Safety and business efficiency the core of gas and electrical certification changes

Issue 51 – July 2013

Announcement of certification changes for gasfitting and installation prescribed electrical work (PEW) from 1 July 2013

Better safety outcomes for consumers and increased flexibility for industry practitioners to improve business effectiveness and efficiency are the aims behind changes to the certification of gasfitting and prescribed electrical work (PEW) that take effect from 1 July 2013.

The changes are the result of amendments to the Gas (Safety and Measurement) Regulations 2010 and the Electricity (Safety) Regulations 2010.

The new regime means all gas and electrical installation work requires certification. Key elements are the classification of all installation work into three new risk-based categories (low, high, and general); a new online database for recording gasfitting and installation PEW classified as 'high-risk'; and the introduction of a Safety Certificate to verify that the completed work and connection to the energy supply is 'safe to use'. The regime also clarifies the roles and accountabilities for all those involved in the design, installation, and safety of work.

Brett Murray, General Manager High Hazards and Specialist Services at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, says safety remains a top priority and is a key motivation for the new regime. 'The changes provide for an improved certification process with a new risk-based system that emphasises safety and accountability for all gas and electrical installation work.

'Now that certification is required for all installation work, consumers will be in a much stronger position to raise a concern with their practitioner, or the relevant industry regulator, and help identify any concerns about poor quality or unsafe work practices.'

Three key aspects are designed to better manage risk and ensure safety for gasfitting and electrical work.

  • Formal risk-based categories for all gasfitting and electrical installation work will now mean work falls into one of three categories – low-risk, high-risk, or general work. This then determines the certification and verification requirements. These requirements do not apply to the limited range of electrical work that may be carried out by homeowners.
  • A new Electricity and Gas High-risk Database has been introduced to record key details of high-risk gasfitting and electrical installation work. The public can freely search the database for information about high-risk work at a particular location that has been entered. The database will assist Energy Safety, the Plumbers Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board, and the Electrical Workers Registration Board to improve the monitoring of high-risk work, so resources can be focussed on areas that have the potential for the greatest improvement in safety outcomes. The database will also help with auditing completed work and evaluating sector-wide professional competency and safety.
  • A Safety Certificate must now be issued by the gasfitter or electrical practitioner to whoever commissioned the work or the property owner, providing an assurance that the completed work and the connection to the energy supply is 'safe to use' and is lawful. The Safety Certificate must be issued within 20 days of connection to the energy supply and display the relevant Authentication Mark.

For industry practitioners, the changes enable certification documentation to be generated, issued, and stored electronically. Certificates will no longer need to be purchased from worker registration boards and can be incorporated into other business processes and documents, such as invoices.

This is the first time since 1993 that significant regulatory changes have been made to the certification requirements for gasfitting and electrical installation work. The amendments to the regulations have been led over the last 18 months by Energy Safety – a business unit of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. The process involved extensive industry consultation with a range of organisations including the Plumbers Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board, Master Plumbers Gasfitters & Drainlayers New Zealand, the Electrical Workers Registration Board, and the Electrical Contractors Association of New Zealand, whose members are responsible for implementing the certification regime.

Authentication Marks

The relevant Authentication Mark must now be displayed on certification documents for gasfitting and electrical work, issued by licensed, registered gasfitters, or electrical practitioners.

→ Read about the Electrical Authentication Mark and the Gas Authentication Mark(http://www.med.govt.nz/energysafety/forms/gas-and-electrical-marks-and-labels) on Energy Safety's website

Key changes to certification of gasfitting and PEW – at a glance

  • Certification covers all gasfitting and all installation PEW.
  • Certification is extended to explicitly certify that the completed work, including the connection to the energy supply, is 'safe to use'.
  • Work is classified into three risk-based categories – low-risk, high-risk, and general.
  • A publicly searchable database for recording work classified as 'high-risk' has been introduced.
  • Certification documents can be integrated with other business documents, such as invoices, and may be electronically sent and stored.
  • Roles and responsibilities for all those who affect the safety of work are clarified.
  • Better alignment of electricity and gas certification regimes is achieved.

→ Visit the Energy Safety website www.energysafety.govt.nz for more information on the certification regime – including practitioner guides, FAQs, and video presentations explaining the changes

→ Visit www.legislation.govt.nz to view the Gas (Safety and Measurement) Regulations 2010 and the Electricity (Safety) Regulations 2010, and Amendments

→ Energy Safety; the Electrical Workers Registration Board; the Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board; and Standards New Zealand have developed a series of online presentations to assist electricians, gasfitters, and other practitioners in transitioning to the new regulatory regime. View the presentations and other resources at www.standards.co.nz/news/regulations-and-standards/electrical-and-gas-industries/

Information supplied by Energy Safety, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

 

Published in energy.