checks were a legal requirement, and must be carried out annually.”
Source: Installer Online.