Module 1: BC Safety Authority

 

 

BC Safety Authority (BCSA) is an independent, self-funded organization mandated to oversee the safe installation and operation of technical systems and equipment. In addition to issuing permits, licences and certificates, they work with industry to reduce safety risks through assessment, education and outreach, enforcement, and research.

BC Safety Authority issues electrical installation permits for the Province of British Columbia, except for the following municipalities:

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      The Electrical Contractor

The Electrical Contractors Guide provides guidance to both electrical contractors and persons who wish to become licensed electrical contractors within the province of British Columbia.
The BC Safety Authority (BCSA) is responsible for the Electrical Safety Program throughout British Columbia. The Electrical Safety Program protects the people of British Columbia by promoting the safe installation and maintenance of electrical wiring and equipment.

BC Safety Authorities electrical program is responsible for overseeing the safety of electrical systems across BC in accordance with the Safety Standards Act and the Electrical Safety Regulation. The Act includes regulations and codes which are legislated by the Government of British Columbia and defines the terms and conditions under which electrical work can be performed in BC, by whom and how it is documented and monitored.

Contractors doing any electrical work in the jurisdiction in BC must be licenced by BC Safety Authority.

 

      Obtaining a Licence.

Application forms are available at www.safetyauthority.ca/form-1028 or at local BC Safety Authority offices.

Contact an insurance agency to obtain a surety bond in the amount listed on the contractor application.

Once signed by the principal of the company, the original bond certificate must be submitted to BC Safety Authority with your completed application form.

Provide the name of the certified field safety representative (FSR) who will be named on the licence. The class of the named FSR determines the scope of work that may be done by an electrical contractor.

Submit all forms, supporting documents, and fees directly to your local BC Safety Authority office by mail or by dropping them off in person. Do not fax us this information, we will be unable to accept it.

 

           Electrical Contractors Responsibilities.

Electrical Contractor’s Responsibilities As an electrical contractor you must maintain current knowledge of:
• The Safety Standards Act
• Safety Standards General Regulations
• Electrical Safety Regulations
• BC Electrical Code (which includes the Canadian Electrical Code, Errata, plus BC Amendments)
• Relevant Directives
• Relevant Information Bulletins
• Relevant Safety Orders

The most current versions of these materials are available at www.safetyauthority.ca. The Canadian Electrical Code is available at www.csa.ca.

In addition to understanding the documents listed above, electrical contractors must:

• Ensure that individuals doing electrical work for them maintain current knowledge of the Act, regulations, and related documents;
• Maintain their licence by renewing it annually; • Notify BC Safety Authority immediately if there is a change in the status of an FSR who is named on a licence; • Not engage in work outside the scope of an FSR named on a contractor licence;*
• Not permit regulated work to be undertaken by persons under the control of the licensed contractor if they are not authorized under the Act;
• Comply with any terms and conditions attached to the contractor’s licence and/or permit;
• Notify British Columbia Safety Authority of any change to the status of the surety bond; • Ensure that electrical work is only performed (unless exempted under a valid permit (unless exempted under Electrical Safety Regulation, s. 18);

 

Responsibilities

• Ensure that the information on the permit is complete and accurate;
• Ensure that inspections are requested by an FSR as required for each phase of work and at least once in every 180 days;
• Correct all non-compliances identified on a certificate of inspection and provide any required notification to the applicable inspection authority by the specified date;
• Report any incidents involving electrical equipment or electrical work [see Directive D-E3 070115 1 Revision 3, Incident Reporting Requirements with Respect to Electrical Technology]; and
• Contact a safety officer if clarification is needed for a requirement listed on a certificate of inspection.

*If you have a Class B FSR named on your licence and you have a Class A FSR working for you, you are not able to pull Class A level permits unless the Class A individual is your primary FSR.

All electrical equipment must be approved in accordance with the Electrical Safety Regulation and the B.C. Electrical Code, Rule 2-024. Contractors must ensure that all equipment is approved before installing the equipment or connecting it to an electrical supply source.

Field Safety Representative (FSR) Responsibilities An FSR, who is named on a licence, represents the licensed contractor in all technical matters related to performance of electrical work, worker qualifications, and supervision requirements.

The FSR is responsible for ensuring that all work, performed under permits on which the FSR is named, complies with the requirements under the Safety Standards Act and regulations. Therefore, the FSR must maintain current knowledge of all publications listed under the electrical contractor’s responsibilities. This may require ongoing upgrade training when deemed necessary by the BCSA electrical safety manager.

 

In addition, an FSR must:

• Ensure that any permit assigned to the FSR is within the scope of their qualification and within the scope of the contractor licence;
• Ensure compliance with all qualification and supervision requirements under the regulations;
• Ensure that equipment being connected, under the permit, is approved;
• Ensure that electrical work performed under the permit meets all requirements of the Act and regulations;
• Submit requests for inspection, as required by the authority having jurisdiction;
• Understand and comply with all terms and conditions of a permit;
• Report any incidents involving electrical equipment or electrical work [see Directive D-E3 070115 1 Revision 3, Incident Reporting Requirements with Respect to Electrical Technology]; and
• Contact a safety officer if clarification is needed for a requirement listed on a certificate of inspection.

 

      Safety Officers (SO) Responsibilities

Safety officers monitor compliance with the electrical safety program. This includes performing inspections, investigations, and enforcement actions. BCSA safety officers have the discretion to either accept a declaration made by an FSR or conduct an inspection to confirm a declaration made by an FSR.
The duties of safety officers include:

• Promote public safety awareness;
• Conduct safety inspections, compliance monitoring audits, and risk assessments;
• Educate industry and the public on safety codes and standards, and effects that changes in technology may have on safety;
• Provide recommendations to the safety manager;
• Assess the need for changes to the regulation;
• Monitor the performance of licensed contractors and individuals;
• Investigate fires, accidents, and other incidents involving electrical equipment or work;
• Identify unqualified persons doing electrical work; and
• Identify unpermitted electrical work.

 

Electrical Installation Permits

Electrical Installation Permits must be obtained before performing any electrical work. The only exceptions to this are for emergency repairs or where the electrical work is exempted from permit requirements under Electrical Safety Regulation, s. 18.
It is important that contractors understand their obligations. Key regulations related to permit requirements are:

• Safety Standards General Regulation, s. 12 (General requirement to obtain a permit before starting the work);
• Electrical Safety Regulation, s. 11 (Requirement to obtain permits for any work involving connection or reconnection by a utility, and allowance for emergency repairs); and
• Electrical Safety Regulation, s. 18 (Exemptions for work which does not require a permit).

If a safety officer identifies that electrical work has been done without a valid permit, the person responsible for doing the electrical work may be subject to enforcement actions, or sanctions against their licence or certificate.

Emergency repairs may be performed before a permit is obtained, but the permit must be taken out within one business day.
Note: Investigations into unpermitted work are not covered under normal permit fees. A Permit Amendment Review is assessed when an installation is commenced without a permit, or when an installation value exceeds the declared value. Refer to the fee schedule.

The terms and conditions of a permit are stated on the back of the permit. These terms and conditions require that the FSR must physically examine the work and, when satisfied that the work complies with requirements under the Act and regulations, make a declaration and request an inspection by completing the prescribed form. Safety officers may also set additional terms and conditions when the permit is issued. The contractor and the FSR must read and understand these terms and conditions.

Inspection of an installation must be requested before the work can be concealed, prior to the connection of power to the electrical supply system, and upon completion of the electrical work. Electrical Safety Regulation, s. 19 requires that the FSR must request an inspection at least once in every 180 day period. Therefore, the FSR is required to physically examine the installation at least once in every 180 day period and submit an inspection request and declaration.

In most cases, a notification will be sent to contractors prior to expiry of the permit. This notice will provide advance warning that the permit is about to expire. When contractors receive this notice, they should immediately instruct their FSR to examine the installation and submit the required inspection request.

If an inspection is not requested within the 180 day period, the permit will expire and no further electrical work may be performed unless the permit is amended. Repeated or ongoing violation of this requirement may result in an enforcement action.
Safety Standards General Regulation, s. 20

If non-compliances are identified on a certificate of inspection, the contractor must ensure that the non-compliances are corrected within a specified time frame. Upon completion of the corrective work, the FSR must physically examine the work and submit an inspection request, declaring that the non-compliances have been corrected.

BCSA safety officers may re-inspect the work, if they deem it necessary or if the required inspection request has not been received. BCSA charges an hourly fee for re-inspections of non-compliant work.
A permit does not abrogate the rights of contractors and owners to terminate or break a contract before completion of the job. However, if a job is terminated, the contractor must have the field safety representative submit a written request for inspection of the work which has been completed to date.

This request must indicate clearly that the purpose of the inspection is to finalize the work under the contractor’s permit. Code violations incurred before submitting the termination notice must be corrected, and the job must be left safe.
Note: Requests for “Final” inspection of a temporary construction service will not be accepted while the equipment remains energized and connected to an electrical supply.

BCSA electrical safety officers perform inspections based on a number of factors under the electrical safety program. Safety officers use their experience, knowledge and the resource allocation program (RAP) to prioritize their inspection workload.
This by no means suggests that if a safety officer performs a site inspection, you or your installation has been determined as being a high risk. There are many other factors which determine whether an inspection will be performed. For example, your site may be inspected simply because it is in close proximity to other sites which are also being inspected. Safety officers may also perform randomly selected inspections.

 

       FORMS

The most current versions of all applicable forms are available on BC Safety Authority web site at www.safetyauthority.ca.

APPLICABLE FORMS AND THEIR WEBSITE LOCATIONS

Electrical Contractor Licence Application: www.safetyauthority.ca/form-1028

Electrical Installation Permit: www.safetyauthority.ca/form-406

Electrical Contractor Authorization and Declaration of Compliance: Electrical Inspection Request: www.safetyauthority.ca/form-206

Request for Variance: www.safetyauthority.ca/form-1076

Safety Manager Review Request: www.safetyauthority.ca/form-1077

Electrical Contractor Notice of Change of FSR: www.safetyauthority.ca/form-1023

Electrical Fee Schedule: www.safetyauthority.ca/electrical-fee-schedule


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