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Minister warned over gas safety in province

The Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE) has warned the Minister responsible for gas safety in Northern Ireland that lack of support for Gas Safe Register could endanger lives.

CIPHE’s operations director, Kevin Wellman, was part of a delegation with industry trade associations which recently held a meeting with the Northern Ireland Minister for the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment Arlene Foster.

The installer bodies object to Northern Ireland not following the decision in Britain to move from Corgi to Gas Safe Register as gas registration scheme from April 1. In Northern Ireland, Corgi will remain for at least one more year.

Mr Wellman told the Minister: “I pointed out that in the event of gas-related deaths, the Minister would have to explain why she had not supported the Gas Safe Register.

“CIPHE’s main concern is the safety and health of the public. Having two systems will cause confusion, and allow unscrupulous plumbers and heating engineers who lose their registration with one scheme to hide behind the other. 

“I asked what would happen if an installer on the mainland lost his Gas Safe registration due to incompetence, but was also registered with the Corgi Northern Ireland Scheme. It’s not a case of the two systems sharing information – there’s the Data Protection Act to consider.”

The Health and Safety Executive Northern Ireland has unveiled a consultation on the future of gas registration in Northern Ireland.

In it, the HSENI offers two options for the province’s 720 registered gas operatives from April 2010: adopting the UK’s Gas Safe Register, or devising a stand-alone scheme for Northern Ireland which could be managed by Corgi.

The Republic of Ireland has agreed its own independent scheme outside of both CORGI and the Gas Safe Register.