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#139038 - 10/11/03 09:16 PM How is Electrical work controlled and inspected in your region?
Dapo Offline
Member

Registered: 03/04/03
Posts: 52
Loc: Australia
What type of framework is in place to ensure safe electrical installations in your area?
We have just moved from a totally deregulated industry, too try and reverse a high trend in electrical incidents.

In Queensland Australia, new legislation and inspectorate was introduced last year. This has reintroduced sample inspections and limits on working live.
This includes powers to fine and or revoke licences of electrical workers, who have performed substandard or dangerous work.

Below is a cutting from our Sunday paper 12th Oct 2003.


"Fourteen tradesmen have been fined or had their licences suspended and two have been successfully prosecuted under new safety laws.

One of the court cases, in relation to unlicensed electrical work, resulted in a $20,000 penalty being handed down and a conviction recorded.

Electrical safety inspectors have also issued 20 on-the-spot fines for more than 80 offences, including the sale of equipment not approved or properly labelled.

The poor and potentially deadly workmanship included a wall socket made out of a soft drink can, and safety switches not connected.

Industrial Relations Minister Gordon Nuttall this week told State Parliament on the first anniversary of the Queensland Electrical Safety Act that the laws were brought in to help reduce the number of people killed and injured in accidents involving electricity.

"It's no secret that Queensland has had one of the worst electrical records in the country," he said.

In the financial year to June 1997 there were 20 electrical deaths in Queensland. There have been an average 11 deaths a year since then -- until 2002-3, with just one recorded.

The government has appointed 22 specialist inspectors to oversee the legislation.

In one case, a worker's licence was suspended after he left exposed live cables when connecting a hot water system. His negligence led to the homeowner receiving an electric shock.

And a supplier was forced to recall battery chargers for children's electric scooters. The chargers overheated and melted, resulting in exposed parts at a voltage which could have killed or seriously injured the rider."


Have those of you who have seen the deregulation of industry, seen a noticeable dropping of standards and safety?




[This message has been edited by Dapo (edited 10-12-2003).]

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#139039 - 10/11/03 10:02 PM Re: How is Electrical work controlled and inspected in your region?
Trumpy Offline

Member

Registered: 07/05/02
Posts: 8540
Loc: SI,New Zealand
Hi there Dapo!.
You say that you guys are moving back from a totally de-regulated system?.
Over here, we have been under de-regulation for some time and in my opinion, it's definitely been to the detriment to the trade and work standards.
Before the change, all Electrical work had to be permitted and inspected before you were even allowed to have it hooked up to the supply.
These days, work is really only inspected when New work is installed or changes are made to the MEN points in an installation, oh and Homeowners work.
But, I've done a few rewires in my time as an Electrician and one thing that always impresses me is the neatly clipped runs of cable up in roof voids and under floors, these days you never see these often, unless you're looking at your own job, pin-clips just don't get used these days here.
As you may be aware Graham, we have an EWRB Audit system here, that means that every July you get asked to submit 3 or 4 copies of COC's (they give you the no's) of work you have done in the last year and a local Inspector goes and inspects your work and reports back to the EWRB.
Where this falls down however, is that if you don't use COC's, you are not subject to the same treatment as those of us that follow the rules!.
Electrician's over here get prosecuted for the stupidest of things, but on the other side of the coin, if you get caught, you've only got yourself to blame.
 Quote:
In the financial year to June 1997 there were 20 electrical deaths in Queensland. There have been an average 11 deaths a year since then -- until 2002-3, with just one recorded.

Dapo, Are these Electrical worker deaths?
This is a shocking(ahem) figure for a group of people that should know better.
Really, I blame the law-makers, if they hadn't mucked around with the system in the first place, we would all know where we stand and there would be no confusion.
_________________________
Let's face it, these days if you're not young, you're old - Red Green grin

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#139040 - 10/12/03 03:53 PM Re: How is Electrical work controlled and inspected in your region?
pauluk Offline
Member

Registered: 08/11/01
Posts: 7693
Loc: Norfolk, England
In England, there has been just about zero regulation in the residential field: No licensing needed, no permits, no inspections, at least not of any official kind.

Years ago the PoCo used to carry out a few basic tests before applying power to a new installation, but that went away with deregulation. The attitude pretty much became "Once it leaves the meter, it's up to you."

Although IEE Regs. were held in high esteem, there was no legal requirement to follow them. New building regulations are set to change that -- See this thread:

New laws for U.K. Domestic wiring?

Commercial premises are more controlled, as they come under various Health & Safety at Work Acts, but there's still no permit/inspection system. It's just up to the installer to comply with the rules.

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#139041 - 10/12/03 09:39 PM Re: How is Electrical work controlled and inspected in your region?
Trumpy Offline

Member

Registered: 07/05/02
Posts: 8540
Loc: SI,New Zealand
Dapo,
Please also bear in mind that the majority of our Electrical Inspectors, still work for Lines Companies (the old Power Boards, before they were required by Gov. legislation to give up the selling of Electricity, now they are only allowed to distribute it?!).
A lot of us Electricians have a good working rapport with the Inspectors and there are others that don't, the Inspectors know whose work is up to scratch or not.
After all these guys were Electricians at one stage too!, they know what goes on.
_________________________
Let's face it, these days if you're not young, you're old - Red Green grin

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#139042 - 10/14/03 01:14 AM Re: How is Electrical work controlled and inspected in your region?
Dapo Offline
Member

Registered: 03/04/03
Posts: 52
Loc: Australia
Mike it sounds as if our systems are very similar, not only NZ and Oz but also UK.
We seem to be all following the same trends, total deregulation, followed by limited regulation. I think we may be following Paul and his merry men in the UK.

I think the majority of the people posting on this forum would agree that deregulation has been detrimental to the industry, the cowboys were always there and deregulation was like xmas all year round for them.
A lot of other good tradespeople have missed the opportunity to learn from their mistakes and then have trained others, so began a downward slide.

We also have area where electricians will slip through the safety net and will not have there work inspected unless something goes wrong.
You can be a full time electrician for an employer here and there is no need for a contractors licence as long as the electrical work for the employer is all in house.
Electricians also don’t need a contractors licence if they are performing work for their immediate families.

It is not only pin clips that do not get used, many a spark’s test instruments stay in their boxes, I sometimes think they should have display cabinets in the vehicles to put them in.

We don’t have a system of prosecuting for the sake of it, is usually for dangerous work likely to cause a shock or injury.

Those statistics are for over all deaths
Many electricians have felt increased pressure to work live here. This will of course increase the number of deaths and accidents of electrical workers if left unchecked.
I assume this would be trend in your area as well?

I am afraid confusion reigns supreme; we have not long ago had the third amendment to our wiring rules, with no public announcements or educational seminars.
I think the motto must be to make plenty of rules, change them a lot and don’t tell anyone about it.

How often have you found substandard work while performing your trade?
I think that I would find at least one job per week where the work performed previously was not up to scratch, during my time as a contractor.

As you mentioned you would see a lot of the older work which was inspected was usually very meticulous.
I don’t think the savings made by reducing inspections, would go close to paying for the costs, of personal and property damage and the cost of some of the unreliable work needing repair long before it is due.

[This message has been edited by Dapo (edited 10-14-2003).]

[This message has been edited by Dapo (edited 10-15-2003).]

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#139043 - 10/26/03 03:43 AM Re: How is Electrical work controlled and inspected in your region?
Trumpy Offline

Member

Registered: 07/05/02
Posts: 8540
Loc: SI,New Zealand
Dapo,
Sorry, but I missed your earlier reply to this topic.
Deregulation, as I see it, has done absolutely nothing for the safety levels that were VERY apparent, before this was undertaken.
Unregistered work still went on under the old regime, but it has just got worse, in the years since deregulation.
From most of the Electricians that I have spoken to, over the time that our "New Safety Regime" (Deregulation), has been in place, none of them can understand why on earth we have gone down this particular road.
The system we now have, is very Electrician un-friendly and puts all of the power in the customers hands, with regard to complaints about the smallest of things.
This can almost be likened to the "Big Stick" way of thinking, where you are told what to do and if you don't the Stick in the form of huge fines and Suspensions awaits.
Under the old system, you were actively encouraged to comply with the (comparatively simple) Regulations and you had real help and advice fron the Inspection Staff at the local Supply Authority (Power Board), if you mucked up your wiring, it would normally be found during the required testing, before livening occured, only under the Supervision of the said Inspector.
IMO, Dapo, they want to knock the Employer Licence system, used here and in other countries around the world, on the head, it is unfair.
Us Line Mechanics, in NZ used to work under this system, which is fine until you leave your employer, but you find that you have no real Qualifications, except with that particular employer, which you are at the mercy of, we all banded together a few years back to get the thing ended, because you are basically un-employable, unless a new costly, red tape filled Audit system is started up for you, and the Paperwork to keep a thing like this legit, is frightening!.
 Quote:
It is not only pin clips that do not get used, many a spark’s test instruments stay in their boxes, I sometimes think they should have display cabinets in the vehicles to put them in.

He He, That's a good one!.
Dapo, the pressure to work Live, must be an International thing, we've had some discussions on this particular topic over in the Occupational Safety Forum, but I would like to say, that if you don't HAVE to work live, DON'T, there is always a time where equipment and Mains can be shut down, no question.
I see sub-standard work all the time, considering that most of the Electricians work that I do, involves other Sparkies stuff-up's, you could almost call me a "Last Resort Electrician", as I normally get called in, when the customer is sick and tired of trying to contact the original Sparky, to get them back, or doesn't want them back.
Sad as this is, it's just reality!.
_________________________
Let's face it, these days if you're not young, you're old - Red Green grin

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#139044 - 10/26/03 04:17 AM Re: How is Electrical work controlled and inspected in your region?
:andy: Offline
Member

Registered: 10/18/03
Posts: 272
Loc: Germany
here in germany, you may only change or mount switches or receptacles for yourself, if you connect them to an existing line off the panel. you may not work in the panel (you may, if you find a master that checks and signs it for you).

installing and servicing meters and meter panels is only allowed to masters, if you do it yourself the energy supplier wont give you power.

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#139045 - 10/26/03 06:56 AM Re: How is Electrical work controlled and inspected in your region?
djk Offline
Member

Registered: 12/26/02
Posts: 1269
Loc: Ireland
Personally I would like to see some changes to the exsisting way of doing things in Ireland.

MCBs are cheap and I don't see why a few spares could not be included in most panels from day one.

These could be connected to radial circuits that terminate on a well layed out and labled box, perhaps in the attic, where a consumer, or electrican, could safely add extra lighting / power circuits easily without any need to open the panel at all.

You could have perhaps an extra 2 MCBs rated at 20 amps for which would allow for extra socket radials and perhaps 2 extra radials for lighting circuits.

RCD protection and grounding connections would all be correct and the consumer would never be tempted to open up the panel and be potentially exposed to a very serious risk of shock.

While, perhaps unlike the UK, most Irish consumers are loathed to open up the panel itself, many will just connect outdoor lighting, extra sockets, mood lighting and TV distribution equipment (amplifiers etc) to any random junction box with power in the attic!. Occasionally can mean that an outdoor flood light is connected directly to a 32A MCB / Diazed fuse!

I think DIY electrical work should be facilitated safely as banning doesn't really work as regardless of what the rules are people will attempt to do these things anyway!

I also think that a light and perhaps a couple of tough BS1363 sockets should be required by the regulations in the attic as people do need to install amplifiers, tv distribution systems, security cameras, phone equipment etc that needs power and it makes more sense for this to be done properly!

E.g. in our attic:

1 X Distribution amp (TV)
1 X Power supply for door camera
and some phone equipment that needs 230V AC.

[This message has been edited by djk (edited 10-26-2003).]

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#139046 - 10/26/03 07:13 AM Re: How is Electrical work controlled and inspected in your region?
pauluk Offline
Member

Registered: 08/11/01
Posts: 7693
Loc: Norfolk, England
 Quote:
many will just connect outdoor lighting, extra sockets, mood lighting and TV distribution equipment (amplifiers etc) to any random junction box with power in the attic!.

I see that in this area regularly. The main criterion used by some people when adding anything seems to be just the easiest source of power, no matter what circuit it's on.

Whenever I'm doing an extensive rewire on a house, I always suggest putting lights and a socket or two in the attic. It makes working up there so much easier, not only for myself while doing the rest of the work, but also for everyone else who follows.

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#139047 - 01/04/06 03:33 PM Re: How is Electrical work controlled and inspected in your region?
Trumpy Offline

Member

Registered: 07/05/02
Posts: 8540
Loc: SI,New Zealand
Hey Paul,
 Quote:
The main criterion used by some people when adding anything seems to be just the easiest source of power, no matter what circuit it's on.

Well it all comes from the same factory doesn't it, why split hairs?.
 Quote:
Whenever I'm doing an extensive rewire on a house, I always suggest putting lights and a socket or two in the attic. It makes working up there so much easier, not only for myself while doing the rest of the work, but also for everyone else who follows.

Good call mate,
I have always stipulated to customers that this is the best way to go, most of the time they don't agree, but you can only but try.
_________________________
Let's face it, these days if you're not young, you're old - Red Green grin

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