Feb 2024

Spotlight on EngTechs: Jonathan Lomas

In our ongoing series of case studies, Jordanne Allsopp, IGEM Marketing Communications Coordinator, chats to our members about their careers to date and how IGEM has supported them so far. This time, she spoke to HSE’s Jonathan Lomas, an IGEM EngTech member and part of our EngTech Working Group.

Although he's only been a member for a few years, Jonathan strongly encourages individuals to sign up for IGEM membership early in their careers.

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He said: “If I had fully appreciated the benefits of IGEM membership, I would have certainly joined earlier. IGEM opens up so many opportunities including the potential to influence changes in our industry.”

Jonathan has been influencing others in the industry ever since he began mentoring apprentices at the start of his career. After completing his A Levels, Jonathan started work as an electrical apprentice but decided to change course and apply for a role at British Gas.

After qualifying as a Technical Gas Engineer in 2002, he was asked to begin mentoring a new apprentice, then three more. Following this, Jonathan was steered towards a new role as a Technical Success Coach where he worked with many other gas engineers to improve their technical skills and performance.

During this time, he was granted funding to complete various qualifications in training, assessment, managerial skills, environmental skills and health and safety certifications.

In 2013, he changed direction slightly, remaining at British Gas to work as a Safety Assurance Engineer, during which time he experienced his first incident investigation.

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While in this role, British Gas introduced the Group Competency Scheme (GCS) which allowed Jonathan to take on greater duties and added a layer of responsibility to his work.

Later, he was encouraged to apply for a Health, Safety and Compliance Manager role within the company and went on to become part of the team overseeing health, safety and gas compliance. He said: “The team became an integral part of ensuring British Gas operated at the highest standards.”

Over the following few years, Jonathan gained experience working in the commercial gas and social housing teams before being moved over to a health and safety role within the Dyno division of Centrica.

Before long he found himself leaving the company to work as a Gas Compliance Manager at a local business in Yorkshire.

After a short stint, a role as a Senior Gas Incident Investigation Engineer at the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) piqued his interest. Jonathan was immediately attracted to working for HSE.

He said: “I’ve always viewed gas technical safety and compliance as the most important aspect of any job I’ve undertaken.”

Having worked at HSE for two years now, based at the Science and Research Centre in Buxton, he said it’s the most interesting role he’s ever had. He said: “The incidents I attend can be daunting but knowing that my work makes a real difference to ensure the correct outcome drives my enthusiasm.”

Jonathan has been involved with the hydrogen heating programme and contributes to the investigation of high profile gas explosions and carbon monoxide fatalities across the country as well as leading his own incident investigations.

He has dealt with dangerous appliances including gas-fired coffee roasters, LPG-fired mobile farrier furnaces and much more.

In 2022, Jonathan attended his first incident; a domestic gas explosion in Birmingham in which a lady lost her life. “This was the first incident that I was involved in from the initial report to the final outcome and it made me appreciate, more than ever, the importance of gas safety and the consequences when gas engineers make mistakes,” he said.

On his journey from working as an apprentice at British Gas to now working for HSE, Jonathan has gained experience in a multitude of sectors and recently gained a greater understanding of upstream operations. IGEM aids his development even further and demonstrates his credibility to his colleagues and peers.

He said: “My EngTech status gives me access to the latest up to date industry developments so that I’m not relying on second-hand information.

“The events and training sessions that I’ve attended have given me some invaluable insights. Most events are free to members, and I join as many as possible to get a greater awareness of other industry sectors.”