Control and supervision of electrical installation work
The question is regularly asked by consulting engineers, developers and clients whether it is acceptable for a registered person (single phase tester, installation electrician or master installation electrician) only to come on site once the installation has been completed in order to carry out the necessary inspection and tests for the issuing of a Certificate of Compliance.
This is a very important question, and one that all electrical contractors must consider, especially when tendering or quoting for work as the cost of supervision must be built in.
In terms of regulation 5(4) of the Electrical Installation Regulations 2009 (which are a Schedule to the Occupational Health and Safety Act), a registered person “shall exercise general control over all electrical installation work being carried out, and no person shall allow such work without such control.” Regulation 6(2) then provides that any person who does electrical installation work as an electrical contractor shall register annually with the chief inspector, or a person appointed by the chief inspector. The Electrical Contracting Board of South Africa has been appointed for this purpose. Regulation 6(4) then states, inter alia, that the electrical contractor must employ a registered person in a full time capacity, or is himself or herself a registered person.
In addition to the above, section 6 of the Construction Regulations, which are also promulgated under the Act, requires competent persons to be on site. In particular, section 22 thereof states that, notwithstanding the provisions contained in the Electrical Installation Regulations and the Electrical Machinery Regulations, the principal contractor shall ensure, inter alia, that competent persons inspect all temporary installations at least once a week, and electrical machinery on a daily basis; and the control of all temporary electrical installations on a site are designated under the control of a competent person who has been appointed in writing. A competent person is defined as a person having the knowledge, training, experience and qualifications specific to the work or task being performed.
According to a legal interpretation the ECA (SA) obtained some time ago, the phrase “exercise general control” does not mean that the installation electrician must be continuously present at the exact place where the work he is controlling is being performed. It is not possible to lay down firm guidelines as to the degree of control required as this will depend to a large extent on the complexity of the type of work being undertaken, and the experience of the employees who are performing the work. Generally speaking, the control and supervision should be of such a degree that it is effective in the particular circumstances.
In order to determine the effectiveness of the control over work being performed, the best that can be done is to refer to a laid down test case in the courts which, although not directly related, is of assistance. This is:
“The test…is what a reasonable (registered person) would in the circumstances regard as effective, adequate supervision and control”.
As a general rule, it would be advisable for the registered person who is in control of the work to be in the general vicinity of where the installation work is being performed. In other words, the control and supervision would have to be effective at any moment in time.
For such supervision and control to be effective, the registered person would, generally speaking, have to be able to check, stage by stage, the execution of the installation work so as to be satisfied that the work has been carried out in accordance with the safety standards prescribed in the Wiring Code of Practice (SANS 10142-1:2003) so as to be able to sign the certificate of compliance and test report when the job has been completed.
It must be emphasised that failure to comply with the above requirements renders not only the electrical contractor liable to prosecution, but also the client and principal contractor, all of whom could face substantial financial damages should civil action be instituted against them by any affected party. In addition, it is not acceptable to place the responsibility for the electrical installation on the electrical consultant as he is merely acting on behalf of the client and ensuring that the installation is carried out in accordance with the design. The consulting engineer is not an accredited person, so cannot “control” the work being carried out. That is the responsibility of the electrical contractor's registered person
i found this while cleaning out my PC...the last part of this statement is rather interesting.