Disciplinary Hearings

The Board dealt with a number of cases in October and November 2019 which included allegations relating to the provision of certification.

The electrical industry has the privilege of being able to self-certify most of the prescribed electrical work they complete. Self-certification comes with various responsibilities which are outlined in the Electricity (Safety) Regulations 2010. It is important that all electrical workers are aware of their obligations and that they comply with them. When it comes to disciplinary charges relating to certification, they are what is called a strict liability charge. All that need be proven is that the relevant enactment has been breached. There is no requirement for there to have been fault, intention or negligence. Given this it is advisable to complete and provide certification in a timely manner.

Electrical workers should also remember that there is a requirement to retain a copy of certification for a period of 7 years. One of the reasons why a copy must be retained is that any of the following; WorkSafe, the Board, the Registrar, the territorial authority, the person who contracted for the work, the owner or occupier, can demand a copy which must be provided within 10 working days of the request. Failure to do so can result in a disciplinary charge before the Board.

The Board also dealt with a case where one electrical worker took responsibility for the work of other licensed persons by providing the certificate of compliance at the end of the job. He did not check the safety and compliance of all of the work before he did so. By providing the certification he, in effect, took responsibility for the compliance of all of the work and was held accountable for the failings of others. It is a timely reminder that, prior to providing certification, the required visual checks and electrical tests need to be completed.

Finally, the Board successfully prosecuted two persons in the District Court for carrying out illegal prescribed electrical work. Details of the case follow the disciplinary hearing summaries.

Disciplinary Cases October 2019

Practitioner 1

The Board upheld a charge of providing a false or misleading return. It also found that a charge of failing to provide a return had not been proven. The practitioner was fined $500 and ordered to pay costs of $1,000.

Practitioner 2

The practitioner, an Inspector, was found to have negligently created a risk of serious harm or significant property damage for having failed to provide adequate overcurrent protection. The Board also found that the practitioner had provided a false or misleading return. The Board noted that the Respondent had voluntarily undertaken training as a result of the incident, that he took responsibility for his actions and accepted the charges against him. A reduced fine of $500 was imposed together with costs of $250.

Practitioner 3

The Respondent faced 12 charges relating to allegations of carrying out prescribed electrical work in a manner that was contrary to an enactment, working outside the limits of his licence, and providing false returns. The charges related to the installation of heat pumps at multiple addresses. The Board upheld all of the charges. The practitioner accepted his wrongdoing. He had also taken action to ensure the installations were checked and rectified by an authorised person. On that basis the Board imposed a reduced fine of $1,000 and ordered that he pay costs of $250.

Disciplinary Cases November 2019

Practitioner 1

The practitioner, an Inspector, was found to have negligently created a risk of serious harm or significant property damage for having failed to identify that a MEN link was missing, for failing to have high risk work inspected and for allowing unsafe work to be connected. The Board also found that the practitioner had provided a false or misleading return. The practitioner accepted the charges against him. He had, prior to the matter coming before the Board, undertaken remedial training. The Board did not consider that the training was adequate to address the shortfalls. It ordered specific training to be undertaken by the practitioner at his cost. He was reminded that failure to complete training as per the order can result in the suspension of a licence. He was also ordered to pay costs of $500.

Practitioner 2

The Board found that an Electrician had negligently created a risk of serious harm or significant property damage and to have carried out prescribed electrical work in a manner that was contrary to an enactment. The practitioner was one of a group of electrical workers who had carried out the work but was the person who completed the certification. Prior to doing so he did not check the compliance of the work of the others. There were also issues with his own work. The Board also found that he had provided a false or misleading return. The practitioner accepted the charges. He was remorseful, he changed his business practices and there were significant mitigating factors. The Board imposed a fine of $1,000 and ordered that he pay costs of $500.