Disciplinary hearings - December 2021

The Board dealt with a disciplinary case in August where Mr Farhad Bhamji, an Electrical Inspector, was disciplined for carrying out prescribed electrical work (PEW) in a negligent and incompetent manner and for providing a false or misleading return. Mr Bhamji failed to test PEW prior to issuing a Certificate of Compliance (CoC). A review of the work after he had issued the CoC revealed that a truss in the master bedroom had been cut while installing a downlight; there were unclipped cables with exposed connections which had been placed over a truss; there was an overloaded kitchen circuit; and neutrals for subcircuits of residual current devices (RCDs) were not wired through their separate neutral bars. Had Mr Bhamji tested the work as he was required to do, including completing visual tests, the noncompliant PEW would have been identified. The Board noted the legal requirement to test and stated that the Respondent, who is an electrical Inspector, should have known of those requirements. It was disconcerting to the Board that he did not understand those obligations.

The case is a reminder that testing, including a visual inspection, must always be carried out prior to PEW being livened and certification being issued, as testing is an important and fundamental aspect of the safety and compliance regime for PEW. It is the means and method by which errors or faults can be identified and eliminated. It gives those who are going to use the installation confidence that the PEW is safe to use. A failure to test is serious.

In another failure to test case that came before the Board, the status or type of PEW changed from “works” to an “installation”. The electrical worker did not turn his mind to the distinction and the implications of the change. The Electricity Act defines both terms along with the term “point of supply” which is the demarcation point between the two. Electrical workers should be aware of the definitions and the different requirements that apply to each. The definitions can be found in the Interpretation of the Act here.

Electricity Act 1992 No 122 (as at 01 December 2020), Public Act 2 Interpretation(external link) — New Zealand Legislation.

August 2021
Finding Penalty

Farhad Bhamji

The electrical worker failed to test prior to certifying and connecting prescribed electrical work (PEW) that he had carried out. There were compliance issues with the PEW. He was found to have been both negligent and incompetent and to have provided a false or misleading Certificate of Compliance (CoC). The Board adopted a starting point of a fine of $2,000, which was reduced to $1,000 on the basis that the electrical worker had accepted the charges, had learnt from the matter, and was facing financial difficulties. He was ordered to pay costs of $250.
September 2021 Finding Penalty
Practitioner 1 The electrical worker failed to test a submain and failed to identify a polarity transposition. In doing so he negligently created a risk of serious harm to persons. The electrical worker also carried out work on an installation when he was only authorised to work on “works”. The actual transposition was caused by another electrical worker, but the respondent in the matter accepted responsibility for the safety and compliance of the PEW. The Board had a starting point of a $5,000 fine. The Board took the electrical workers loss of income and seniority into account along with his acceptance of the charges. A fine of $1,500 was imposed along with costs of $250.
Practitioner 2 The electrical worker was found to have carried out PEW in a negligent manner, to have created a risk of serious harm to persons, and to have carried out PEW in a manner contrary to an enactment. The offending was historical, and the PEW had been carried out soon after the electrical worker had been registered and licensed. The non-compliant aspects of the work had been completed by a trainee. Work pressures impinged on the supervision that was provided. The electrical worker had learnt from the matter and had different supervision practices in place when he came before the Board. The Board adopted a starting point of a fine of $3,000, which it reduced to $1,100 on the basis of the mitigating factors and the electrical worker accepting the charges. He was ordered to pay costs of $250.