The project is comprised of members with wide and varied experience in the electrical industry, and who share a passion for safety.  The Project’s aim is to review safety in the industry in general and select specific issues where performance can be improved. The group has met on several occasions and has produced a series of consultation and research papers.

The overriding intention is to develop industry standard best practices to support safety in the electrical industry, both for consumers and workers on the job.  This extends to occupational competence and electrical compliance.

The Project has three broad objectives. The first and foremost is to protect consumers. Electrical installations must be confirmed as safe and the protection systems working as intended, before a job is handed over to an owner/customer. This means, they must be tested and confirmed to meet Australian standards and regulatory requirements by competent electricians. It also calls for existing electrical installations to be examined and updated, if a potential electrical hazard exists. Of particular concern with older installations is equipping them with lifesaving safety switches (RCDs), as recommended by Australia’s electrical regulators. In this area the Project’s first initiative is to publish a model best practice guide for recording and reporting test results to consumers.

Second, the Project is concerned about safety of workers on the job. We are all aware of the cost pressures prevailing in the construction industry and electrical industry in general, leading to short cuts being taken including, most notably, the increased use of unqualified ‘non-tradies’.  This latter practice significantly increases the risk to consumers.

The responsibility for workers’ safety legally rests with employers. However, employers face an uphill battle keeping abreast of changes in legislation, codes, standards and new equipment calling for new work practices. The first initiative of the Project in this area will be to develop model “Safe Work Procedures” that employers, particularly small business and self-employed, can adopt to ensure that their workers are competent to manage the risks associated with different tasks and different work environments.

Third, the Project will explore options to support and improve the quality of training provided by organisations training  electrical apprentices, as well as advocating for the introduction of refresher training for qualified electricians who may not have received any further training since they completed their apprenticeship and were first licensed.  This could well have been a few decades ago.

Group members consider it important that electricians be asked to provide evidence of their current competence when their licences are renewed, as well as advancing their technical proficiency through continuous professional development.

The Project intends to set model standards of best practice in these and other areas and to provide support for all government agencies, industry bodies and consumers concerned with safety in our industry.

The Project has now established a website and uploaded the latest information the Project is working on. Over time this will become a “go to” site for employers, electricians and consumers wanting to ensure the highest safety standards whether of electrical installations or workplace practices are known and maintained.

A new section too, has recently been added for consumers – building owners. The website is www.esproject.com.au.

The Project website aims to provide electrical safety information, as well, through the Group, key papers and research activities for public review and feedback. Current papers out for review and feedback include the following (ticked):

1ELECTRICAL WORK
1.01Selection and use of test instruments
1.02Test for de-energised
1.03Low voltage electrical isolation
1.04Commissioning and fault finding
1.05Live work
1.06Safe Approach Distances (SADs)
1.07Arc Flash Protection
1.07.1 ✔Arc flash PPE table
1.08Installation of mains & cable
1.09Installation of Pyrotenax cables
1.1Heat shrinking cable joints
1.11Installation of conduits in walls and ceilings
1.12Installation of cables in concrete floors
1.13Installation of buried conduits
1.14Cutting conduits and cables
1.15Lamps and outlets:
1.16Fluoro lamps replacement and disposal
1.17Removal of PCBs
1.18Disconnection/reconnection of equipment
1.19Current transformer electrical installations
1.2Removal of out-of-service equipment
1.21High voltage work
1.22High voltage switching
1.23Connection generators to distribution mains
2WORKSHOP & TOOLS
2.01Manual handling
2.02Use of hand and power tools
2.03Use of pedestal drills
2.04Hot work – welding and cutting
2.05Grinding and abrasive wheels
3HAZARDOUS MATERIALS
3.01Asbestos Minor Works
3.02Hazardous & dangerous materials
4WORK ENVIRONMENTS
4.1Height Work
Access
4.11 ✔Step ladders
4.12 ✔Straight/extension ladders
4.13 ✔Fixed ladders
Passive protection
4.14 ✔Mobile scaffolding
4.15 ✔Fixed scaffolding
4.16 ✔Elevated work platforms
4.17 ✔Work on roofs – restraint technique
4.18 ✔Fall arrest equipment
4.2Other environments
4.21 ✔Work in confined spaces
4.22Work in restricted/ceiling spaces
4.23Work in excavations/trenches
4.24Heat and UV radiation
4.25Cold conditions
4.26Work with lasers
4.27Noise
4.28Buried services
4.29Work near high pressure gas lines
4.3Hazardous areas
4.31Battery rooms
5PEOPLE
5.01Personal competence
5.02PPE
6MITIGATING CONSEQUENCE OF RISKS
6.01First aid
6.02CPR
6.03Fire fighting – portable extinguishers
6.04Evacuations
6.05Notifications

In relation to the safe work procedures (SWPs) , the aim is to make these SWPs, and more as they are developed and validated, available to all employers in the electrical industry (particularly small and self-employed) for download and customisation.  In this regard, contact Gidley at gidley@electrain.com.au for more information.

Visit and download the papers: http://www.esproject.com.au/