Gas Network Operative
Construct, maintain and repair gas network infrastructure, to provide a reliable supply/service to domestic, commercial and industrial users.
Duration: 15 to 24 months
Maximum funding: £13,000
Review: this apprenticeship standard will be reviewed after three years
This occupation is found in the utilities sector, in the gas transportation industry.
The broad purpose of the occupation is to construct, maintain and repair gas network infrastructure, to provide a reliable supply/service to domestic, commercial and industrial users. Infrastructure for gas transportation includes mains and services operating at below 7bar pressure, including excess flow valves, emergency control valves, pipes, network valves, top tee and encirclement fittings and branch saddles. Operatives ensure the site is safe for work and members of the public, which may include traffic management and control. They complete site excavation and on job completion, restore the site to a safe condition. They use a range of powered equipment, hand tools and plant on-site, for example diggers, rollers and forklifts. Responding to gas network infrastructure emergencies, for example gas escapes, in line with procedures and escalating as appropriate is all part of the role. Recording and reporting on work completed is important, which may include completion of paperwork or computerised records, drawings and providing site photographs. Depending on the work required, they may spend the day at one site or work across a number of sites. Work locations may include new build sites, public highways and domestic, industrial and commercial properties. They are required to work in all weather conditions. They may need to work shifts, standby and unsociable hours.
In their daily work, an employee in this occupation interacts with colleagues, such as managers, network technicians and engineers, delivery drivers, reinstatement teams and administration staff. They usually work in a small team - typically with one or two other operatives, responsible for their own work, reporting to managers but not under direct supervision. On a site they may also interact with site agents and other trades. They will communicate with clients/customers regarding work that is being undertaken and, in some situations, the general public. They may also liaise with personnel from statutory authorities, such as the Highways Authority, local authorities and the Environment Agency. When working in emergency situations, they may liaise with emergency services personnel.
An employee in this occupation will be responsible for completing work to the required standard, following procedures, ensuring Health & Safety and regulatory compliance with OFGEM (Office of Gas and Electricity Markets), Institution of Gas Engineers and Managers (IGEM) standards and Environment Agency etc; failure to do so could have serious consequences for self, public health and the environment. They are expected to present a professional image of the company. They are responsible for ensuring their tools and equipment are fit for use and inspected prior to use, correctly stored and maintained. Depending on their level of experience, they may be responsible for leading the team.
Gas network operatives need to be qualified and on the Street Works Register. Employers typically require a driving license, as operatives may be expected to drive to their place of work, using a company vehicle. In addition, some gas network operatives may require a CSCS (Construction Skills Certification Scheme) Card and/or SHEA (Safety, Health and Environmental Awareness) Gas Passport Card. A Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check may also be required.
- Prepare and set up site for gas network infrastructure site work, to meet clients'/customers' requirements and priorities, for example, obtain plant, equipment and materials and undertake traffic management and control.
- Conduct risk assessments including a final risk assessment and comply with method statements for gas network infrastructure work.
- Check and maintain tools and equipment before and after use in gas network infrastructure work, for example charge batteries, clean equipment, grease machines, re-fuel; and store.
- Excavate site for gas network infrastructure work.
- Construct/abandon (not to be used again) gas network infrastructure, for example services and mains.
- Pressure test gas network infrastructure.
- Commission/decommission (take off-line) gas network infrastructure.
- Conduct repairs to gas network infrastructure.
- Isolate gas network infrastructure, for example flow-stopping.
- Disconnect and remove gas meters from gas services, leaving it safe.
- Respond to gas network infrastructure emergencies, for example gas escapes, in line with procedures and escalate where appropriate.
- Restore gas network infrastructure site to a safe condition to meet clients’/customers’ requirements, for example backfill, signing and guarding and use of foot-way boards, cones and barriers.
- Liaise with gas network stakeholders, keeping them informed; for example, explaining to customers’ work to be undertaken/taken.
- Complete gas utility network infrastructure records/documentation (written or digital) associated with activities, for example work sheets, time-sheets, drawings, risk-assessments and safety documentation.
Core requirements: Knowledge
- Utility industry structure and regulatory requirements, including the Gas Act and regulatory surveys.
- Health and safety standards, regulations and practice, including Health and Safety at Work Act, risk assessments and safe systems of work, permits to work, New Roads and Street Works Act, working in confined spaces, working at heights, Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER), Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH), personal protective equipment (PPE), Lifting Operations Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER), first aid, manual handling, fire safety, asbestos awareness.
- Environmental regulatory requirements: Environment Protection Act, disposal of waste and recycling.
- Principles and processes that underpin the location of utility network assets, including health and safety guidance on avoiding damage to underground utility services.
- Checks, maintenance, operation and storage requirements for commonly used gas utility network operations equipment and tools, for example utility location. equipment/tools, pneumatic gun, hand/power tools – power disc cutter, chain saw, drills.
- Principles of traffic management and control.
- Excavation techniques, for example, open cut, moling, vacuum extraction. Trench support for example, proprietary systems, sheeting and mechanical.
- Procedures for the construction, testing, purging, repair commissioning and decommissioning of gas network assets.
- Procedures for gas network emergencies.
- Electrical safety, including equipotential bonding.
- Emergency services and statutory authorities – local authorities, highway authorities and Environment Agency; who they are, what they do; escalation procedures.
- Communication techniques – written, verbal; customer service techniques.
- Reporting channels; limits of authority.
- Equality & diversity considerations in the workplace.
- Data – purpose and protection, for example asset records.
- Information technology, for example to support an accurate audit trail using electronic equipment including handheld and mobile devices.
Core requirements: Skills
- Identify hazards and implement controls to reduce risks.
- Interpret work instructions, engineering instructions and determine actions.
- Identify and organise resources to undertake activities.
- Comply with workplace health, safety & environmental policy and practice; including use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and safety equipment.
- Set out signing, lighting and guarding.
- Excavate holes for utility network services.
- Monitor and maintain site conditions, including good housekeeping.
- Identify, locate and avoid utility supply apparatus and sub-structures.
- Check, maintain, operate and store equipment and tools; report faults if required.
- Communicate with colleagues and/or stakeholders, for example, statutory agencies and members of the public, customers.
- Use breathing apparatus.
- Use gas detection equipment.
- Carry out trench installation for example, sheeting, lightweight and proprietary systems.
- Record information, for example job reports, time sheets.
- Construct new and replacement gas services to internal and external service termination positions using a range of techniques.
- Carry out squeeze off activities on gas services (low and medium pressure).
- Construct new and replacement gas mains using a range of techniques.
- Carry out flow stopping on gas mains by use of squeeze off and bag stop.
- Disconnect gas meters.
- Repair gas assets including valves and fittings using a range of techniques.
- Join materials by electro-fusion.
- Join materials by butt fusion processes.
- Exchange emergency control valve.
- Test gas network assets at low and medium pressure.
- Purge, commission and decommission gas network assets.
- Apply gas network emergency procedures including the analysis of gas readings.
- Apply water extraction techniques for gas mains and services.
Core requirements: Behaviours
- Prioritises health, safety and environment when undertaking work to safeguard life and property.
- Adaptable, for example willing to accept changing priorities and working requirements.
- Team player, for example keeps others informed, recognises personal and professional limitations and seeks advice when necessary.
- Professional, for example punctual, trustworthy, polite, courteous, presentable, maintains security of business specific and personal data and assets, takes account of equality and diversity in interactions.
- Self-motivated, for example manages own time effectively, takes responsibility to complete the job.
- Pride in work, for example works to agreed quality targets and standards.
- Customer focus, for example keeps customers informed.
- Committed to continued professional development.