By Anthony Capkun
September 25, 2013 – The association for Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of BC (ASTTBC) is in the final stages of developing its training program and, should the BC Safety Authority (BCSA) recognize the proposed program, it will pave the way for ASTTBC technologists and technicians to perform a limited-scope of electrical work under a valid permit… and the electrical pros in the Pacific Province ARE NOT happy.
In its September 2013 edition of “Current News”, the Electrical Contractors Association of BC writes:
We have been very concerned with this initiative from the beginning and the effect it will have on both workers and public safety. The result of this agreement would have workers who are not Red Seal-certified electricians performing work on electrical installations under these restricted licenses. This includes installations of 30 amps, 3-phase and up to 250 volts; it also includes work on critical life safety systems.
BCSA says ASTTBC has incorporated industry feedback into its program development to address safety concerns. The revised program increases the minimum requirement for hours of training and practical experience from 480 hours to 1500 hours, which is in addition to the two years of formal education and 4000 hours of applied experience required for technologist or technician registration. This change provides improved clarification on the scope of work, says BCSA, and outlines the provision and validation of training. ASTTBC is planning to roll out their program next month.
“We have attended numerous meetings with representatives from both BCSA and ASTTBC to put forward our viewpoint,” explains ECABC president Deborah Cahill, adding that, “In most of these meetings it was apparent that the outcome had been predetermined, and our concerns were not being considered.”
In its ONLINE FAQ section, BCSA acknowledges a petition that was submitted to the Legislative Assembly on July 23, 2013, with 1824 signatures calling on the government to reverse its action to allow other organizations to train and certify Electrical Work Practitioners. The petition was backed by ECABC, Electrical Inspectors Association (EIA) of BC, IBEW of BC and the BC Electrical Articulation Committee (EAC) of electrical apprenticeship instructors from public technical training institutions.
“While BCSA acknowledges all of these concerns, our role is to address issues that relate to safety…” was BCSA’s reply.
The agency says the Provincial Safety Manager has made clear that ASTTBC members completing the ASTTBC’s training program—if approved—will have to apply for and obtain permission from BCSA before they are authorized to perform regulated work, within the scope of the proposed credential, and in accordance with Electrical Safety Regulation, Section 4(1)(b). BCSA will recognize proof of completing the ASTTBC training program to qualify for permission. To further address industry’s concerns about safety, BCSA says it will set terms and conditions on the work that may be performed.
ASTTBC’s proposed training program will add to the existing training for technologists and technicians and enhance their ability to perform their job duties properly and safely, insists BCSA, adding it will not expand those job duties beyond their current roles. “They will still need certification as electricians if they want to perform the more general duties of a qualified electrical worker,” insists BCSA.
To learn more about the issue and to get involved visit www.ProtectRedSealTrades.ca