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When to Switch Off or Condemn a Commercial Boiler

February 10th, 2023

Last updated: June 9th, 2023

Safety is always paramount within the workplace. Protecting your customers, employees, and any visitors you might have is not only the right thing to do, but it is also a legal requirement. As a business owner or the manager of a commercial premises, it is very possible that you could land yourself in trouble if you do not take the right corrective action when something goes wrong.

When a commercial boiler has an error or needs repair, it is usually the safest thing to do to turn the boiler off and await attention from professionals. While this is far from convenient, safety has to come first.

In the case of gas boilers, IGEM’s “Gas industry unsafe situations procedure” can make life easier when it comes to knowing what is safe and what needs to be done in situations that could pose a risk.

Installation and Use Regulations

It is worth mentioning that all commercial gas boilers must be commissioned and installed to a high standard, and a safe standard. The GS(I&U) regulations mean that anyone working on the boiler (for instance, servicing it) must inform the responsible person if they see any potentially unsafe or dangerous issues with the boiler. For instance, any risk of a leak.

The duty only extends within the competence of the person carrying out the work and what is reasonable for the person to notice. So, if they are just performing a quick inspection, it is not expected that the engineer or professional would understand every potential risk, nor do they become responsible for this. That said, most serious risks would be evident, and reportable.

Safety Risks Within a Boiler

If there is a safety risk found within the boiler then this must be reported to the responsible person, and the engineer has a duty to classify the boiler with regards to the risk it poses to others.

Gas appliances/installations found to be unsafe must be classified as either:

• Immediately Dangerous (ID), or
• At Risk (AR).

If the boiler is deemed to cause an immediate threat to life or the property, it must instantly be switched off. A “Danger Do Not Use” sign must be affixed in a visible location, and it should be made clear that the boiler is not to be turned on.

If it is not an immediate risk to property or to people, but the engineer deems that the situation could lead to risk, then there are two potential outcomes.

  1. If turning off the appliance removes this risk, this should be carried out.
  2. If turning off the gas appliance will not impact the risk, then it is not required to turn off the appliance, but it is important to affix a warning to the appliance to show that an error has been identified.

Knowing if You Are The Responsible Person

The IGEM guidelines do share some information regarding the definition of a responsible person for the purposes of gas safety. If you are the landlord or business owner there is a strong chance you could be the responsible person for gas safety, meaning that the responsibilities lay with you, even when working with external partners.

The IGEM guidelines explain that responsible person means:

“In relation to any premises, means the occupier of the premises, or any person with authority for the time being, to take appropriate action in relation to any gas fitting therein. In situations where there is also a duty holder e.g., rented premises, the Landlord and their representative (managing agent) also attract “Responsible Person” status and will also need to be informed of any unsafe situation identified and the risk classification applied.”

Immediately Dangerous Appliances

If an engineer following guidelines deems the appliance to be “immediately dangerous” then there are urgent actions that should be taken.

If the appliance cannot be repaired then it is time to condemn the appliance altogether.

Speaking in board terms, there are situations such as issues with the flues, spillage test failures, and combustion issues that can be dangerous. With the agreement of the responsible person it is crucial to try and rectify (make safe) the appliance. If not, then engineers will follow these steps:

  • Explain why the LPG boiler or gas boiler is not safe to the responsible person.
  • Make very clear that it is not to be used and affix the signage required.
  • With the permission of the responsible person, disconnect and seal all of the gas supply to the appliance to keep it safe.

Help From Robinsons Facilities Services

Our trained and accredited engineers work with LPG and gas boilers, as well as other varieties of appliance. We follow the strictest guidelines and are able to provide advice, repairs, and servicing for your appliances. In some scenarios, when boilers become unsafe, we are required to switch off the boiler to prevent risk, or even condemn it altogether if it is not possible to repair.

If your boiler has broken down, don’t worry – call Robinsons Facilities Services today on 01423 2262578 and we will be able to arrange one of our expert engineers to attend your Yorkshire premises quickly in order to fix your boiler or provide advice on the next steps.

Working across Yorkshire, we cover North YorkshireWest YorkshireEast Yorkshire and South Yorkshire and offer a fast, efficient response time to all breakdowns and repairs. Contact us today for all plannedreactive maintenance or emergency call out. Call 01423 226578 or get in touch to see how Robinsons Facilities Services can help.

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