Surviving an Electrical Safety Audit-
by Darrel Vecchio CEO
Some people may think I am crazy- I love Audits ! , as I have no issues with being audited, in fact I have held an Electrical Contracting Licence since 1983 – yes hard to believe 36 years. During this period I have been audited by the ESO back in 1992 , and with the Registered Training Organisation licence , Bizmatrix has been audited by the Department of Education for initial registration once post registration and twice for change in scope which included the ESO and the Gas inspectorate, then in recent ASQA for 5 year renewal , yes a sum total of five times over 10 years, then further audits for the Individual gas certification area.
The key to a good audit and surviving:
- The auditor is looking for compliance .
- Always be prepared to be audited- as in; do it as a daily process…..
- Do not leave it to the last minute to be prepared!
- Know the standard you need to achieve- then lift the standard above the minim-
- Do more than the minimum.
The Electrical Safety Office advised in a recent eSafe Electrical alert- they would be conducting Electrical safety audits on ; Plumbers , which will also affect Gas fitter/ plumbers and Gas service specialist companies.
These audits are not new, in fact all Electrical Contractors, as in Full licenced and restricted licenced electrical holders and Test and tag Electrical contractors should be aware of there statutory requirements.
Even though the ESO is focusing on one particular trade area ( plumbing ) it does not mean you will miss out on an audit.
This is the statement released- I have inserted some solutions to assist you to be compliant and stay compliant .
ESO ALERT : Plumbers who perform electrical work under their QBCC trade contractor licence are deemed to hold an electrical contractor licence. The Electrical Safety Office is auditing plumbers performing restricted electrical work as part of their business to ensure they are meeting their electrical safety duties.
- All electrical work must only be performed by an electrically licenced person- and only perform incidental electrical work for their call of trade !
- If you Do Not Hold the required Restricted or full electrical licence- Cease any electrical work immediately.
ESO audits all electrical contractors to ensure that electrical work is:
#1-Only performed by appropriately licensed workers.
Know your Restricted Electrical licence limitations ! –
- -Maximum Voltage 250 VAC or 415 Vac.
- -Type of equipment –Incidental electrical service / repairs or Disconnect reconnect around your trade-
- —Plumbers ( hot water systems only ) ( Only the appliance )
- —Gas fitters ( Gas gear around your gas licence or authorisation) (Only the appliance)
- -Register all REL technicians -with licence class-and due dates of licence.
- -Do not forget the CPR and LVR if applicable.
Regular Toolbox meetings-(all staff) with reminders on limitations and safe work processes and compliance-processes etc-( Register attendance)
-What are the penalties of un-licenced work !
- Apart from injury or death, DIY electrical work is regarded as unlicensed electrical work, which is illegal, and has penalties of up to $40,000 for individuals.
- A breach that exposes an individual to a risk of death or serious injury or illness attracts a maximum penalty of $600,000 for an individual ($3,000,000 for a corporation) or five years imprisonment.
- Keep within the limitations of the electrical licence- including Type of area and maximum voltage -EG: ” Only Hot Water systems 250 VAC – Disconnect and reconnect” )
-What evidence, procedures and training / to confirm they know…
-What safety PPE is required and do you have the evidence of Restricted licence person acknowledging …
- -Have a Safe Work Method Statement that you follow for each job !
- -Do you have a Safe Operating Process-Gloves when working near live electrical –( NEAR )
- -Check sheet-Certificate for every job-Sign off.
- -What’s in the sheet-Who did the job-Test results –Earth-Polarity etc
- -Checksheets to keep you honest –Can be used as evidence ! For doing the right thing.
- Test procedures & Policies-( evidence of regular training )
Failing to perform the work safely as well as failing to maintain adequate records for the risk assessments and the safe work method statements, will attract fines for the person conducting the business unit and the individuals doing the work.
Electrical Safety Regulation 2013 Section 23 Record Keeping lists all the penalties
#3-Tested to ensure it is safe.
- Where is the evidence ? To confirm the job was tested and is electrically safe?
- Paperwork , sign offs and declarations .
- Where the company has confirmed to the REL person and the dispatcher on their licence limitations.
- Every electrical service job or installation requires a safety declaration as per the example- and the tested findings!
Sample of a certificate that lists the test results and what was completed and tested – plus the declaration .
Certificate of testing and safety- The certificate must certify that the electrical equipment, to the extent it is affected by the electrical work, is electrically safe.
The contractor must, as soon as practicable after testing the electrical work, ensure that the person for whom the electrical work was performed is given a certificate complying with this section. Maximum penalty—40 penalty units ( Approximately $6,000 per occurrence )
A licensed electrical contractor must keep a copy of a certificate given under this section for at least 5 years after the certificate is given.
Maximum penalty for subsection (5)—20 penalty units ( Approximately $3,000 per occurrence)
The ESO E alert continues …..
The audits also cover requirements for energised electrical work, isolation and lock out procedures, and documentation and record keeping requirements.
While compliance audits are a good opportunity to engage with an electrical safety inspector, they may also identify failures to meet some of your electrical safety duties.
This will result in enforcement action, which could include statutory notices being issued. You will need to comply with these notices and inspectors will follow up to ensure you do.
It is too late to become compliant the week before an audit- the facts are if you have an electrical contracting Licence or conducting electrical work under the QBCC licence-
then you will get an audit.
So make every day from the start – keep compliant as a daily event:
Things to do to stay compliant .
- Seek advise from a specialist that can assist to put in the correct systems and forms.
- Bizenergy can assist with processes- email here
- Do a fresher course that keeps you up to date. Bizmatrix has a range of courses to fit – Don’t wait. check out these courses
- Do a self internal audit of your systems.
- Do regular team training meetings/ toolbox sessions and take a record of the subject and who did the training.
- Do regular internal refresher training for PPE – Electrical gloves, testing for earth etc.
- Weekly reminders, whats new with electrical safety –
- Keep up with the latest alerts – register on the Electrical Safety office or ESV in Victoria has the same .