Our Lead Gas Engineer, Waheed, writes for Gas Safety Week 2020

Life as a gas engineer at Progress Housing Group is certainly never dull and every day is different!
However, during the lockdown, it has been far from the usual typical day and each day has brought forward its own challenges...

The primary focus of working in the gas industry is safety but during the lockdown, safety measurements have been increased to something that none of us could have ever imagined would be a part of the job role...

I live in Preston with my amazing wife and three beautiful children. Whilst some people have been able to work from home during the peak of the pandemic, this was out of the question for me and the rest of the frontline Property Services Team at the Group. Unfortunately, boilers can’t be fixed over Zoom or over the phone so I’ve been working on the frontline throughout to ensure that Progress Housing Group tenants remain safe and secure in their homes; this meant that there was some concern at home as I was at a higher risk of contracting the virus and I didn’t want to bring this home to my family.

A typical day for me and an early start

My typical day begins at 6am (before the crazy kids get up!) when I get that first cup of coffee in and check what work the planners have set out for me and where I’m travelling to. The uniform is always a fresh clean set because I don’t want to risk infecting customers, many of whom are vulnerable.

I carry out a van check by 7.30am and ensure I have all that I need for the day - normally this would be a parts and tool check but now I need to ensure that I have enough PPE to protect me and our customers. I put on my PPE and head out to a day on the frontline visiting our customers in their homes.

Lots of travelling and attending customers' properties during the pandemic

Whenever I first attend a property, I go through a few safety questions with the tenant to make sure that they do not have any COVID-19 related symptoms and, if it's safe to do so, I go in and carry out a gas service/safety check of their gas appliances, for example, boiler, fire, cooker. The customer usually knows that they should keep their social distance but their furry friends don’t seem to understand this and often they like to come in for a nosey!

Progress Housing Group has properties from Devon to Scotland, so my job usually involves planning the work, booking hotels and scheduling my jobs and I can be away from home for the whole week sometimes. There is usually a tear or two from my young sons and I set off with the promise that they can video call me after school. This all changed however during the lockdown, as hotel bookings were cancelled and I couldn’t stay away from home, so we were travelling up and down the country each day.

Safety is our primary focus

Some may be under the impression that a gas engineer's job is simply to go in and carry out specific repairs/checks but there is so much more involved. My primary focus is safety - everything must be safe for use and strict gas safety regulations must be adhered to.

This has to be matched with the utmost level of customer service, which for me is service with a smile and lending an ear when necessary.