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OPGO NEWS AND OPINION

This box contains news of what OPGO has been up to, and presents opinion pieces by members. The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of OPGO and are not endorsed as official policy.

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informationComments are welcome subject to moderation. Please click on titles for full articles

 

Our Chairman gets his views aired on CO alarms

By: HVP magazine  On: 10-02-2013 23:22  (7562 Reads)
OPGO NEWS

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Reply to HVP article - Action against the Silent Killer

By: Barry Matthews  On: 20-11-2012 09:01  (4056 Reads)
OPGO NEWS

Members of OPGO have read the article "Action against the silent killer" in HVP November/December edition and wondered where the author has gained his knowledge of our industry.

When he says "some are already demonstrating good practice by not signing off service work until a carbon monoxide alarm has been fitted" we think that is misleading and has no basis in the regulations that control the gas industry. Fortunately our industry is run by people who follow common sense, not some political agenda (however well intentioned) and we like to deal in facts not fiction.

Gas Spares Pricing

By: Barry Matthews  On: 16-11-2012 15:08  (4779 Reads)
OPGO OPINION

Chairman's Opinion:-

As a working gas service engineer I am always amazed at the arbitrary way spares are priced.

Equality and the Law - passed to the CPS to answer

By: OPGO secretary  On: 15-09-2012 07:23  (2582 Reads)
OPGO NEWS

Dear OPGO Secretary

Thank you for your email in relation to ‘Equality under the Law’ which has been passed to the CPS Strategy and Policy Directorate.

 

Further correspondence with Sentencing and Policies Unit

By: OPGO Sec  On: 03-09-2012 22:19  (5759 Reads)
OPGO NEWS

Dear Mr

 
May I congratulate you on your reply being to the highest standards of the Civil Service as portrayed so admirably by Sir Humphrey in Yes Prime Minister.

I am a bit concerned that this Public Interest argument means that doctors never get charged and gas engineers always do without there being any reason given why it is the public interest to charge one group and not the other.

Reply to letter see previous article Equality under the Law

By: OPGO Secretary  On: 03-09-2012 21:03  (4944 Reads)
OPGO NEWS

Our ref: TO12/4746

 
Dear Mr Lerner,

Thank you for your email of 7 August about charges brought against and sentencing of people found guilty of manslaughter (copy below). Your email has been passed to the Sentencing Policy and Penalties Unit at the Ministry of Justice and I have been asked to respond.

In your e-mail you set out concerns that gas engineers are treated severely by the law, and compare this to how doctors who are grossly negligent are treated. You also ask if charges for gross manslaughter will be brought in a case of possible medical negligence at Thames Hospital, a case which was reported in a BBC news article.

 

Equality under the law Letter to Office of Secretary of State

By: OPGO Secretary  On: 07-08-2012 22:21  (1632 Reads)
OPGO NEWS

Dear Sir or Madam

For some time I have been concerned at the way Gas Engineers who make a mistake or are negligent are treated very severely under the law.

Letter to coroner prior to Bedfont Lakes trial

By: OPGO Sec  On: 03-07-2012 21:00  (3176 Reads)
OPGO OPINION

 
Dear Ms Jack-Matthews

Thank you for your reply of the 13th August.

In answer to your questions.

 

Member's letter on MCS problem install

By: Admin  On: 14-06-2012 18:10  (2071 Reads)
OPGO OPINION

I went to an MCS registered install the other day as the client was complaining about luke warm water from solar panels. It turns out that there are two hot water cylinders in parallel with a solar diverter valve giving priority of one cylinder over the other. This is what I wrote to the client to present to the MCS registered installer:

OPGO training day at Atag

By: OPGO Secretary  On: 12-06-2012 23:23  (1585 Reads)
OPGO NEWS

OPGO gets a write up in HVP over its trainiing day at Atag

http://www.hvpmag.co.uk/MemberPages/article.aspx?id=1443(external link)

Agreed minutes of meeting hosted by Gas Safe Register with OPGO Feb 2012

By: Committee, Gas Safe Register, Ron Hutty HSE  On: 24-04-2012 00:05  (578254 Reads)
OPGO NEWS
OPGO/Gas Safe Register Meeting minutes

 
Date 24 February 2012
Location Hampshire Court Hotel, Basingstoke, Hampshire, RG24 8FY

 
OPGO Barry Matthews (BM), Geoff Giltrap (GG), Graham Morrissey (GM), Ron Knight (RK), Martin Kelsen (MK), Paul Lerner (PL), Mike Walton (MW), Caitlinn Davison (CD)
GAS SAFE REGISTER Simon Ayers (SA), Phil Mason (PM), Sarah Hill (SH), Mark Rolfe (MR), Gabi Pearson (GP)
HSE Robert Hutty (RH)

Letter to Pham News re Carbon monoxide charities.

By: Johanna Matthews  On: 18-03-2012 17:22  (2820 Reads)
OPGO OPINION

"Taken at face value, CO-Gas Safety’s statistics for CO incidents and fatalities over the last 16 years paint a very dark picture for gas users and gas operatives alike, both of which appear to be risking their lives on a daily basis.

However, we need a bit more information than has been provided.

Do the figures of 622 deaths (av. 39 a year) and 4000 non-fatal injuries (av. 250 a year) relate only to gas? CO lobby groups sometimes amalgamate the figures for all fossil fuels for greater impact, but seem to expect only the gas industry to fund CO awareness initiatives.

Letter to All Party Parliamentary Group on Gas Safety re CO fatalities

By: Paul Lerner  On: 18-03-2012 10:42  (1957 Reads)
OPGO NEWS

Dear Mr Arnold

I am extremely concerned about the misleading way CO Gas Safety presents its statistics. Recent publicity of 622 deaths in 16 years with the fact that it is over 16 years buried deeper in the publicity, is not the normal way that mortality rates are presented. By comparison 8 million people approximately died from all causes over the same period. The fact that there are over these 16 years only about 20 deaths a year from carbon monoxide due to gas appliances is thus unfairly disguised, compared to about 500,00 people a year who die altogether incidentally.

As she uses this to push for measures, like annual servicing on all gas appliances to be made compulsory, this is not just a pedantic point.

Annual servicing on all gas appliances would probably cost 1.6 billion pounds extra over and above what is being spent now and might save an extra 8 lives at a cost of 200 million pounds per life saved. With that sort of money being spent you could just tax the populace and build 2 hospitals a year for 5 years and then run them I would think.

I would be pleased if you could pass this letter on to parliamentary members of the group for their consideration.

 

Regards

 

Paul Lerner

Follow up correspondance click on Read More.

Request to HHIC and Manufacturers to be raised at GILG

By: Barry Matthews OPGO Chairman  On: 28-02-2012 22:11  (2671 Reads)
OPGO OPINION

Whilst we applaud the recent initiative by Baxi Group, whereby they will notify LABC via GSR on behalf of installers of their boilers (as will Viessmann it has recently announced), and send reminders to the customers when their boilers require an annual service with the installer's details listed, we would ask the HHIC to consult with its members so this initiative becomes the norm rather than the exception amongst other boiler and appliance manufacturers.

Why is UK so slow in moving forward

By: Chris Flaherty Vietec Heating  On: 19-02-2012 10:42  (4497 Reads)
OPGO OPINION

Why is the UK always so far behind the rest of Europe?

National Grid woes

By: OPGO Secretary  On: 10-02-2012 23:26  (4526 Reads)
OPGO OPINION

Lots of woes with the way National Grid operatives deal with low pressure problems.

Story 1

Called them out a couple of weeks ago to a property with 16mb at meter as I am required to do. Go back two weeks later and still 16mb . Terribly sorry will have to call them out again I say. Explain on the phone that they were out 2 weeks ago. Anyway the operative arrives and I have a chat with him. I explain the issues and say that I have heard that when they insert a new gas pipe through the old steel pipe it gives pressure problems due to reduced diameter. He agrees it does but tells me that they are under instruction from their managers that as long as there is 16mb at the meter they do not need to take any action.

Letter to HSE re skirt ventilation

By: Barry Matthews - Chairman OPGO  On: 06-02-2012 22:42  (3939 Reads)
OPGO NEWS

Dear Chris,

Please see below an article highlighting the risk of lack of skirt ventilation.

Members of The Organisation of Professional Operatives (OPGO) have had concerns in this regard for several years. On their behalf we have raised the issue with Gas Safe Register, who tell us to follow unsafe procedures and issue a warning notice. We have also brought it up at the Gas Industry Liaison Group where the UKLPGA didn't have the courtesy to even give us a reply, but the HP&PHA at least advised that they would inform their members via their quarterly newsletter.

Incidence of low level CO

By: OPGO Secretary  On: 07-01-2012 14:06  (2471 Reads)
OPGO OPINION

For some time I have been asking about incidents of CO alarms sounding and data from Emergency Services. This here from Government Research show the claims of there must be lots of low level of CO around are shown to be somewhat exaggerated. In particular the research of Ben Croxford has been shown not to be born out in reality as many installers suspected. One wonders whether those at the APPGSG have read this. We can only hope that the Merseyside research isn't equally buried due to the vast industry that profits from CO scaremongering.

Read below two extracts from report http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/planningandbuilding/pdf/1324663__(external link)

Reply to Mr Lowe's letter in December 2012 Registered Gas Engineer on removal of right to work without CPA1

By: Barry Matthews Chairman OPGO  On: 02-01-2012 23:57  (53279 Reads)
OPGO OPINION

 
Mr Lowe has had the opportunity to make his observations and the Organisation of Professional Gas Operatives would like to respond.

Sole traders, via the Association of Registered Gas Installers (ARGI), have supported CPA1 going in to core gas safety since the first Industry Liaison Group meetings in 2006. At that time we were told that it had to be a stand alone assessment, which we reluctantly accepted. To compound that mistake, the industry then decided firstly to impose CPA1 in April 2010 and subsequently postponed it to April 2012. If the voice of sole traders/SMEs had been listened to back in 2006 then this debate wouldn’t be happening.

Letter to installer not yet published

By: Barry Matthews OPGO Chairman  On: 06-12-2011 00:15  (7061 Reads)
OPGO OPINION

Dear Sirs,

Having seen Mr Poole's (marketing manager of Grahams) comments in the trade press, we feel it our duty to highlight misleading information.
When he claims “Engineers need to gain the CPA1 qualification to continue to be Gas Safe registered, and this needs to completed within the next six months”, that is clearly not the case.

"Certificates of competence" in boilers, water heaters and fires have been threatened to be withdrawn even though they still may have two years left on their five year validity.

 
To registrant organisations like the Organisation of Professional Gas Operatives (OPGO), this is totally unacceptable and we are looking to the certification bodies, such as NICEIC, to honour their five year contracts with registrants by paying for those who have time left on their five year "certificate of competence" to keep them competent as per Gas Safe Register's published requirements.

Letter published in Registered Gas Engineer

By: Barry Matthews OPGO Chairman  On: 06-12-2011 00:10  (80871 Reads)
OPGO OPINION

Sir,

Q) When is a contract not a contract?

A) When you're Gas Safe Registered

Many of our members who have not taken the CPA1 Assessment have now received letters from Gas Safe Register informing them they will no longer be seen to be competent after April 2012 to work on boilers/water heaters and fires if they do not undertake the assessment prior to that date.

OPGO letter published in HVP re flueless fire incident

By: OPGO Secretary  On: 22-11-2011 23:12  (3206 Reads)
OPGO OPINION

Image

The Organisation of Professional Gas Operatives have concerns about the installation and safety of flueless gas fires.

Two prosecutions have now taken place following incidents relating to these fires, and because of guilty pleas wider questions about the safety of not just these fires but more importantly the Oxygen Depletion Sensor (ODS) have not been examined in court.

In both cases the Oxygen Depletion thermocouple advertised as a safety device failed to prevent the incident.

Karen Meadows' last word article in The Gas Engineer Magazine

By: Wim Rutjes  On: 13-10-2011 00:43  (5862 Reads)
OPGO OPINION

Comments on Article taken from the October 2011 issue of The Gas Engineer magazine, written by Karen Meadows a former environmental health officer - by Wim Rutjes - OPGO Membership Secretary.

Doubts about the safety of flueless gas fires

By: Barry Matthews  On: 23-09-2011 22:53  (6353 Reads)
OPGO OPINION

Once again a gas operative has been prosecuted as a result of an incident relating to a flueless fire and yet again, because of a guilty plea, wider questions about the safety of not just this type of fire but, more importantly, the effectiveness of the Oxygen Depletion Sensor (ODS) have not been scrutinised in court.

Systemic failure of Gas Safety

By: Paul Lerner  On: 28-08-2011 23:32  (2607 Reads)
OPGO OPINION

Too often the tendency of the HSE and the Gas Safe Register is to attempt to lay the blame at the lowest level as it makes a neat conclusion for one person to be prosecuted when something has gone wrong and gives a measure of satisfaction to the victim’s family. However in many case the real causes go much deeper and are indicative of a systemic failure in the industry rather than purely one man’s responsibility. Flues in voids for instance represents such a failure of the system to recognise the danger and act appropriately before there was a major proliferation of these.

OPGO Member Gets The Last Word (Again)

By: Paul Daley  On: 04-08-2011 16:29  (9534 Reads)
OPGO OPINION

OPGO Member Paul Daley of Daley Plumbing and Heating has got the Last Word .. on Flues in Voids. Check out his YouTube video currently on our Front Page. His article appeared in Registered Gas Engineer Magazine August 2011 p 54. Thanks for permission to post on OPGO Paul.

The full article with pictures is here: http://www.registeredgasengineer.co.uk/docs/August_2011.pdf(external link)

“If we gas engineers do nothing, come december 2012 there will be a lot of customers with no heating or hot water”

Members Letter - Gas Certification Scheme

By: Wim Rutjes  On: 09-07-2011 21:55  (3393 Reads)
OPGO OPINION

This is a copy of the letter send By OPGO member Mark Overthrow, highlighting the poor consultation methods in the gas industry.

Police to investigate company after OPGO member complaint

By: Paul Lerner  On: 01-06-2011 20:21  (1782 Reads)
OPGO NEWS

Trading Standards call in police after company soliciting money from Gas Engineers is referred to them by OPGO member.

OPGO Gets 'The Last Word'

ACS - Time For Change
By: Martin_K  On: 10-03-2011 17:12  (3368 Reads)
OPGO NEWS

OPGO has got 'The Last Word' in the Registered Gas Engineer Magazine (p 58), It got chopped around a bit by the magazine, and lost its title.

Here's the original article as submitted: ACS - Time For Change?.

Here's the article as published in the magazine (they chose the quote):

Surefire ways to beat the illegals

By: Wim Rutjes  On: 03-03-2011 23:36  (1773 Reads)
OPGO OPINION

As an industry we often feel that the fight against the illegal and the 'bish bash bosh brigade' will never be won. Well where there is a will, there is a way. Here's how we could do it:

New scheme to access normative documents online

By: Wim Rutjes  On: 02-03-2011 20:54  (1734 Reads)
OPGO OPINION

The campaign for cheaper access to British Standards, IGEM documents and UKLPG Codes of Practice has been successful. (Editors note - Our Chairman Wim Rutjes played an important part in the early days of the campaign).

Coroner has called for review of risk categories following death of Katie Haines

By: Paul Lerner  On: 23-02-2011 22:49  (1948 Reads)
OPGO OPINION

Members have been in communication with the coroner to express their views. To read what has been said, or join the debate on this vital issue which will affect your working life why not become a member of OPGO?

 

OPGO - NEW 'GRASS-ROOTS' GROUP FINDS VOICE ONLINE

News Item on OPGO as published in the Registered Gas Engineer Magazine Feb 2011
By: Martin_K  On: 11-02-2011 13:07  (17865 Reads)
OPGO NEWS

A new, web-based organisation is aiming to become a distinctive voice for sole traders and small businesses in the UK gas industry. The Organisation of Professional Gas Operatives (OPGO) launched last October. Its website includes a forum where members can ‘socialise’, air their views and share information on technical issues.

Gas Explosions are good for you!

By: Wim Rutjes  On: 06-02-2011 14:54  (1862 Reads)
OPGO OPINION

Now I got your attention I will try and justify the title.

 

OPGO Visit to the House of Lords - 25/01/2011

By: Barry Matthews  On: 25-01-2011 19:48  (1611 Reads)
OPGO NEWS

Some of you might be interested to know that OPGO were invited to Stephanie Trotters tea party at the House of Lords on the 25th Jan 2011.

Talking "Green"

By: Wim Rutjes  On: 08-10-2010 21:18  (2053 Reads)
OPGO OPINION

It is very fashionable these days to extol the green virtues of products. The main message seems to be that you have to spend money to be green. This is a bit disappointing as I would like to spend less money. After all, if you save energy, you don't have to work as hard, or fork out money to repair the damage you are doing.


Contributors to this page: Wim Rutjes , Paul Lerner and admin .
Page last modified on Sunday 30 of September, 2012 14:37:48 by Wim Rutjes.

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