Electron Issue 089

Keeping you up to date with the latest regulatory changes, exam reports, technical issues, consultation results and other issues affecting electrical workers - published September 2017

Electron empowering today's electrical workers

Registrar update

Portrait of Dr Simon Robb

This is issue 89 of Electron – welcome.

My name is Dr Simon Robb, and I have been Registrar since 1 July 2017, when I formally took over from Richard Stubbings. Richard has returned to his substantive role, but not before spending three weeks advising and mentoring me. I was fortunate to have Richard alongside during that time and it was a privilege working with him.

It’s been a busy few months in the role, and my major focus has been working with our team on the classes of registration. I have made this a key focus for this edition, to ensure the sector is well informed with the upcoming changes.

Given that it’s my inaugural Electron, I thought I’d summarise the role of Registrar. Recently I have heard varying descriptions of what a Registrar does – some more flattering than others!

The Registrar is appointed under the Electricity Act 1992 (the Act). Under the Act the Board has the power to delegate a number functions to the Registrar.

The Board has exercised their power to delegate, enabling the functions under the Act to continue on a day-to-day basis without the need for formal Board involvement. My role as Registrar is independent from my colleagues – my colleagues advise and support me, however the responsibility for the decision lies with me – the Act does not permit me to delegate.

My functions vary from making decisions regarding ‘non routine’ applications for registration and practising licences, to advising the Board on whether an interim suspension is needed when a complaint is received. I also attend Board meetings, engage with those in the sector, participate in projects, and try to anticipate future challenges and opportunities for electrical workers and the Board. For example, my brief article on technology is me anticipating future opportunities for electrical workers (if managed appropriately).

In my experience, being a Supervisor is one of the most important roles a person can carry out in a regulated occupation. Effective supervision minimises the risk of harm, and promotes a competent and well performing electrical workforce now and in the future. To reflect my opinion I have provided an article that provides a general overview of supervision in this issue of Electron.

All the best,
Simon Robb

Presiding Member's update

Portrait of Shane Dolan

I couldn’t agree with Simon more, it has been a busy time for the Electrical Workers Registration Board (the Board). On top of appointing a new Registrar, we have been working on our three key strategic priorities for the 2017/18 financial year.

However, first off I’d like to thank those of you we met recently in Taupo and in Auckland for our Meet and Greet Breakfast sessions. We have been holding the Meet and Greet sessions across the country since September 2016 and it’s important to both myself and my colleagues on the Board that we meet and share with you what we are delivering to the sector. What’s equally important is for us to gain your valuable feedback on what we are working on, and hear your queries and concerns, so we can gauge how we can be of help to you.

The changes to classes of registration, site assessments, and the workers’ toolbox have been some of our key focus areas this financial year; alongside that, we have kicked-off two new key strategic initiatives that focus on a review of electrical workers gaining their registration, and the other, a review on how electrical workers keep their competency updated.

The Board, along with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment is undertaking these projects to ensure that the scheme is delivering a well-regulated and modernised platform for electrical workers to succeed in their trade. I look forward to updating you as these projects develop and please remember that regular project updates are available on our website.

Recently we said farewell to Board member Deborah Hall, and Quentin Varcoe is about to finish his tenure with us as well. Both members have made a significant contribution to the Board and we will miss their input. Ministerial appointments to the Board are pending and the Board will notify you once they have been made.

Best wishes,
Shane Dolan
Presiding Member

New classes of registration update

New classes of registration for electrical workers will come in effect on 27 October 2017 to better recognise the specialist electrical skills required today in mining, distribution and transmission.

These new classes target hazardous work areas where specialist knowledge, training, qualifications, skills and experience are required to work safely. Electrical workers who have not demonstrated those capabilities to the Board will be restricted from those work areas.

New classes of registration - update has information on the Mining endorsement,  Line mechanics and Other classes.

Strategic projects

The Electrical Workers Registration Board (the Board) promotes safety for all New Zealanders by ensuring the competence of electrical workers. The Board and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) are undertaking two projects this year to ensure the quality and integrity of the registration and licensing systems for electrical workers:

  1. Registration Criteria – getting your registration: this project is looking at the process for electrical workers to become registered.
  2. Ongoing Competency – keeping your licence: this project is looking at how electrical workers stay up to date with technological advances and maintain their competency once they are registered.

View the timeline and read more about the process


From time to time you may be supervising another electrical worker. Most (if not) all regulated occupations require supervision. The nature of the supervision will be influenced by the:

  • level of risk posed to public health and safety should supervision not occur;
  • technical nature of the work; and
  • degree of on the job training.

Read more on what is required when you are supervising.

Technological changes in the electrical sector

The routine of everyday life gives the impression that there will never be change. This is incorrect. Early in the 20th Century electricity did not exist. Today it is essential for the enjoyment of our high living standards. The inventions of electricity happened approximately 100 years ago, and look at what has happened since.

What does the future hold for electricity?

Electrical worker and employer fined for unauthorised work on a kindergarten

Unauthorised prescribed electrical work carried out in a kindergarten has seen $20,750 fines given to a Palmerston North a building company and one of its employees.

Read full article

Unauthorised PEW results in prosecution

In April 2016 three Downer NZ employeers were fined for unauthorised PEW on a broken street light pole in Manukau.

Read full article

Building wiring cables investigation update

WorkSafe advised on August 2017 that they were investigating the compliance of building wiring cable from a number of suppliers.

The investigation is now primarily concentrated on cable imported by one company and used by that company at a number of construction projects. There is no evidence that this cable has been distributed by any other companies in New Zealand.

The cable under investigation is a range of two-and three-core thermoplastic-sheathed cable with markings that include ‘CERTIFICATE No. EESS 150102-0’.

While not necessarily unsafe at present, the cable has failed its ageing test and may become unsafe over time. This cable must not be used and if any of this cable is found it will need to be removed.

Read full article

Using LED lamps as replacements for conventional lamps in hazardous area light fittings

The use of LED lamps as replacements for conventional lamps in hazardous area ‘Ex’ fittings will invalidate the certification of the fittings. Unless the fittings have been certified for LED lamps, replacing the lamps with LED ones may make the fittings electrically unsafe.

More guidance on changing light fittings

Electrical installation in caravans

Energy Safety reminds importers and suppliers of caravans and other recreational vehicles that the electrical installations in many imported caravans do not meet New Zealand standards. These vehicles are required to be electrically refitted before they can be issued with an Electrical Warrant of Fitness and connected to a New Zealand supply.

Read more

Common safety electrical issues with work

Did you know there are common electrical safety issues? These are:

  • work not being properly tested after installation or repairs are done
  • unsafe wiring not being protected or secured properly (electric shock risk)
  • loose terminals on switchboards and fittings (fire risk)
  • overloaded circuits (fire risk)
  • metal fittings not earthed and bonded correctly (electric shock risk)
  • recessed lights and insulation not fitted correctly (fire risk)
  • certification not provided (no assurance of compliance and safety).

As these issues occur frequently, by actively managing them you will improve the safety of your work.

Employment position available: Technical Officer

WorkSafe New Zealand is looking for Technical Officers with significant experience within the Electrical industry to join our Energy Safety team in Auckland and Wellington. If you have strong electrical experience, good technical skills and a sound knowledge of electrical regulation and compliance, Energy Safety invites you to apply to join our team as a Technical Officer to help keep New Zealand electrically safe.

For more information please contact Nick Goddard on 04 896 5865 or email careers@worksafe.govt.nz

To view a full job description, go to worksafe.govt. careers website.(external link)

Applications close on Sunday 8 October 2017