When you’re a fully qualified heating engineer you’ll be expected to tend to boilers in all sorts of unusual locations.
Whilst these challenges keep the job interesting, working in certain environments, such as tight loft spaces, can be dangerous unless correct procedures are in place. That’s why Steve Owen, Baxi’s national training manager, has put together his top tips to help you stay safe.
As a heating engineer, customers depend on you to keep their homes warm, dry and safe. But you shouldn’t put yourself in danger in the process. Some 75% of tradespeople have suffered work-related injuries at some point, and we want to stop that happening. So, here are some things to remember when you’re on site:
- Risk assessments
You should only begin work once you have assessed the environment and are certain it’s safe. Risks could be anything from an angry dog in a customer’s home to clutter making it difficult to get to the boiler.
Many customers still have a feed and expansion in their loft. This area can be especially dangerous, particularly if floorboards are unstable. It’s important to prepare for every eventuality when installing boilers in lofts, such as: loose boarding, electrical isolation circuits, adequate lighting and unprotected loft hatches, which present significant risks if safety measures are not implemented.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Gas Safe Register both now focus on promoting electrical, as well as gas, safety to gas engineers. There’s a clear need for installers to know about electrical safety due to the electric-dependent products they work with. You should always carry out checks on an appliance before starting work, such as safe isolation and proving dead, and staying safe means being aware of the hazards.
- Correct equipment
Government legislation and Health and Safety Executive (HSE) guidelines state that installers must be careful when working with ladders. According to regulations, you are not allowed to work off the top three rungs of a ladder, and must keep two feet and one hand in contact with the ladder at all times.
Although there aren’t regulations in place for every possible danger, we’ve come a long way, and the industry continues to improve when it comes to safety standards. At Baxi, we issue all of our engineers with specialised ‘bump caps’, which they can wear when their risk assessment deems it necessary – for instance, when working in lofts or other tight spaces where they may hit their heads.
In the grand scheme of things, training is vital to ensure that correct procedures are followed, as it ensures you keep health and safety at front of mind and are up-to-date with the constantly-changing world of government legislation.
Through Baxi’s training courses, we cover all aspects of health and safety via a practical, hands-on approach. Ultimately our goal is to help educate installers of all levels on how best to stay safe on the job, even if it means going back to the basics.
For more information on Baxi training, please visit http://www.baxi.co.uk/trade-area/training.htm.