Issue 134 September - October 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.
Affordable testing with APPA

If you are looking for a full-featured digital multimeter or clamp meter but do not want to pay the earth for it, AVO New Zealand has selected instruments from the APPA range to make upgrading to the latest testers so much more affordable.

AVO’s general manager of sales and marketing, Daniel Hurley, says the APPA brand offers the right combination of quality, performance and competitive pricing to satisfy any electrical professional’s need for accurate results at a mid-price range.

“AVO New Zealand supplies many brands of test instruments but, when it comes to multimeters and clamp meters, APPA has risen to the top and has now joined our Megger offer as the second leading brand we supply.”

Hurley describes APPA as a specialist brand with the company producing only 400,000 test devices a year under its own brand but also supplying about ten percent of the world’s test meters by making their instruments available to other manufacturers to market under their own brands.

Is stepped licensing on the way?

The way electrical workers become licensed could change if an initiative launched by the EWRB comes to fruition. The registration board is now considering the introduction of what it calls ‘stepped licensing’ and has been promoting the concept in Meet and Greet sessions with members of the industry.

Attendees at a recent session came away confused as to what the Board was trying to achieve, so ElectroLink asked MBIE, the Ministry responsible for running the EWRB, to put forward someone who was competent to discuss the proposal.

MBIE was unable to do that, but a spokeswoman advised in writing that the concept of a ‘stepped licensing framework’ emerged following the engagement of MBIE staff and electrical worker representatives from across the country.

She said that feedback was received on how “qualified electrical workers and trainees find it hard to understand what training needs to be done to move between licence classes”.

She did not provide any data on the number of registered people that want to switch careers by gaining registration in any of the other 16 classes, but she did confirm that the aim of the stepped framework “was to provide people in the industry with a clear career progression pathway”.

Testing – a work in progress

During the recent investigation of an arc flash incident in Invercargill, WorkSafe went public with its view that the electrical industry needs tidying up. But rather than doing this by prosecution after an event, the interests of public and worker safety could be better addressed by WorkSafe by getting the ongoing development of the Electricity Safety Regulations back on track.

Since WorkSafe was created in 2015 and the electrical regulator, Energy Safety, was folded into it, the development of electrical regulation has ceased in much the same way as coal mine inspections ceased when WorkSafe’s predecessor, the Labour Department, did not appoint an electrical inspector of mines when it took over the mining electrical inspectorate from the Energy Safety Service.

It has been six years since the last regulatory refinements to the 2010 Regulations were put in place and the significant changes in the architecture of these regulations have yet to be completed. The improvements needed are not just regulating the management of emerging risks from new technology, but also clarifying safety processes like testing, inspecting, certifying and supervising which all became prescribed electrical work (PEW) in 2010 when they are applied to installing, connecting and maintaining fittings and conductors, and connecting them to a power supply.

WorkSafe needs to be more proactive and less reactive

Former senior advisor at Energy Safety, Colin Murphy, calls for more helpful engagement by regulators with industry

The EWRB ‘Meet and Greet’ meeting in Timaru last month was a great session as far as the Board’s part went as it was about where we have got to and where we are heading, while WorkSafe’s input was about what we have done with no information as to where anything is going in the future.

WorkSafe needs to be seen and doing something that takes electrical safety forward as at present the organisation is only using plans that were developed in the early 2000’s and is sitting on its hands. The presentation also showed that despite the fact Energy Safety is now within the workplace regulator, WorkSafe, their focus is still primarily on domestic and public safety.

Electricity and its safety is not just something in the domestic or public area but is in a huge industrial landscape. As part of WorkSafe, Energy Safety can do a lot to assist industrial electricians, automation and control technicians, and electrical engineers with better pathways to compliance, particularly when it comes to imported equipment that needs to be integrated into New Zealand industrial installations.

A beginner’s guide to explosion-proof luminaires

Selecting light fittings for industrial applications can often require more than just illumination because, if the wrong type of fitting is installed in certain locations, it could destroy the building and people in it.

Standard light fittings introduce an ignition source into an explosive atmosphere, so it’s worth having a closer look at explosion zones and what type of luminaire to use for the different zones.

Common places where EX rated explosion-proof luminaires are used are areas where explosive gas, mist or vapour may be found in the atmosphere, whether it’s present because of a leak or spillage, because it’s being transferred from one form of storage to another, or because it’s used in an industrial process like refrigeration. These areas include service stations, coolstores, underground mines, vehicle inspection pits and spray painting booths.

EX rated explosion-proof luminaires are also used where there is a chance of combustible dust being present in the atmosphere because certain types of dust, in combination with oxygen in the atmosphere, can ignite and cause large explosions.

Common examples of dust areas include facilities that store or process material like timber, coal, flour, fertiliser, grain and milk powder. Sometimes there doesn’t need to be a spark to ignite the material, it can be set off by something like a hot surface on a piece of equipment. Even fabric fibres and metal filings (flyings) can combust in the right circumstances.

Better instructions make better lighting

When lighting manufacturers and retailers get called to troubleshoot lighting issues, it is not uncommon to find the problem has been caused by an incorrect installation.

Common examples include inground fittings installed using the wrong cable, allowing water to leak in through the cable gland; wall-washing downlights installed with the light directed away from walls; and zero-tilt floodlights installed with a large degree of tilt, directing their light skyward rather than at the ground. Manufacturers wonder if the installer even reads the instructions.

Maybe sometimes installers don’t look at the instructions and a poor installation is due to lack of care. But perhaps some of the blame lies with the readability of the instructions themselves.

The instructions might make sense to the supplier that created them, but might not deliver the clarity needed by the unfamiliar installer, and particularly those who struggle with reading.

People who have unexpected difficulty learning to read have dyslexia. Studies using MRI scans show that dyslexic people process words in a different part of the brain than neurotypical people. They are more likely to think in pictures rather than words.