Issue 133 July - August 2019

Please note: The issue content below is just a summary of the articles in the printed magazine.
The articles are not available on-line. Please refer to the printed magazine for the complete article.
Eaton expands distribution in New Zealand

Electricians and engineers now have more electrical product choice following Eaton’s decision to expand its distribution in New Zealand.

The company is strengthening support for its current distribution channels and appointing new Eaton distributors to introduce a greater range of products for all sectors in the electrical industry, says the company’s Power Distribution marketing manager, Simon Rigling.

“Eaton is a global technology leader in electrical products and we are building a stronger presence in New Zealand to support electrical professionals working in areas such as power distribution, automation, motor control and lighting as well as test and measurement via our Kyoritsu partnership.”

Rigling describes Eaton as a widely diversified power management company committed to improving the quality of life and the environment through the use of power management technologies and services. Part of Eaton’s expanding commitment to the New Zealand market is the introduction of more products and services as well as the appointment of additional channel partners such as newly appointed distributor, Eurotec Ltd as an authorised solution provider for Eaton variable speed drives in the HVAC and refrigeration sector.

Charge fatally flawed

The sequel to an injury to an electrician was played out in the Invercargill District Court earlier this year when the electrical contractor he was working for was fined $150,000 following an arc flash incident.

The contracting company had pleaded guilty at the first available opportunity to a charge it could have defended but chose not to on the advice of its lawyer.

This case was prosecuted by WorkSafe New Zealand and raises many questions all tradesmen and electrical contractors need to consider because, according to Hugh Murray of Wallace Murray Electrical Ltd, the circumstances surrounding the incident and its aftermath could happen to anyone.

The incident that gave rise to the prosecution occurred while an electrical worker was carrying out electrical work on an electrical installation.

ElectroLink asked WorkSafe, which is both the electrical regulator today and the workplace regulator, why WorkSafe didn’t investigate this electrical incident involving an electrician under electrical law instead of the generic Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA).

This question was asked because the electricity legislation relating to the safety of electrical installation work is built on the competency-based worker licensing regime run by the EWRB, and any prosecution that disregards its pre-eminence is an attack on Parliament’s decision to authorise licensed electrical workers as the arbiters of safety in carrying out their prescribed electrical work.

Which law should apply?

The $150,000 fine plus $8000 reparations and $1225 costs imposed on Wallace Murray Electrical Ltd for failing to ensure the safety of an electrician working for the company provides a chilling proof of the difference between the way safety is regulated under the Health and safety at Work Act (HSWA) and the Electricity Act and its regulations.

The action against Wallace Murray Electrical, an Invercargill-based electrical contractor was taken by the workplace regulator, WorkSafe New Zealand, under HSWA and not by the electrical regulator, WorkSafe, for a breach of the Electricity Regulations.

The action was a result of industrial electrical work during the replacement of an old switchboard where the electrician’s hands were partially exposed to a reflected 400 V arc flash that occurred in a segregated live area at the bottom of the old board. (See page 10)

According to the manager of Wallace Murray Electrical, Hugh Murray, during WorkSafe’s investigation of the accident, he defended his company’s actions saying that the work was carried out in compliance with the Electricity Regulations, but the WorkSafe investigator dismissed his explanation.

“The investigator said I was wrong because we had to have health and safety procedures in place first and the regulations had to come under the procedures,” says Murray.

“I was in disbelief with his answer because nowhere in the Electricity Regulations is an employer required to design specific procedures for every bit of electrical work electricians do.”

And this is where workplace generic law under HSWA takes almost the opposite approach to electricity law. HSWA assumes that workers are safety incompetent and have to be supervised and directed on all things in relation to work. The failure of a PCBU to provide safety procedures is treated as a crime committed by the employer against the worker.

Industrial lighting overview

It is often challenging to provide a good quality of light in industrial locations. Sometimes there is moisture or dust or corrosive gas in the air, or the atmosphere is very hot – all factors that can make tasks more difficult for people and shorten the lifetime of light fittings. Sometimes the challenge is to get enough light into a difficult area, like trying to get light into the space between trains in a marshalling yard, or onto the side of pallet racking from twelve metres above.

Industrial light levels and quality are generally covered by the standard AS/NZS 1680.2.4:2017 Interior and workplace lighting industrial tasks and processes which recommends safe light levels for a wide range of industrial processes from paint shops to service station pumps to bakeries. Other more general lighting tasks are covered by AS/NZS 1680.5:2012 Interior and workplace lighting outdoor workplace lighting.

Some industries have their own standards like the printing industry with AS 4004 covering light for the assessment and matching of colours. Other areas have very specific needs over and above general industrial lighting, for example, where product must be protected from contamination or there is a risk of explosion. Other standards cover these applications.

The other lighting designers

Outside the lighting industry there are other designers who work with light and use techniques that relate to those of architectural lighting designers.

The stage lighting designer

After more than a decade of theatre lighting design in Auckland, Roger Sawtell is now designing lighting for a thriving community theatre down country. Every production requires a different lighting design, so how does he take the process from bare script to successful opening night?

The theatre lighting designer needs to understand and interpret the playwright’s intentions, and from there put in place lighting to enhance the atmosphere of the play. Sometimes the playwright, like an architect, may give lighting directions in the script but this is not usually the case, and even where there is guidance it won’t cover the whole progress of the play, just crucial moments.