Handing over the reins after 21 years

Derek Johns and Adam Murdoch

Longstanding Standards New Zealand committee member, Derek Johns, has stepped down from his role as chair of joint Australian/New Zealand committee EL-002 after 21 years. 

Derek also recently stood down as chair of International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) Technical Committee 61, Safety of household and similar electrical appliances after nearly 21 years at the helm and 9 years as the New Zealand delegate. TC 61 develops standards that are used in many countries to show compliance with the specific country legal requirements for the safety of electrical equipment. This committee is one of the largest and most active IEC committees. 

EL-002 is a joint Australian and New Zealand standards committee that develops standards for the safety of electrical equipment, appliances, and small power transformers, while in use with people, livestock, and the environment. The committee considers many safety factors when preparing standards, including personal protection against electric shock, effects of excessive temperature radiation, explosion, mechanical stability, hazardous moving parts, and protection against fire. The committee has 25 Australian and five New Zealand members, and meets twice a year in Australia or New Zealand, by rotation. New Zealand has managed the secretariat since 2001, providing technical and administrative services to the committee. 

EL-002 had its 156th meeting in Wellington from 12 – 15 August at which Derek handed over the reins as chair to Adam Murdoch who has been on the committee since 2009.

Derek says there is a close synergy between TC 61 and EL-002 and he felt the time had come for him to step down from leading the two committees. 

‘I am happy with what I have done over the years but it was time for someone else to take over. I will remain a committee member and will continue in a support role to our new chair as and when necessary.’ 

Derek will also remain on several other TC 61 sub committees and working groups. In 2012, he earned the Standards Council Award for Outstanding Contribution to Standards and, in 2007, he received the Lord Kelvin Award, which is the IEC's highest tribute for exceptional long-term achievements. In 2012 he received the IEC Thomas A. Edison award for exceptional current achievements. 

Incoming chair of EL-002 Adam Murdoch is Manager of Electrical Equipment Safety and Energy Efficiency for Energy Safe Victoria (ESV) and lives in Melbourne. ESV is the independent technical regulator responsible for electricity, gas and pipeline safety in Victoria, Australia. ESV’s role is broad and ranges from overseeing the design, construction and maintenance of electricity, gas and pipeline networks across the state, to ensuring appliances used in the home meet safety and efficiency standards. 

Managing the equipment safety department requires Adam’s attendance at Standards Australia’s electrotechnical committees for household appliances as an expert so he is active on the following Standards Australia committees:

  • EL-041 Lamps and related equipment
  • EL-002 Safety of household and similar electrical appliances, small power transformers and power supplies
  • QR-012 Conformance marking to regulatory requirements
  • TE-001 Safety of electronic equipment. 

Adam says it is an honour to be in the role of committee chair and he recognises the immense amount of work that Derek has done over the years. 

'Derek has been a mentor to me both nationally and internationally and it will be good to be able to continue to use him as a sounding board and tap into his immense knowledge base when I don’t have the answers or the background relating to a specific topic. I realise it will take a little bit of time for me to get up to speed and it will be a lot of work, but I am looking forward to the challenges and being able to make a difference.'

Adam is the Australian delegate on TC 61 and chair of sub committee TC 61H which looks after safety of farm appliances. He says his work with international standards stemmed from his involvement in the IEC Young Professionals Programme which brings together the world's upcoming expert engineers, technicians and managers and provides provides them with opportunities to shape the future of international standardisation and conformity assessment in the field of electrotechnology. 

‘The IEC Young Professionals programme provided me with a great overview of the IEC. As a young professional I gained expert knowledge and exposure to exactly how such a large organisation operates. I now have a comprehensive understanding of the growing need for international standardisation, and how this affects every aspect of trade and the wellbeing of end-users.’ 

Photo: Adam Murdoch (L) and Derek Johns (R)

Published in energy.