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Ensuring gas safety for vulnerable tenants in lockdown

Monday, 14 September 2020

Reside Head of Compliance, Nnamdi Nwakanma explains the impact of lockdown on a vital service

At Reside we are proud to be supporting Gas Safety Week 2020, taking place 14 – 20 September. Gas Safety Week raises awareness of gas safety and the importance of taking care of your gas appliances. It is coordinated by Gas Safe Register, the official list of gas engineers who are legally allowed to work on gas.

It’s something we mark every year because the issue is hugely important to us. We are legally responsible for the safety of our tenants, many of whom are very vulnerable. Badly fitted and poorly serviced gas appliances can cause gas leaks, fires, explosions and carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. CO is a highly poisonous gas that can kill quickly with no warning, as you cannot see it, taste it or smell it.

In a normal year, we make sure maintenance and annual safety checks on gas appliances are carried out by a Gas Safe registered engineer. We partner with British Gas and all engineers carrying out inspections are registered. We encourage tenants and their support providers to check the engineer’s Gas Safe ID card if they chose to do so, as it helps ensure confidence in our process. We have zero tolerance to non-compliant gas appliances and have scored very high in gas safety over the years.

This year has been a challenge. Our tenants have been naturally more reluctant to allow engineers access to their properties. But even at the height of lockdown, we still needed to carry out these vital checks. I am extremely proud to share that we performed above national average during the lockdown period, operating at an average of 99.5% whilst the national average was 92%.

How did we achieve this? Put simply, we took a very person-centred approach to our gas safety management process and pulled together as a team. Working closely with tenancy support and business support colleagues (with everyone working from home), we were able to contact tenants and support providers and discuss any fears or worries they had. We also worked very closely with British Gas. Our engineers wore full PPE at all times during gas inspections and this helped reassure tenants.

In a challenging time for our tenants, their support providers, our teams and partners, we have been able to keep focussed on keeping our tenants and the communities they live in safe. I am proud of the statistics, but I’m even more proud of the hard work and dedication of the teams that achieved this outcome.

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