Disciplinary hearings - October 2022
Rafe Fannin, Electrician, E 283485, EW 144461 of Whangarei
A complaint was made against Mr Fannin by another electrical worker about the manner in which he had carried out prescribed electrical work. Mr Fannin defended the matter. The Board found that he had carried out prescribed electrical work in a negligent manner contrary to section 143(a)(i) of the Act in respect of the reliability of electrical connections, the adequacy of insulation on conductors and the failure to provide mechanical protection on an earth electrode. The Board also found that he had provided false or misleading returns. He was fined $1,500 and ordered to pay costs of $2,250.
One of the charges related to the installation of an earth electrode and the failure to provide mechanical protection. Mr Fannin had met some but not all the requirements specified in AS/NZS 3000:2007. This case is a reminder to check, when carrying out prescribed electrical work, that there are no other Standards or provisions in Standards that also apply to the work.
Ross Brewster, Electrician, E 3316, EW 048626 of Auckland
Mr Brewster accepted that he had carried out prescribed electrical work in a negligent manner, provided a false or misleading return, and carried out prescribed electrical work at a time when he was not licensed. He was ordered to undertake training to address the deficiencies in his work and to pay costs of $250. The Board noted, when it ordered training, that the offending related to an extensive list of non-compliant prescribed electrical work and that whilst Mr Brewster accepted responsibility, he was not able to explain how the non-compliant work came about.
Training is fundamental to electrical workers maintaining their competency. It is more than just attending a Competency Programme every two years. Electrical workers should be continually working to ensure that they are up to date with regulatory changes, changes to Standards, and new industry practices. In addition to this, if an electrical worker is engaging in work that they are unfamiliar with or work that they have not undertaken for some time, it is advisable to upskill prior to undertaking the work.
The Board also dealt with three other matters in May and June where the Board decided that it would not name the electrical worker.
The first case involved prescribed electrical work that had negligently created a risk of serious harm or significant property damage. The electrical worker had not completed adequate testing prior to connecting a heat pump. The installation had a two-phase supply, and the electrical worker connected the heat pump with the incorrect phase rotation. The heat pump was damaged as a result of a voltage difference between the phase and neutral conductors. The electrical worker was censured and ordered to pay costs of $250. There were significant mitigating factors that had a direct relation to the offending. In addition to this, the electrical worker voluntarily cancelled his licence and undertook not to carry out any further electrical work. On that basis the Board did not impose a more significant penalty.
The second matter involved negligent prescribed electrical work and the provision of a false or misleading return. The negligence related to a number of compliance failings. In short, the work had not been carried out in accordance with AS/NZS 3000. Electrical workers are reminded that AS/NZS 3000 must be complied with when carrying out work on low volage installations. It is prescriptive and a failure to adhere to it can result in a disciplinary finding. The electrical worker was fined $750 and ordered to pay costs of $250. The fine and costs were reduced on the basis that the electrical worker accepted his failings and that other persons had had an influence on what had occurred.
The final matter also involved negligent prescribed electrical work and a failure to adhere to AS/NZS 3000 where the electrical worker left bare conductors that were live and accessible. The full scope of work had not been completed but the conductor was live and, therefore, it had to be safe and compliant. The work had been impacted by COVID-19 lockdowns and the electrical worker accepted he had been negligent. He was fined $750 and ordered to pay costs of $250. The fine and costs were reduced on the basis that the electrical worker accepted his failings and had taken steps to ensure it would not happen again.
This case is an example of what can happen when the full scope of prescribed electrical work is not complete. The Board has addressed this topic within a variety of Toolbox articles. Ultimately, incomplete work should be safe, or steps should be taken to make sure it is made safe if an electrical worker is not able to return to complete the work.