The Gas Industry, in common with many others, regards safety as the number one priority. Gas Safe Register registers everyone working in scope (as defined by the GSI&U Regulations) who have demonstrated that they are and remain competent in matters of gas safety. Re-assessment of an individual engineer’s competence is required every five years, and is always currently delivered through the ACS route. There is now an alternative option for registered businesses to consider. The GCS will enable them to satisfy the re-assessment requirements using their own internal quality assurance processes instead of ACS.
GCS has been developed by EU Skills following a successful model used for First Call Operatives who respond to reported gas escapes. Dialogue with UKAS, HSE and many industry employers has led to this approach being expanded and extended for wider implementation. It will offer a radically different way for employers to demonstrate safety competence of its registered engineers as it moves from a purely individual competence assessment to a more holistic corporate competency approach.
How will the scheme work?
GCS shares two essential elements with ACS, to ensure that businesses using the schemes both meet the same standards of competence. Both schemes require assessment against identical competence criteria, and both operate under a UKAS mechanism to ensure that the schemes are operated in a robust manner. The principle difference between the two schemes is that, while ACS is an individual centred scheme delivered externally, GCS is a company based scheme delivered internally, with external inspection.
The scheme requires a Gas Safe Registered business to prepare, implement and maintain an internal GCS system that meets the scheme requirements and specification. The business will be audited annually by a UKAS Accredited Certification Body (ACB) and this audit will confirm that the systems and processes operated by the business satisfies the GCS requirements. The ACB will deliver an audit report to the business and, providing that the GCS requirements have been satisfied, all employees having been assessed as competent and within scope of the businesses’ GCS may be re-registered on expiry of their five year registration.
The Network will enable interested SME businesses to collaborate on building the systems and processes needed to operate the GCS. Each business would need to be audited individually, but there could be significant value in sharing expertise to establish the framework that all could use.