Gone are the days where you could get your mate from down the road to come and change out a highbay in your building. In modern times, there is a minefield of rules and regulations under New Zealand Health and Safety Laws that you must not only have knowledge of, but adhere to ensure you are not breaking the law. Let’s go into a bit of depth to give you a starting point before you look at upgrading your lighting.

MEWP’s – Motorised Elevated Work Platforms and Notifiable Works

In a large number of installations, elevated working platforms are required. It's really important that anyone operating these types of machines has proper industry recognised training to do so to ensure that New Zealand Health & Safety laws are adhered to.

When using these platforms, often overlooked is notifiable works. Worksafe require that anyone working at a height above 5 metres is required to fill out a ‘Notifiable Works’ form on there website to let them know what type of works is being undertaken.

EWP Logbooks are found and stay with EWP’s and need to be filled in everyday before they are used. Logbooks are an important part of traceability of the equipment to ensure its maintained properly and safely and we very frequently see that operators can be a but too relaxed on this point. Its also useful to know that Worksafe inspectors look to ensure that the operator instructions, pre-start checks, a current certificate of inspection are on hand and ready to audit so its best to make sure that you have all of those documents on hand and onsite at all times.

Registered and Licenced Electrical Contractors

While there are occasions where the installation is simply a ‘plug and play’ type scenario – too often do other electrical scenarios arise during the course of an upgrade. For the sake of safety and to ensure that your insurance policies are not compromised - a fully qualified electrical contractor should always be used. Electrical contractors are legally required to ensure that their work is completed to a safe and appropriate standard that is not going to cause any harm and they have to sign off on the works they undertake.

Products Off The Internet

We have seen a number of occasions where our clients have previously imported lighting products from overseas suppliers. Unbeknown to many, doing this can void your insurance policy and potentially create a hazard for the workplace. In New Zealand, we have safety standards that legally require a series of safety characteristics to be present in lighting products and often this compliance does not exist in imported fittings. Too often, we hear from electrical contractors that are asked to install imported light fittings that the building owner or occupier has purchased. In most cases, they refuse to do so as it puts there practicing licence at risk and at that point, any savings you may have made go out the window. Frankly speaking, importing light fittings can really be a false economy as the quality of many of these imported products can be highly questionable and if they are not purchased through a New Zealand based supply chain – its very hard to get support if something does go wrong.

Other paperwork

  • Its best practice to have a health and safety system in place before anyone undertakes work on your building site. There are a number of documents that we suggest that you have as part of that system including, but not limited to;
  • Pre-start safety check document that is filled out by every party that is on the installation project;
  • A Hazard Risk Register –  To identify and ensure all parties are aware of any potential hazards on the site;
  • TA (Task analysis) – A risk matrix register to demonstrate competency in mitigating risks on the job site;
  • Electrical safety checklist for construction sites – a form provided by Worksafe for the qualified electrical contractor to fill in before undertaking any electrical work on a the job site.

Tips and tricks

  • We recommend that you create a folder with all the documents needed and make sure you leave it on the job site while the job is being undertaken.
  • Health and safety can seem burdensome at times but its better to be safe and have good practices in place to void and potential risk to peoples safety or large fines from Worksafe.
  • Jump on the Worksafe website. It has a lot of useful information on how to ensure safety and its often written in plain English Which makes life easier.

Legal notice: The information, opinions and suggestions in this post do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon. We suggest that you seek advice from a legal or health and safety professional before undertaking any work.

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