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Posted By Topic: Overseas imports doing Electrical work in NZ

Tradie69
Dec 17 2019 21:52

I recently started a new Job For a Large New Zealand company. I was employed as a soul maintenance electrician but on the first day they informed me that I'd be working along side Foreign imports who have no New Zealand Qualifications but apparently are qualified Electricians in their own country. They have been employed here because not enough NZ Electricians can be found. I understand the reasons and these guys are OK people just trying to improve their lives but what concerns me is that soon I feel I may be expected to accept these un registered guys doing prescribed Electrical work along side me in an environment where alot of Guests Live. I have made it clear that there is no way I'm signing off their work and so far my manager is Ok with that but (because this company is large and have imported alot of these guys) I'm wondering if there is something I don't know about. I'm the only registered sparky .... are they going to be Using my registration without me knowing?. I'm just interested if anyone could shed any light on this because I'm expecting it to become more of an issue soon.
   

AlecK
Dec 18 2019 08:42

There's only two ways this can work, and both require supervision by licenced electrical workers.
Go to EWREB website and get BOTH guidance documents on supervision.

The basics are that Section 74 of the Electricity Act has a default requirement that persons doing or assisting withprescribed electrical work must be authorised. The usual form of authorisation is a Practising Licence issued by EWRB, but there is also the option of an Employer Licence (where the employer caries all responsibility, compared with the personal responsibility that individual PL holders carry. The paperwork and safety systems for operasting under an Employer licence are such that almost nobody uses that option. It was designed for networks, but most of them use PL holders instead (they'd rather the workers carried the responsibility); but at least one metering installer uses this option.

The Act then allows several Exemptions from needing to be authorised. These foreign guys won't hold a personal exemption under S. 75; so they will either be trainees under S. 77, or most likely "persons under supervision" under S. 76.

A person under supervision is basically an alectrical labourer. They can do any kind of PEW that the person supervising them is authorised to do; but NOT on any fittings that are connected to a power supply. That's not simply "not live"; it's not connected in any way at all.
Plus testing & connection has to be done by a PL holder.

The big differences for trainees are 1: a trainee must have a training agreement in place; and 2: a trainee can work on fittings that are connected to supply, and even on fittings that are live. A trainee should also have a "trainee limited certificate" issued by EWRB.

Which explains why there are two lots of supervision guidelines, 'cos clearly supervision of trainees on connected / live fittings is a very different thing from supervision of labourers on stuff that is not connected to any supply.

Note that supervision & certification are different things. You've made it clear you won't certify their work; but somebody has to (maybe your boss?). If your licence number is used by anyone else; that would be fraud.

The danger for you is that you might be being used to supervise people without knowing you've been put in that position (or being paid for the responsibility). The EWRB guidance tells you what "supervision" means for each type.
   

Tradie69
Dec 18 2019 21:29

Thank you So Much for that. I really appreciate it. The company I'm working for are so big that I hope I can trust them but yep .... I feel that I need to watch my Back. Oh and I'm very familiar with that Metering company you mentioned because I worked for them for 2 years .... and I Well know that they had un-licenced employees doing un supervised switch board work. Which is why I've asked these questions.
   

MitchB
Dec 19 2019 10:53

You stated that they import these unregistered guys because they can't get qualified NZ sparkies. This infers that they're doing PEW. When you do any CoC or ESC, ensure that you stipulate with as much detail as possible what you (and you alone) have done, so as to prevent their work coming under your supervision/certification.
   

gregmcc
Dec 19 2019 17:31

Does your employer have an employer license? Maybe that's how they are getting around the registration requirements
   

Tradie69
Dec 26 2019 19:44

Yes I'm being very particular in what I right on my ESCs. I don't know for sure if they are operating under an Employer License ..... but am pretty sure they are not. I've had no direct contact with those higher up. I just deal with my Manager (who has sort of been dumped in the deep end too) ..... talking to the Foriegn guys in question .... no one has informed them what they need as far as legal requirements and they have done no courses what so ever. I can't believe that this (very big ) particular company have not got a plan . The 2 imports on my site are actually good guys and appear to know their stuff .... but that's beside the point. I should make it clear
as yet ( because of my protests) these guys are not doing prescribed electrical work.
   

SparkyJoe
Jan 08 2020 16:59

I rocked up from the UK with no nz licence, I got a job with an agency within a day. Spent a bit of time working as a trade assistant where i ran a job for 4months and someone else signed it off. have now got the licence but yeah anything goes apparently



   

Andrew
Jan 13 2020 11:37

Probably best to raise it with the workers who might face being asked to illegally perform PEW. Let them know what the law allows (given that you won't be signing off their work), what the penalties are for unregistered work, and what their path to registration is. Depending on where they're coming from, they might just have to submit some paperwork and pass an exam or two to get registered.
   

daniel2
Jan 13 2020 13:01


‘I rocked up from the UK with no nz licence, I got a job with an agency within a day. Spent a bit of time working as a trade assistant where i ran a job for 4months and someone else signed it off. have now got the licence but yeah anything goes apparently ‘

Yes, this is typical in the electrical industry in NZ.
   

Tradie69
Feb 11 2020 21:05

So at least someone was signing it off. The problem is still on going with me. I've put my foot down but they at least want the Guys to go and flick on tripped circuit breakers (which are protecting accomodation rooms)..... a service which the company makes good money from. I'm saying that they have to sign an ESC for this. But they still have not been in touch with the EWRB. They have no NZ certification at all.

   

evanh
Feb 12 2020 01:57

Sounds like the manager should be more proactively contacting EWRB about getting them licensed.

   

Benjl
Feb 12 2020 06:49

I find it amazing that they cant find enough NZ electricians, I'm an electrician had have been applying for jobs for the last 6 months, I've only ever heard back from 2 companies. I have pretty much given up now on finding any job and started my own business instead.

I know it's got nothing to do with my workmanship as my customer reviews have been extremely positive, and I'm in my 30's so can't be my age, I have a wide scope of skill sets so doubt it's that ether and i've never had any employment issues.

This is probably off topic, I just find it very frustrating when people talk about a trade shortage and not being able to find NZ electricians. Maybe I just had the worst luck at finding a job. (i'm currently employed I just wanted to change)
   

AlecK
Feb 12 2020 08:23

Side issue; but turning on mcbs is not PEW, so why would an ESC be needed?
   

Tradie69
Feb 12 2020 20:22

Alec. I'd like to Know what the EWRB says about it but personally I've always believed that there is alot of responsibilty when we ( as paid Electricians) turn on a tripped breaker. Why did it trip? . Finding that answer is the job of a registered electrician. ....I'm talking legally. If someone got electrocuted or there was a fire because the circuit actually had a fault in it ..... and it's found that an un licensed person was paid to turn the breaker on then someone s going to be for the high jump. Is the property covered by insurance if an unregistered electrician has done the work.

Should I even care anymore? ..... I guess if these guys have no New Zealand qualifications then I guess they have nothing to lose!! ..... is this how big business operates?
..... are the rules only for the small electrical companies?.
   

Tradie69
Feb 12 2020 20:50

Oh and Benjl .... I'm truely surprised that you have trouble finding work. I think if you're willing to work hard at anything including digging trenches for cables then there should not be problem to get a basic electrical job. However I certainly think it's hard to find a great job with a good employer.
   

AlecK
Feb 13 2020 08:59

Schedule 1, clause (2), makes it very clear that it's not PEW. I doubt even the Board could arrive at a different conclusion.

True finding a fault generally needs a trained person, and may well require PEW; but just switching on, or replacing a fuse link, isn't PEW.


   

Benjl
Feb 13 2020 23:17


Tradie69
Feb 12 2020 20:50


Oh and Benjl .... I'm truely surprised that you have trouble finding work. I think if you're willing to work hard at anything including digging trenches for cables then there should not be problem to get a basic electrical job. However I certainly think it's hard to find a great job with a good employer.

I tried everything, I even tried to get a job through temping agency's. My current employer is ok but I was finding my wage wasn't enough to cover the household commitments and to replace my warn out tools, I started to pickup weekend work for myself to pay for the tools but it didn't really seem fair when they would get used to death at my normal work (I felt the employer should at least contribute something). I now find myself in the position where I gave up trying to get a new job, I started a company and work fulltime during the week and Saturday and Sunday for my business which I now have also hired someone to help me out because I've ended up too busy. I always get great reviews from my customers so I know I do a good job. I virtually never take a sick day, I'm extremely driven to always find a solution when it looks like there is non, I always put in what ever it takes to achieve the objectives/goals. I always test and have even made up my own test result forms, I know lots of people don't test properly but I find now that it comes so naturally that I couldn't imagine not doing it.

I feel this big tradie shortage is a load of BS, there is plenty of jobs advertised however I do know some companies advertise just to tick the boxes.

P.S. I've never had a problem digging trenches, I like to figure out how long it should take then race myself to beat that time, its always satisfying when you see the finished trench to the correct depth.

A great job with a good employer is definitely the hard one to find.