Electron Issue 111

Keeping you up to date with the latest regulatory changes, exam reports, technical issues, consultation results and other issues affecting electrical workers - published December 2021.

Electron empowering today's electrical workers

Presiding Member's update

The past year has been a disruptive but productive one for the Board. Its review of the Electricity Act was completed and tabled in Parliament, consultation was completed on a draft Gazette Notice regarding proposed changes to classes of licence, and a new licensing system was implemented. It is hoped that the Board will return to business as usual in 2022, and that it can get back to engaging, in person, with electrical workers.

The Board’s report on the review of the Electricity Act is available on its website, and you can view this here.

Section 158 Review of the Electricity Act

It makes recommendations on amendments to the Electricity Act that the Board considers are necessary or desirable. The Board’s overall perception of the legislative framework was that it operates well but that it could be improved in key areas.

The Board will consider the feedback it received on its draft Gazette Notice at its December meeting. There was a pleasing level of engagement from the industry on the draft Notice, and it was encouraging to see general support for the proposals.

The new licensing system went live in October. The old system had well and truly run its course, and the new system enables self-service and allows for future registration, licensing, and competence developments. I would like to thank the Registrar and his team for the work they put into developing and implementing the new system. I would also like to thank them and fellow Bord Members for all their work during the year.

Finally, I wish all electrical workers a merry festive season and a prosperous New Year.

Mel Orange
Presiding Member

Registrar update

Kia ora koutou,

Welcome to the December 2021 Electron. There are several important articles I would like to highlight in this edition.

Periodic assessments of construction sites

This has certainly been a challenging and busy year across all sectors of our industry, none more so than in the construction and building area, where projects have been delayed through supply and other work restrictions.

This has meant worksites and associated temporary electrical installations that supply power to them are remaining in use longer than was originally planned or anticipated. This situation can increase the electrical safety risk on those sites when fittings and equipment are subject to longer periods of “wear and tear” in construction environments.

The Standard of the month article on AS/NZS 3012 sets out the legal requirements for the regular verification and frequency of the checks and tests that must be carried out on construction and demolition sites. This article also has helpful guidance on setting up electrical supplies on smaller construction sites and useful safety checklists.

I would encourage all persons working within that sector of the industry to be familiar with the requirements of this Standard and the other construction safety guidance provided.

Energy Safety updates

There are a few important updates from Energy Safety which include information on NZ requirements for the supply, sale, and compliance of Residual Current Devices (RCDs) in NZ. There are also details of a prohibition notification identifying unsafe non-compliant TPS (tough plastic sheathed) cable and the final date for its removal from service.

Key safety updates are regularly posted by WorkSafe and Energy Safety as required. For those who have not done so already, I would recommend you keep up to date by subscribing to these online safety bulletins. Subscription is available through the WorkSafe website here.

Subscribe to WorkSafe(external link) — WorkSafe.

Non-compliant certification

Certification that has not been fully or correctly completed is one area that regularly comes to the attention of the Board in the course of investigations and disciplinary hearings. Energy Safety has advised that while carrying out their regular auditing of documentation on the High-Risk Data Base (HRDB), they will now be taking a firmer approach and issuing infringement notices for non-compliant certification.

I would like to take this opportunity to remind all persons issuing certification that these documents are legal forms. If they are fully and accurately completed, they remain one of the best forms of defence should things go wrong.

EWRB Toolbox

You will notice the Energy Safety article on non-compliant certification contains a link to certification information contained in the EWRB Toolbox.

The Toolbox is an online educational resource for electrical workers that has been developed by the Board. I would encourage those who have not yet viewed it or just wish to refresh their knowledge in some key areas to look through the information it contains.

If you are training or mentoring other electrical workers, it may also be helpful to make those persons aware of this resource to assist them in building up their industry knowledge.

While the Toolbox remains a work in progress, I suggest it would also be a good opportunity when refreshing your knowledge to provide feedback to the Board around what further information you would like to see included or how it could be better presented. It is available for viewing from this link.

Toolbox

Finally, for me personally, this year has been an exciting and productive year, though not without its challenges. It has been a privilege and pleasure to serve as the Board’s Registrar, and I look forward to engaging with you all in the New Year.

This will be the final Electron for the year, so I wish you the best for the holiday period. Don’t miss the opportunity to spend some quality time with whanau, friends and family.

Thank you for taking the time to read Electron. If you have any comments or suggestions, please let me know by emailing them to Registrations@ewrb.govt.nz.

Duncan Connor
Registrar of Electrical Workers

Standards of the Month

Featured standards

AS/NZS 5762 In-service safety inspection and testing – Repaired electrical equipment

This Standard is for single and multiphase equipment that has been repaired or undergone servicing and includes equipment for domestic and workplace environments.

While all such equipment shall be subject to the inspection and testing regimes provided in AS/NZS 3760, it is important to appreciate AS/NZS 5762 specifies additional key inspection parameters to protect against mechanical injury, shock, and fire risks before the appliance re-enters service.

AS/NZS 5762 is also cited in Regulation 90 of the Electricity (Safety) Regulations 2010 (Testing appliances after certain work done on them) as a means of compliance.

Regulation 90 of the Electricity (Safety) Regulations 2010(external link)

AS/NZS 5762 and over 90 other electrical Standards are available for all licensed electrical workers to access from the Board’s portal:

Electrical Workers Registration Board portal(external link)

AS/NZS 3012 Electrical installations — Construction and demolition sites.

AS/NZS 3012 sets out the requirements for the wiring and ongoing safety verification of installations supplying commercial construction, domestic housing, and demolition sites.

This Standard specifies the various assessment inspection and testing procedures, and frequency that needs to be followed, on all electrical components of these sites, including builders’ temps, powered site sheds, cabling protection, switchboards, RCD’s, and other equipment.

The periodic assessment of construction and demolition installations is mandated in Regulation 75 of the Electricity (Safety) Regulations 2010 (Periodic assessments of certain installations). It places obligations on the owners and operators of these sites to ensure they are regularly assessed for electrical safety.

Regulation 75 of the Electricity (Safety) Regulations 2010(external link)

These assessments must be completed at specified intervals by an authorised person, in accordance with AS/NZS 3012 for the issue of a record assessment form, as prescribed in the Standard.

AS/NZS 3012 and over 90 other electrical Standards are available for all licensed electrical workers to access from the Board’s portal:

Electrical Workers Registration Board portal(external link)

It is important that regular safety verification checks and tests are carried out on construction and demolition sites to ensure electrical safety is maintained. Even more so now that some building and construction activity has been delayed for various reasons, and those installations and equipment supplying power to them are remaining in service longer than was originally anticipated.

Further information, along with guidance on electrical safety in construction, can be obtained from handy WorkSafe fact sheets, which can be found via the following link

Electrical safety on small construction sites(external link) — WorkSafe

Toolbox Update

Non-compliant RCD’s & NZ requirements on supply/sale of RCDs and changes – Energy Safety.

Energy Safety has audited the compliance of RCDs in New Zealand. The audit identified several RCDs that were non-compliant, some of which were unsafe.

Suppliers and installers of RCDs are reminded that, in New Zealand, RCDs are declared as both high-risk articles under ESR 84, and medium-risk articles under ESR 83. Therefore, they require a recognised approval or EESS registration and a Supplier Declaration of Conformity (SDoC).

An RCD intended for connection to New Zealand standard low voltage electricity supply must be marked with 230 V or 400 V, or a voltage range including 230 V or 400 V, e.g., ‘230/240 V’ or ‘400/415 V’.

Electricians are reminded that in order to avoid installing unsafe RCDs they should verify that any RCDs they install are marked as being suitable for use at 230 V or 400 V.

Suppliers are reminded that all approvals or EESS registration and test reports must confirm compliance of the RCD at 230 V or 400 V.

For enforcement purposes, RCDs marked 240 V or 415 V that were imported before 31 December 2020 may be supplied, provided that test reports confirm the RCDs comply with the testing requirements specified in AS/NZS 3190 at 230 V or 400 V.

TPS cable prohibition reminder from Energy Safety

Registered electrical workers are reminded of the prohibition of the use of the non-compliant and unsafe TPS (tough plastic sheathed) cable marked Certificate No. EESS-150102-0 and manufactured by Shanghai Jiukai Wire & Cable Co Ltd, comes into effect on 2 May 2022.

This cable must be removed from service by then.

For more information, please see the following link to the Gazette notice

Electricity Regulations (TPS – Cable Supply and Installation) Notice 2018 - 2018-au1501(external link) — New Zealand Gazette

Energy Safety tightens up approach to incorrect electrical safety documentation

All high-risk prescribed electrical work (PEW) must be documented and entered into the High-Risk Data Base (HRDB) within 20 working days of the work being inspected. Energy Safety monitors the use of the HRDB by auditing electrical safety certification documentation of high-risk PEW carried out by electrical workers. This documentation includes Certificates of Compliance, Records of Inspection and Electrical Safety Certificates.

The certification regime has been in place since 2013 and relies on electrical workers providing safety information about the work they have carried out on an installation. Therefore, as a requirement of the Electricity (Safety) Regulations 2010 (the Regulations), it is vital the documentation is completed correctly, on time, and in accordance with the Regulations.

In the past few years, Energy Safety has taken an educational rather than an infringement approach. This, in most cases, has resulted in offering guidance where they found non-compliance within the documentation issued by electrical workers.

Energy Safety is now changing its approach. Where the electrical safety certification documentation clearly does not meet the requirements of the Regulations, in most cases, they will now be issuing formal warnings and infringement notices, with supporting education as needed.

Energy Safety and the EWRB encourages electrical workers to ensure all safety checks are conducted carefully and thoroughly and that the associated electrical safety documentation meets the requirements of the Regulations. Furthermore, it is important to take time to review all internal procedures for testing and certification to ensure they are consistent with the Regulations.

It is also important that Inspectors should ensure any certification they have been provided with as part of their inspection has been correctly completed by the authorised person.

Practical guidelines on electrical certification dos and don'ts can be found on the EWRB website

Certification - Toolbox(external link)

Interview with Bree Rae (Aotea Electric Westland, Greymouth)

Background

Briana Rae, affectionately known as Bree in her community, believes she is the youngest female Electrical Inspector in New Zealand. Working for Aotea Electric Westland and based in Greymouth on the West Coast of South Island, Bree’s work takes her to geographically isolated parts of the country. She is unfazed by the challenges of a male-dominated sector and is making a real mark. Her ‘can-do’ attitude and approach, which reflects her values and commitment, has helped her mana to grow in the community and whanau she serves. Bree provided glimpses of her work life in New Zealand’s rugged West Coast.

What encouraged you to join the electrical industry?

It was my dad, who has been in this industry for decades, who first spoke to me about the prospects of the electrical industry, underlining the important work we do in keeping people safe in their homes and at work. Later, the career counsellor at John Paul II High School, where I studied, suggested the same pathway. It became more appealing to me when I recognised the opportunity of working in complex projects and playing a key role in keeping everyone safe and saving lives.

What do you enjoy in your role?

I like challenging projects. It gives me huge satisfaction when a project gets successfully completed on time. My work is all about helping people and keeping them safe. It’s quite rewarding. When I joined, there were very few women in the sector. Today, I’m thrilled to see more and more women coming forward to join the trade as Electricians and apprentices.

Can you share your experience about a project that you delivered under tough conditions?

One of the most complex projects I enjoyed was re-doing part of the electrical installations and connections at a milk factory in the West Coast. Having recently qualified as a certified Electrician, this was challenging and exciting at the same time. We got only six months, which is a short timeframe for delivering a project of this size, and the work had to be completed before the start of the milking season.

Where do you see yourself in the next five to ten years?

I like managing people and am passionate about working on projects. In the next five to ten years, I see myself as a project supervisor leading a team on large and complex projects.

Would you encourage one of your own family members, or a young female from your community, to join this industry?

I believe the electrical industry offers decent job and career development opportunities for women. It offers good job prospects and security because there is no dearth of electrical jobs in the West Coast. I would encourage more women to look at this sector as a viable career pathway for growth and development. By the way, my brother recently joined the sector as an apprentice.

Expressions of Interest – Investigations technical advisor panel

The complaints investigation team at MBIE carry out investigations into complaints received by the Registrar of the Board against registered and non-registered electrical workers.

The investigators are supported by a panel of Technical Advisors (TAs) made up of registered electrical Inspectors and electrical workers with expertise in their fields, who are skilled in reviewing and reporting on the quality of electrical work, and skilled in report writing.

The TAs are engaged to carry out inspections of electrical work and/or file reviews. The TAs are then expected to provide the investigators with technical reports on their expert findings.

We are currently looking to extend the members of the panel nationwide, so if this sounds like something that you or your company would like to be involved in, please contact me for further information.

Kathryn Young, Investigations Team Leader
investigations@mbie.govt.nz

Disciplinary hearings

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

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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.

Prosecutions

EWRB v Brenden Maere

On 2 August 2021, Brenden Maere was sentenced on one charge of performing prescribed electrical work (PEW). The defendant, who was trading as the sole director and shareholder of Keltech Security Ltd, installed and connected to the power supply cables in the ceiling and socket outlets for downlights at the property. The defendant also connected an oven and cook top to the power supply in the kitchen. The defendant was not a registered Electrician.

The Judge indicated that he would have adopted a starting point of $3,000 in respect of the prescribed electrical work. Given the defendant’s personal circumstances, however, including his unemployment, serious health issues and his need to support his family, no fine was imposed. An infringement was entered, and the defendant was discharged.

EWRB v Aaron Dempsey

On 7 October 2021, Mr Aaron Dempsey was sentenced for performing electrical work. In 2020, at his personal residential property Mr Dempsey completed electrical work including installing cables and socket outlets, and connecting a heated towel rail, an oven, and electric cooktops to a power supply. He sold the property and the new owners raised concerns with the electrical work at the address. Mr Dempsey was very apologetic and took full responsibility for the work, both to the Board and to the new owners, paying for a registered Electrician to do remedial work.

Mr Dempsey has never been registered as an Electrician and has no offending history. He was sentenced to pay a fine of $1500, along with Court and solicitor costs. 90 per cent of the fine was ordered to be paid to the Board.