CO poisoning and bbqs

Safecontractor says of itself  “…a leading health and safety pre-qualification assessment scheme, we are dedicated to promoting higher standards of competence and compliance through the provision of relevant industry specific and tailored health and safety assessments for all professions and sectors…”

In the recent subcontractor members newsletter they reminded us all of the dangers of asbestos.

Commercial catering engineers are a relatively small group among the plethora of contractors out there. Also, we are fortunate that much, possibly most, of our labours do not put us at risk of asbestos poisoning. However, it is a sad reminder that many contractors die from coming into contact with asbestos through their work on client sites.

It is a reasonable hope and expectation that if a client is aware of asbestos in their building they will inform the visiting contractors! That is the belief we work on anyway!


The Safecontractor website can be found at

Registered Gas Engineer June 2013Gas Safe Register has published figures (Registered Gas Engineer, June 2013) showing an increase in inspections / investigations compared to the previous registration body (Corgi). Note: The figures quoted are primarily based on the domestic market (rather than the commercial market).

A key point is that Gas Safe are reportedly checking the quality of work, nationally, in greater numbers – 25% more annual inspections is a significant increase.

They are investigating:

  • illegal gas fitters
  • consumer complaints

The main focus of the Gas Safe Register is on improving and maintaining gas safety to the highest standards. To that end Gas Safe appear to have ‘more teeth’ than CORGI, who they’ve replaced, or they are simply using them more actively / effectively.

The impact on the confidence in engineers of the general public and trade clients is very positive. Knowing that there is an effective body checking on the standards of Gas Engineers provides increased confidence and raises the profile of properly registered engineers.

Gas Safe set minimum standards and it is always possible to exceed their standards – by doing this and by more rigorous enforcement legitimate engineers are able to thrive and cowboys are driven out of business or further underground.

One question remains though – Where are the numbers for the cowboy engineers who have been put out of business, fined or even put into goal as a result of the activities of Gas Safe?

Ventilation / Extraction

Quoting from BS6173:2009 Section 11.2 Interlocking

“An interlock shall be provided which will cut off the gas supply or prevent the operation of appliances if the mechanical ventilation system provides an inadequate airflow rate for the safe operation of appliances and the safety of personnel.

If an installation pre-dating September 2001 does not have an interlock fitted, the installation shall be assessed to establish whether an unacceptable risk is likely to arise.”

Tower Commercial Catering come across such installations (pre Sept. 2001) periodically and undertake the required assessment. To date, only seven kitchens have been classed as unsafe i.e. the level of risk associated with the installation has been deemed unacceptable. In each case the absence of the interlock system hasn’t been the only problem – merely one more indicator of an unsafe kitchen environment.

For kitchens which have yet to assess their operational safety relating to ventilation issues or any other aspect of operation we recommend doing so as soon as practicable. Much better to be safe than sorry!