Electron Issue 112

Keeping you up to date with the latest regulatory changes, exam reports, technical issues, consultation results and other issues affecting electrical workers - published February 2022.

Electron empowering today's electrical workers

Presiding Member's update

I hope all electrical workers managed to get a well-deserved break over the festive season. The early indications for 2022 are that it is going to be another challenging year. Awareness of, and adherence to COVID protection protocols and frameworks will be key in navigating the year. If you have not done so already, I suggest that you review your workplace policies, especially regarding mask use.

The Board has focused on mental health in several past issues of the Electron. Sadly, mental health continues to be a worrying issue within the construction sector, and the stresses created by COVID-19 will only add to those issues. It is a complex matter. Many are reluctant to talk about mental health or to seek help. Fortunately, there is a growing awareness of and focus on mental health issues, and there are resources that are available to assist those in need. If you, or someone you know, needs assistance, please consult a professional.

In this Electron, you will also find a reprint of an interview with an electrical worker who shares his mental health journey and links to helpful resources. Please take the time to review the article and to look at the resources mentioned.

Kia kaha, kia maia

Mel Orange
Presiding Member

Registrar update

Kia ora koutou,

Welcome to the 112th issue, and first edition of the Electron newsletter for 2022.

I trust many of you managed to spend some relaxing time over the summer with whānau and friends, refreshing yourself for what will no doubt be another busy year ahead. For those of you who worked through, I hope you have a decent break planned in the coming months.

Just a reminder for those of you who have subscribed to but are not receiving the Electron newsletter – could you please check your Safe Sender, security, or spam settings as these may be restricting your access. Subscription to the Electron is available from the following link.

Electron subscription(external link)

You may recall, last year we conducted an online survey for electrical workers to receive your views and suggestions on how service delivery could be improved or enhanced. We have now had the opportunity to review the survey results, and you can view a summary of our findings from the following link.

Electrical Workers Online Customer Survey

There are several electron articles I would like to highlight.

Emergency lighting

The Standards of the month feature two related standards from the AS/NZS 2293 series which establish requirements for the design, installation and ongoing maintenance of emergency lighting and exit sign systems in buildings. In the area of maintenance, these requirements also include information on service intervals, battery maintenance, routine servicing, cleaning of luminaires, and record keeping.

Ensuring emergency lighting and exit signage is maintained to the required standard is very important to safeguard the safety of persons during an emergency. I would recommend persons who are involved with installing or maintaining these installations to read this article and become familiar with the associated standards.

Licensing platform and access to portal

As you are aware, a new electrical workers licensing platform was introduced on the Board’s website and went “live” late last year. An article containing detailed guidance and resolutions to commonly asked questions has been included to assist any person that has yet to access or is experiencing difficulties accessing the portal, or with using their individual portal through the new platform.

WorkSafe/Energy Safety updates

Energy Safety have provided guidance on the application of Standard AS/NZS 3003, along with the safety provisions of Electricity (Safety) Regulations 2010 (ESR), with respect to the classification and inspection of medical locations and the periodic testing of medical equipment during an emergency.

There is also an update on the progress to amend the ESR (along with the Gas (Safety and Measurement) Regulations 2010). This will ensure the Regulations not only reference the latest Standards, but Energy Safety are also working to update the Regulations in a timely manner as new versions of Standards are developed.

Summary of submissions on new licensing framework

Following the Board’s consultation on its proposed changes to the electrical licensing regime, a summary of submissions has been published for public viewing. On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank all the individuals and organisations that took the time and effort to provide submissions.

Take care, work safely, and thank you for taking the time to read the Electron.

If you have any comments or suggestions for future Electron editions, please let me know by emailing Registrations@ewrb.govt.nz

Duncan Connor
Registrar of Electrical Workers

Standards of the Month

Featured standards

Featured Standards are the 2293 series which provide requirements for the design, construction, installation, certification, and maintenance of all the individual components of an emergency lighting and exit signage scheme. This includes central battery, single point, and self-contained systems.

AS/NZS 2293.1: 2018 Emergency lighting and exit signs for buildings – Part 1: System design, installation, and operation

This Standard provides designers, installers, and certifiers of emergency lighting and exit signage schemes with the relevant requirements and guidance for the provision of emergency lighting and exit signs to all designated spaces within a building to ensure an acceptable level of illumination for the safe evacuation of occupants from those spaces in an emergency situation. It specifies updated installation requirements, adapts the Standard to current technologies and terminologies, and deletes out-of-date references or methods.

AS/NZS 2293.2: 2019 Emergency lighting and exit signs for buildings – Part 2: Routine service and maintenance

This Standard establishes the performance criteria for the routine service and maintenance of emergency lighting and exit sign systems. This is to ensure these systems safeguard occupants by continuing to provide adequate emergency lighting, identify exits, and maintain direction to those exits in accordance with the approved design. It also specifies that documented evidence in the form of records and reports must be kept for all periodic testing, preventative maintenance, and survey work.

AS/NZS 2293.1: 2018 - AS/NZS 2293.2 2019 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)

Accessing the new Electrical Worker Portal

Important information for registering with the new portal

Electrical Workers have been contacting the Call Centre recently for assistance with access to the new EW Portal.

The main issue that electrical workers are currently experiencing is that they don’t receive the invitation link to their email address when completing the online ‘Request access to the portal’ registration form.

Request access to the portal(external link)

Please note, when completing the ‘Request access to the portal’ form you must ensure that the details you enter under the “Practitioner ID” and “Primary Email Address” fields matches the details we have on record for you in our system.

When entering details into the “Practitioner ID” field you must include the “EW” prefix of your EW number. For example, “EW999999”.

When entering details into the “Primary Email Address” field, you must enter the same email address that we have on record for you. If the email you provide in the form does not match the email we have in our record, our system will not recognise you, and we will need to manually send you an invitation code, which could result in a delay.

On our ‘Contact Us’ page we have included detailed instructions under ‘Ask a Question’ about “How do I access the EW Portal if I’m already a registered user” and “How do I access the EW Portal if I’m a new user”. These have been included below:

“How do I access the EW Portal if I’m already a registered user”

If you have not received an email invitation, you can have one sent to the email address we have against your electrical worker record by following the steps below:

  1. Click the Login button at the top of this webpage. This will take you to the Login page.
  2. From the Login page select the Request invite button. This will take you to the Request access to the portal page.
  3. Fill out the Request access to the portal form, enter the code from the image, and select the Submit button. This will send an invitation email to the email address we have against your record.
    1. Your Practitioner ID should be the same as your EW number. You must include the “EW” prefix in front of the numbers when entering your practitioner ID. If you do not know your EW number, you can search your details on the EWRB public register to find it.
      EWRB public register(external link)
    2. When entering your email address in the Primary Email Address field, you will need to enter the exact same details we have on record for you. If these details don’t match, our system will not recognise you, you will not receive the invitation, and we will need to manually send you an invitation code. This may take up to 10 business days. 

If you do not receive your invitation code by email within 5-10 minutes, please contact us to request one. Once you have received your invite, complete the steps detailed below for successful registration to the EW Portal.

If you have successfully registered with the new EW Portal, then you should have received an email invitation from us. To access your account, please follow the steps below:

  1. Open the email and select the Redeem Portal Invitation link. This will take you to a Redeem invitation page. The redemption code from the invitation email should copy automatically into the invitation code box. If it doesn’t, please copy and paste the link provided to you in your email invitation.
  2. Select the Register button. This will open the Welcome page of the EW Portal and allow you to log in using your preferred method: RealMe, Microsoft, or Google. If you do not have one of these accounts, you will need to create a new account by selecting ‘Create account’ after you have selected your preferred login method.

“How do I access the EW Portal if I’m a new user”

  1. Click the Register button at the top of this webpage.
  2. Fill out the Request an Electrical Worker account form, enter the code from the image, and select the Submit button. This will send an invitation email to the email address you have provided to us.
  3. Open the email and select the Redeem Portal Invitation link. This will take you to a Redeem invitation page. The redemption code from the invitation email should copy automatically into the invitation code box. If it doesn’t, please copy and paste the link provided to you in your email invitation.
  4. Select the Register button. This will open the Welcome page of the EW Portal and allow you to log in using your preferred method: RealMe, Microsoft or Google. If you do not have one of these accounts, you will need to create a new account by selecting ‘Create account’ after you have selected your preferred login method.

We will be sending out invitation emails in batches to the email address in your Electrical Worker record in our system. If you have not received yours yet, you will very soon. If you require your invitation code urgently, you can contact us.

Contact us

Resources on maintaining mental health and wellbeing in the trades

Mental health and wellbeing can impact the work an electrical worker carries out. Family, finances, work, and health pressures can become distractions, and when it comes to prescribed electrical work, the consequences of these distractions can be catastrophic. Being mentally present and focused on the task at hand is important.

The following article from Dave Burt on how mental health can impact on an electrical worker's life was published in a previous Electron – it has some valuable insights into how to get help. If you or any of your colleagues are struggling, make sure you reach out to one of the many organisations that can assist. You can read the article on our website here.

Shining a light on a dark time – an interview with Dave Burt

Issue #107 of the Electron also included an interview with an electrical worker who appeared before the Board in a disciplinary hearing in November 2020. He agreed to share his experience so that others might learn from what happened, as the case was one where external factors influenced the electrical worker’s on-job performance. You can read the article, “Interview with Leyton Lingard-Sharp”, on the EWRB website here.

Electron Issue 107

With changes to the COVID Protection Framework, please ensure you do what you can to keep yourselves and others safe. For support with grief, anxiety, distress, or mental health and wellbeing related to COVID-19 pressures, you can find information on the Unite against COVID-19 website through the following link.

Prepare and stay safe(external link) | Unite against COVID-19 (covid19.govt.nz)

CHASNZ has also provided resources from MATES in Constructions to assist trades workers on how to better manage their mental health and wellbeing. You can find site posters with information on health and wellbeing in the trades on their website here.

New Zealand COVID-19 Construction Protocols Resources(external link) | MATES in Construction (chasnz.org)

Interview with Ashley Yan

Ashley YanAshley Yan is one of three women on the seven-member Electrical Workers Registration Board (EWRB). A first-generation immigrant from China, she holds a Master’s in Engineering from the Auckland University of Technology. She is a Senior Lecturer at the Unitec Institute of Technology and is a member of both Engineering New Zealand and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. In this Q&A session, Ashley shares insights from her journey and how the industry is changing to encourage more women to join.

What encouraged you to join the electrical industry?

I came to Auckland as an international student 20 years ago. I’d always studied and never really worked with my hands. One day at my homestay there was a power cut. I remember watching the technician come to fix the transformer outside, and something just clicked. That was the moment I realised how important this industry is and that I wanted to give it a go.

What motivates you in your mahi?

Curiosity and problem-solving. I always want to find out how electrical systems work, what’s happening, and why there is no light. This industry has given me an opportunity to create value through both theoretical and practical work. Being mentored by successful women from the sector reassured me that I was on the right path, even in times of doubt.

If you had to pinpoint one career highlight so far, project, or moment, what would that be?

The Deloitte centre in downtown Auckland is a stand-out, about two years into my career. I wasn’t very physically strong at the time, and for months we were pulling out cables and drilling holes – a lot of hard physical labour. At first, it was challenging, but I persisted. It eventually became easier. One night following the job completion, I drove past the centre on Queen Street. I saw the lights shining throughout the building and, in that moment, I felt overwhelmingly proud.

As a Board member, what changes would you like to see to encourage more women to join the trade?

There is a need for more openness in the trade, especially around conversations on mental health, to support both women and men. I think a lack of this is one of the reasons why there is a divide. You only need to look at the stats to see the gap. I believe a very small percentage of workers in the electrical trades industry are women. There are both cultural and practical changes to be made. When I first joined the trade, you couldn’t get a hammer drill under 5kg. Now you can get good quality drills under 2kg. So rapid advances in technology are being made to make the industry more accessible and safe­ – but there is some more ground to cover.

Are there any key pieces of advice you’d like to share with young women wanting to join the industry?

Number one would be to have perseverance. It will seem hard at times, but it is worth it. Also, less self-doubt and more belief in yourself.  If you’re doing your best, people will see and appreciate it. That’s what matters. The last bit of advice I have is to exercise regularly and look after yourself. When your body becomes stronger, your mind becomes stronger too.

Medical Treatment Areas

With COVID placing more, and varied, demands on our hospitals, Energy Safety has issued a few exemptions from the requirement to follow all provisions of AS/NZS 3003. So, if inspecting work at a medical location, check whether the installation was carried out using one of these exemptions. Where it applies, reliance on an exemption should be a part of the documentation for the work.

For those carrying out electrical work associated with medical treatment, it is worth remembering that controls applying to electrical-medical locations are distinct from those applying to other special locations (such as hazardous areas).

For a start, the Electricity (Safety) Regulations 2010 do not determine where an installation is required to be in accordance with AS/NZS 3003. This is the responsibility of the medical personnel responsible for the location.

Nor do the regulations require a location being used for patient treatment to be in conformity with an existing, or previously recognised, relevant Standard for electrical-medical locations.

To allow for treatment in an emergency, or at a location not specifically constructed for medical treatment, the regulations simply recognise that treatment in the specially constructed area(s) is deemed to be safe. (See Regulation 25 – this regulation combines the requirements for installation, equipment, and usage.)

Please remember that the Regulations are risk-based, and have definitions of “Safe” and “Unsafe” (see Regulation 5) that have a “gap” for innovation. Noncompliance with provisions that are “deemed to be safe” does not create a situation that is “unsafe”.

In addition, the provisions of Regulation 91 give dispensation from periodic testing of electrical medical equipment during an emergency.

The important factor for those administering medical treatment is to understand that outside of specially constructed areas or regularly tested equipment there is an increased risk of an unexpected patient reaction related to electric micro-shock.

Amendments to the Regulations

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and WorkSafe have undertaken a substantive review of stakeholder feedback submitted on the proposed updates to citations in the Electricity (Safety) Regulations 2010, and the Gas (Safety and Measurement) Regulations 2010.

In doing so, further input was sought on some of the more complex aspects of the proposed update. With this additional consultation now complete, MBIE and WorkSafe are in the process of preparing advice to Ministers on the changes required in both sets of regulations. Concurrently, officials are undertaking work intended to streamline the approach for updating citations in these regulations to enable more timely updates in future.

This is a result of the proposed updates and changes that were put out for consultation in 2021, which related to over three hundred of the Standards currently cited in the regulations. This includes updates to currently cited Standards, the removal of withdrawn Standards, and the introduction of new Standards, particularly around electric vehicle charging infrastructure. MBIE also proposed a series of changes to reflect new international Standard setting bodies established since the regulations were last updated. The rationale for these changes, and discussion of some of the less straightforward changes, is detailed in the discussion documentation on the MBIE website here.

Updating the references to standards in the electricity and gas safety regulations(external link) | Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (mbie.govt.nz)

Stepped Licensing Consultation

The Board issued a consultation document on 20 September 2021 to seek feedback on its proposals for changes to electrical worker licensing. Consultation closed on 29 October 2021. The Board would like to thank all individuals and organisations that provided submissions and acknowledge the time, effort, and thought that went into them. The Board were pleased to see there was significant support and understanding for the proposed enhancements and intended safety outcomes.

As a result, the Board will make clarification adjustments to the final draft of the Gazette Notices prior to seeking Ministerial approval and publication. An update on the implementation timetable will be provided following the Ministerial approval process.

A summary of submissions can be viewed on the EWRB website from the following link:

Consultations

Disciplinary hearings

The Board hears a high number of cases that involve a failure to provide certification within the specified time frames set out in the Electrical (Safety) Regulations 2010. Certification is important, especially within a regulatory framework that allows for self-certification. Failures to adhere to the legislative requirements are serious and need to be dealt with in a manner that deters other electrical workers from fulfilling their obligations.

Failure to provide certification is a form of strict liability. The Board, when deciding whether a disciplinary offence has been committed, does not have to consider whether the failure was deliberate or mere inadvertence. It is enough that it was not provided in the specified time frame.

Electrical workers should also note that, under regulation 74H of the Electrical (Safety) Regulations 2010, a person commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a level 2 penalty if he or she fails to comply with any of the requirements of regulations 74E to 74G which cover record keeping. A level 2 offence, in the case of an individual, carries a fine not exceeding $10,000 and, in any other case, a fine not exceeding $50,000. The provision reflects the importance of certification and of ensuring it is issued in a timely manner.


The Board recently dealt with a matter where the electrical worker argued that he did not have to provide an Electrical Safety Certificate (ESC) as well as a Certificate of Compliance (CoC). The Board noted that, where a combined CoC/ESC is provided, the detail that is contained in the CoC portion does not have to be repeated in the ESC. This is allowed for in regulation 111A, which is designed to prevent unnecessary duplication of information. However, the Board also noted that the two certificates are different. They serve different purposes, and the regulations clearly require two documents, a CoC and an ESC, which can be contained in one document.

The fundamental difference between a CoC and an ESC is that the latter must include a statement that the person issuing it is satisfied that the installation or part installation is connected to a power supply and “is safe to use”. The “safe to use” statement is not a CoC requirement. The required statement in a CoC is that it is “safe to connect”.

Another form of strict liability offence is carrying out prescribed electrical work in a manner that is contrary to any enactment relating to an electrical supply or prescribed electrical work that was in force at the time the work was done (section 143(a)(ii) of the Electricity Act 1992) in that the Board does not need to find that there was any intention, fault, or negligence. A charge before the Board under section 143(a)(ii) usually arises because AS/NZS 3000 has not been complied with. This is because regulation 59 of the Electrical (Safety) Regulations 2010 stipulates that all low and extra-low voltage installations must comply with AS/NZS 3000:

  • 59 Low and extra-low voltage installations to comply with AS/NZS 3000
    • (1) Every low or extra-low voltage domestic installation, or part of a domestic installation, must be installed, tested, inspected, and connected so as to comply with Part 2 of AS/NZS 3000 if it has a maximum demand at or below—
      • (a) 80 amperes per phase if single-phase; or
      • (b) 50 amperes per phase if multi-phase.
    • (2) Every other low or extra-low voltage installation or part installation must be installed, tested, inspected, or connected so as to comply with either—
      • (a) Part 2 of AS/NZS 3000; or
      • (b) a certified design prepared in accordance with Part 1 of AS/NZS 3000.

The Board’s disciplinary decisions can be viewed online

October 2021
Finding Penalty

Practitioner 1

The electrical worker failed to provide a Certificate of Compliance within 20 working days as required by regulation 74E(2) of the Electricity (Safety) Regulations 2010.

The Board adopted a starting point of a fine of $500, which it reduced to $250 on the basis that the electrical worker accepted his failure, and the matter was dealt with on the basis of an agreed statement of facts. He was also ordered to pay costs of $250.

Practitioner 2

The electrical worker carried out prescribed electrical work in a manner that was contrary to the provisions of AS/NZS 3000:2007 and provided a false or misleading return.

The Board adopted a starting point of a fine of $750, which it reduced to $250. The electrical worker had learnt from the matter and had changed his work practices as a result. He also accepted his failings, and the matter was dealt with on the basis of an agreed statement of facts. He was also ordered to pay costs of $250.

November 2021 Finding Penalty

Practitioner 1

The electrical worker carried out prescribed electrical work when not authorised to do so and provided a false or misleading return. The offending came about because of the electrical worker not renewing his practising licence.

There were no issues with the prescribed electrical work that had been completed, another licensed person was on site who could have supervised the electrical worker and certified the work, and there were other strong mitigating factors. The Board decided to censure the electrical workers and order him to pay costs of $250.

Practitioner 2

The electrical worker provided a false or misleading return. The matters were technical in nature and involved the use of combined forms. The matter is discussed above.

There were extenuating circumstances and mitigating factors present. The Board decided that it would not take any disciplinary action but did order that the electrical worker pay costs of $250.

Practitioner 3

The electrical worker carried out prescribed electrical work in a negligent manner and provided a false or misleading warrant of electrical fitness. The Board followed its previous decisions that certification of caravan is prescribed electrical work as it falls within the definition of maintenance.

The Board decided to adopt a starting point of a fine of $1,500. It reduced the fine by $500 on the basis that the Respondent accepted his wrongdoing and by a further $500 in recognition of other mitigating factors that were present. He was ordered to pay costs of $250.