Electrical Newsletter

URL: 
/newsletter-archive
Blurb: 

Stats, Tech Talks and Recalls. Click here to check out the spring issue of Electrical Safety News!

Final Approval Granted for Limited Scope Electrical Work Practitioner Training Program

New Westminster, BC, October 29, 2013—BC Safety Authority (BCSA) today announced that the association for Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of BC (ASTTBC) has completed development of its Electrical Work Practitioner (EWP) training program. The Provincial Safety Manager has reviewed the materials submitted by ASTTBC on October 16th, 2013, and has determined that the programs for EL1 and EL2 certification meet all conditions imposed by BCSA. The Provincial Safety Manager has concluded that these training programs will promote enhanced safety for the electrical industry and the public, and allow uniform enforcement and compliance with the Safety Standards Act. Final approval has been granted to ASTTBC to operate its EWP training programs for Class EL1 and EL2 certification.

Final recognition of the ASTTBC program means that ASTTBC will now be able to implement its processes and procedures for registered ASTTBC technologists and technicians to become certified as having completed training that will allow them to be eligible to apply for a BCSA credential to perform a restricted scope of electrical work within specialized fields.

In authorizing this program, the Provincial Safety Manager has stated that individuals who obtain a BCSA credential under a recognized training program will not be granted broad certification as electrical workers, and will not be a replacement for electrical workers who have obtained credentials issued under existing training programs, such as the electrical Red Seal program. ASTTBC-trained workers will only be granted permission to perform tasks involving electrical work being performed under a permit and under the supervision of a Field Safety Representative, and only where the work is within the scope of specialized training for technologists and technicians. Employers will still be required to utilize qualified electrical workers where the work requires the broad scope of training and experience gained by qualified electrical workers.

Under the terms and conditions for approval, ASTTBC will be required to continue consulting with industry stakeholders to identify opportunities for continued program enhancement. ASTTBC will also be required to conduct education programs for employers of technologists and technicians to promote improved understanding on the scope and restrictions for performance of electrical work by technologists and technicians. Requirements for continued education and professional development promote an improved understanding for employers, supervisors, and workers, and allow employers to make informed choices about electrical safety at their facilities.

“The ability to recognize and identify technologists and technicians who are authorized to perform this limited scope of work, enables uniform monitoring and enforcement of regulatory requirements for performance of electrical work under the Safety Standards Act,” said Ulrich Janisch, Provincial Safety Manager – Electrical. “These training programs will promote enhanced safety for the electrical industry and the public.”

ASTTBC members completing the ASTTBC’s EWP training program will be required to apply for and obtain permission from BCSA before they will be authorized to perform electrical work in accordance with Electrical Safety Regulation, Section 4(1)(b). BCSA will recognize proof of completing the ASTTBC training program to qualify for permission. To further address industry’s concerns about safety, BCSA will set terms and conditions on the work that may be performed. Development of BCSA’s application and credentialing processes is under way and is expected to be completed in early 2014. BCSA will make an announcement as to when ASTTBC technologists and technicians will be able to begin applying for the new, limited scope BCSA credential.

For more information regarding this process, the previous update (from September 25th, 2013) along with Frequently Asked Questions can be accessed at: http://safetyauthority.ca/news/limited-scope-electrical-work-practitioner-training-program-recognition-update

- 30 -

About BC Safety Authority

BC Safety Authority is an independent, self-funded organization mandated to oversee the safe installation and operation of technical systems and equipment. In addition to issuing permits, licences and certificates, it works with industry to reduce safety risks through assessment, education and outreach, enforcement, and research.

BC Safety Authority Warns of Uncertified Riske Creek Trailers

New Westminster, BC, October 23, 2013—British Columbia Safety Authority (BCSA) today issued a province-wide call for any owners or occupants of mobile homes manufactured by Riske Creek Manufacturing Ltd. (www.riskecreekparkmodels.com) and its principal, Andy Tower, to contact BCSA immediately.

BCSA has identified numerous instances of mobile homes being sold by Riske Creek and Andy Tower that do not comply with gas or electrical certification standards and may be hazardous for occupants. Riske Creek and Andy Tower are prohibited from using the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) label, which is required to demonstrate compliance with safety codes.

 

BCSA has issued numerous orders to Riske Creek and Andy Tower to disclose all uncertified units sold, but these orders have not been complied with and are currently the subject of various enforcement proceedings. Riske Creek trailers have been found with unauthorized CSA labels affixed and, in some cases, no CSA labels at all – in either case the required safety certification is not present.

 

“We are asking the public to immediately contact us if you are aware of any Riske Creek trailer models,” said Wayne Lock, Provincial Gas Safety Manager with BCSA. “Uncertified installation of gas appliances creates risks such as fire or carbon monoxide poisoning which can be fatal.” Risk of fire or electrical shock is also present in the trailers which lack electrical certification. 

 

“Based on the hazards and number of uncertified trailers discovered to date, there is an urgent need for occupants of these trailers to have the gas and electrical equipment assessed for safety by qualified gas and electrical contractors,” said Lock. “Contacting BCSA is the first step in seeking options to determine if your Riske Creek trailer is safe for occupation.

 

How to report Riske Creek trailers to the BC Safety Authority:

If you have any information regarding the existence of any trailer manufactured or sold by Riske Creek or Andy Tower, please email info@safetyauthority.ca or call BCSA at 1-866-566-7233.

 

- 30 -

 

About BC Safety Authority

BC Safety Authority is an independent, self-funded organization mandated to oversee the safe installation and operation of technical systems and equipment. In addition to issuing permits, licences and certificates, it works with industry to reduce safety risks through assessment, education and outreach, enforcement, and research.

Limited Scope Electrical Work Practitioner Training Program Recognition Update

New Westminster, BC, September 25, 2013—The association for Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of BC (ASTTBC) is in the final stages of developing its training program. BCSA anticipates that ASTTBC will make its final submission for approval by the Provincial Safety Manager in the coming weeks. If BCSA recognizes the proposed program, it will pave the way for ASTTBC technologists and technicians in electrical, electronics and biomedical engineering who have successfully completed ASTTBC’s training to receive permission from BCSA to perform a limited-scope of electrical work under a valid permit.

ASTTBC has incorporated industry feedback into its program development to address safety concerns. The revised program increases the minimum requirement for hours of training and practical experience from 480 hours to 1,500 hours, which is in addition to the two years of formal education and 4,000 hours of applied experience required for technologist or technician registration. This change provides improved clarification on the scope of work, and outlines the provision and validation of training. ASTTBC is planning to rollout their program in October 2013.

The Provincial Safety Manager has made clear that ASTTBC members completing the ASTTBC’s training program – if approved – will have to apply for and obtain permission from BCSA before they will be authorized to perform regulated work, within the scope of the proposed credential, and in accordance with Electrical Safety Regulation, Section 4(1)(b). BCSA will recognize proof of completing the ASTTBC training program to qualify for permission. To further address industry’s concerns about safety, BCSA will set terms and conditions on the work that may be performed.

BCSA believes that providing workers with training that promotes safe work and safe work practices enhances safety for the electrical industry and the public. ASTTBC’s proposed training covers those aspects needed for technicians and technologists to safely perform work on or around electrical equipment; these workers will not be trained as electricians and they will not be able to perform the general duties of qualified electrical workers. BCSA’s recognition of this training program will provide additional tools for business owners to have electrical work performed in compliance with the Safety Standards Act.

ASTTBC’s proposed training program will add to the existing training for technologists and technicians and enhance their ability to perform their job duties properly and safely. It will not expand those job duties beyond their current roles; they will still need certification as electricians if they want to perform the more general duties of a qualified electrical worker.

For more information regarding this process, we have developed a list of Frequently Asked Questions regarding the ASTTBC proposed training program.

Download the news release in PDF format.

- 30 -

About BC Safety Authority

BC Safety Authority is an independent, self-funded organization mandated to oversee the safe installation and operation of technical systems and equipment. In addition to issuing permits, licences and certificates, it works with industry to reduce safety risks through assessment, education and outreach, enforcement, and research.

BC Safety Authority takes 48 enforcement actions in the first half of 2013

BC Safety Authority (BCSA) has taken 48 enforcement actions against contractors, equipment owners and others doing work or using regulated equipment in BCSA-regulated technologies in the first half of 2013.

As part of an ongoing effort by BC Safety Authority to promote compliance with safety standards and legislation, 38 Compliance Orders were issued between January 1 and June 30, 2013 along with 10 monetary penalties.

A Compliance Order is a written document issued by a safety officer requiring that a person take action, stop, and/or modify their regulated work or use of a regulated product in accordance with safety standards and legislation.

Of the monetary penalties imposed in the first half of 2013, five were for Gas, one was for Electrical, one was for Elevating Devices and one was for Passenger Ropeways. Full details on these and other enforcement actions are published on the Safety Authority’s website at: http://safetyauthority.ca/enforcement/enforcement-actions.

In order to appreciate enforcement actions in the broader perspective of BC’s safety system, please refer to the State of Safety Report which can be accessed through the BCSA website at http://www.safetyauthority.ca/about/publications.

BC Safety Authority is an independent, self-funded organization mandated to oversee the safe installation and operation of technical systems and equipment. In addition to issuing permits, licences and certificates we work with industry to reduce safety risks through assessment, enforcement, research and education.

Gas and electrical equipment safety in floods

Recent, unseasonably high temperatures have many areas of the province preparing for higher than usual water levels and potential flooding.  There are serious gas and electrical safety implications to consider if you are living or working in an area experiencing flooding. BC Safety Authority (BCSA) reminds homeowners and businesses to take precautions with gas and electrical appliances when flooding is expected.

“Electrical equipment and gas appliances exposed to flood waters can be dangerous if they are re-energized and used without being properly inspected by a licensed contractor,” says Greg Paddon, Director of Technical Programs for BC Safety Authority.

“Moisture, debris and contaminants in flood-damaged equipment or appliances can sometimes be hidden and cause serious risks,” adds Paddon.

If electrical, gas or heating equipment is subjected to flooding it may become damaged, making it inoperable or unsafe. It is important to have the area of occupancy declared safe to enter by the proper authorities. It is also important that the requirements of other health & safety protocols have also been met. BC Safety Authority’s Information Bulletin on Emergency Post Flood Protocol for Re-Energizing Electrical and Gas outlines the requirements to restore electrical and gas service after a flooding incident.

If flooding is expected and time allows, do the following:

  • Have a licensed gas contractor remove gas equipment and systems.
  • Have a licensed gas contractor cap the gas pipe leading to appliances.
  • Remove electrical appliances.
  • Shut off the main gas and electrical supply.
  • Secure propane tanks to a stable structure to keep them from floating away.

If there is no advance warning of flooding or a licensed contractor is unavailable:

  • Shut off the main gas and electrical supply.
  • Ensure that all valves and power knobs on all appliances and systems are turned off.
  • Shut off the water leading to and from hot water tanks.
  • Secure propane tanks to a stable structure.

Extreme precautions must be taken when returning to a flood-damaged area:

  • If you smell natural or propane gas, leave the area immediately and call your gas utility, propane supplier, or 911. Natural and propane gas smell like rotten eggs.
  • If the main power and gas supply are still turned on, shut them off and do not step on a wet area if you must touch the main electrical panel.
  • Do not plug in or turn on any flood-damaged appliance or system. Call licensed gas and electrical contractors to do an inspection first.
  • Have a licensed gas contractor reconnect any gas system that was removed.

BC Safety Authority is an independent, self-funded organization mandated to oversee the safe installation and operation of technical systems and equipment.  In addition to issuing permits, licences and certificates we work with industry to reduce safety risks through assessment, enforcement, research and education.

Additional gas and electrical safety information for homeowners, including how to locate a licensed contractor in your areas is also available.

Tech Talk Videos: 2012 Changes to the Canadian Electrical Code - Part 1

BC Safety Authority is excited to announce that our popular Electrical Tech Talks on key changes to the 2012 Canadian Electrical Code are now available in an online video format. We developed these videos to provide members of industry throughout BC with access to this important information at times best suited to their individual schedules.

Information about code changes is important to everyone in the industry and we invite you to view these videos yourself, and let your colleagues know they are available using the “share” or “email” button on the video screen.

The videos are available free of charge at: www.safetyauthority.ca/tech-talk-videos

There are a total of 34 videos that range from two to thirteen minutes in length, each covering key changes to specific sections of the 2012 code. This enables you to view topics that are most relevant for you, and watch all or part of as many videos as you choose as many times as you wish.

We hope you enjoy the videos and find them useful reference materials.

 

Babine Investigation Report – BC Safety Authority Statement

BCSA’s primary concern is safety. We take our safety responsibilities very seriously and this is why all information collected during the Babine investigation which was pertinent to safety was released in a recommendations report and followed up with multiple Safety Orders aimed at addressing dust hazards in wood processing facilities. The most recent Safety Order was posted May 7: http://www.safetyauthority.ca/news/lakeland-mills-investigation-report-safety-order.

Throughout our investigations into the mill explosions of 2012, BC Safety Authority has worked collaboratively with agencies that have similar interests in public safety. In January 2013, BC Safety Authority made the choice not to release the full Babine investigation report to avoid compromising Crown Counsel’s review of a referral from WorkSafeBC. The following provides more information about our decision process:

  • Upon completion of our investigation into the Babine Forest Products incident, BCSA prepared an investigation report. This report has not been destroyed or compromised in any way. It remains completely intact and we still intend to release it at the appropriate time.
  • When we were originally preparing for the release of the full report, we shared the report with those having direct interests and related obligations (namely the owner/operators of the mill, other safety agencies, BCSA’s Board of Directors and our reporting Ministry).
  • We were approached by WorkSafeBC with concerns that the public release of the full BCSA report might jeopardize a future prosecution process based on WSBC’s referral of their own investigation findings to Crown Counsel. Therefore, WSBC requested we not release our full report until the conclusion of the Crown Counsel review.
  • A conference call was held to discuss the report in relation to Crown Counsel’s review. On this call were representatives from the Ministry of Justice and Attorney General, Ministry responsible for Labour (WorkSafeBC) and Ministry of Energy and Mines (BC Safety Authority).
  • BC Safety Authority carefully considered the request from WorkSafeBC and determined that releasing the information necessary to enhance safety was paramount. We thereby proceeded to release a detailed recommendations report in lieu of the full report.
  • BCSA further asked that any pre-circulated copies of the full report be destroyed to avoid inadvertent disclosure that might undermine Crown’s process.

BCSA has widely shared the recommendations report with industry and the public to provide the information needed to promote technical system safety improvements. Our recommendations and the associated Safety Orders are very specific and detailed to provide the appropriate guidance for wood processing facilities to assess and manage potential risks in their operations. We continue to work with industry and other agencies on this and other safety initiatives.

Lakeland Mills Investigation Report & Safety Order

BCSA INFORMATION UPDATE

BC Safety Authority (BCSA) has completed its investigation into the April 23, 2012 explosion and fire at Lakeland Mills in Prince George BC. The investigation results are not being released at this time to avoid compromising Crown Counsel’s review of a referral from WorkSafeBC. Based on findings from the two fatal mill explosions which occurred in 2012, BCSA has issued a further Safety Order to improve technical systems safety in the wood processing industry.

BCSA conducted an independent investigation into the incident to assess the installation and operation of regulated technical equipment at the mill. The goal of the investigation was to determine whether equipment or work subject to the Safety Standards Act contributed to the incident.

Recommendations arising from this investigation are consistent with those issued following the conclusion of the Babine Forest Products incident investigation. In summary, these recommendations call for improvements to:

  1. Standards and guidelines associated with the identification of hazardous locations due to combustible wood dust;
  2. Documentation of necessary plans for managing hazardous locations due to combustible wood dust; and
  3. Education materials and professional qualifications for individuals who conduct assessments of hazardous locations.

BCSA is actively promoting these recommendations by issuing the Safety Order: Combustible Dust Hazard in Wood Processing Facilities. This Safety Order establishes comprehensive guidelines for the configuration and operation of technical equipment subject to the Safety Standards Act in relation to hazardous locations due to combustible dust. This is the third Safety Order BCSA has issued to the wood processing industry since the incident occurred.

By working with industry to establish solid practices to manage hazardous locations in relation to regulated equipment, BCSA is promoting enhanced safety in the wood processing industry with the aim of preventing the recurrence of similar incidents in the future.

BC Safety Authority is an independent, self‐funded organization mandated to oversee the safe installation and operation of technical systems and equipment. In addition to issuing permits, licences and certificates we work with industry to reduce safety risks through assessment, education and outreach, enforcement, and research.

Safety Order:

Babine Forest Products recommendations report

Previous Safety Orders:

SO – wood pellet plants – fall 2012

SO – sawmills May 2012

Update: ASTTBC Request for Recognition of Training for Limited Scope Electrical Workers

In 2011, BC Safety Authority was asked to provide recognition of training programs administered by the Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of BC (ASTTBC). Under the Safety Standards Act, the Provincial Safety Manager has an obligation to review all applications for the recognition of training programs; decisions regarding the merits of an application must be based on considerations related to safety.

The application for recognition of ASTTBC programs is in three areas: electrical technologist or technician; electronics or biomedical technologist or technician; and registered fire protection technician. Recognition of the training does not interfere in any way with the ability of other qualified workers to perform the same work, such as electrical trades workers under the Red Seal program. The ASTTBC program supports national safety standards by requiring that individuals who have been performing this limited electrical work for many years confirm they have received proper training for that scope of work. Completion of the training programs will allow technologists and technicians to perform those aspects of electrical work that are related to the work normally performed within their professions.

After the initial review of ASTTBC’s application, the Provincial Safety Manager was satisfied that all electrical safety aspects of this limited scope work would be sufficiently covered under the proposed program and approval was granted subject to some conditions. BCSA will not recognize these training credentials until all conditions have been satisfied. As with all permissions granted by BC Safety Authority, there will be continual oversight of performance.

The review process has provided opportunities for stakeholder feedback through the BC Safety Authority’s Electrical Technology Advisory Committee, a special meeting and through the BC Safety Authority website. The ongoing review process continues to seek feedback through the Electrical Technology Advisory Committee.