AEV/ESSA/AEO Electrics Technical Committe - October 21st 2015
The cross association Technical Committee – Electrics convened its final meeting of the year on October 21 at the NEC, and was well attended by representatives of all three associations including Chris Morrison, director of facilities at Olympia London, who took his seat as the new chair of the committee. After apologies, a welcome for new attendees and the approval of the minutes of the last meeting, the committee moved on to the business of the day.
The first item on the agenda was the review of the new test form, created with the help of the committee and published in the eGuide in September 2015. The members gave a generally positive assessment of the form, with some members reporting they had already used it, whilst others said that they were waiting until after this committee meeting before adopting it in their processes.
There followed an update on CDM from Rachel Parker, AEV director. The committee learned that the CDM task force has been renamed the cross association Health & Safety Working Group, and that whilst it will retain responsibility for monitoring and investigating CDM issues at every meeting, its remit has been widened to include all H&S issues across the industry. Parker asked the group their views on contributing to online CDM training resources, currently under evaluation by AEV, ESSA and AEO, as the course and CDM certificate are focussed on electricals. Parker wanted to know whether the committee considered a course and certification like this relevant to their CDM experiences. The committee responded that more information would be needed, but agreed that it could be a positive development for consistency of competency in electrics. On the topic of CDM Morrison stressed that venues in particular need to communicate the message of CDM to smaller organisers and contractors, so they are aware of their responsibilities under the new regulations.
The committee then moved on to the problems surrounding the potential merging of BS7671 and BS7909, paying particular attention to how BS7909 regulations are misunderstood by production companies, many of whom reported the regulations as 'unworkable'. An email from an electrical company was read to the committee, expressing confusion over the merger and the assertion that plug and play systems and BS7909 are not covered by the eGuide. The committee noted that plug and play systems are acceptable if they are tested to BS7671 with a full test form completed under installation competency and that the event industry at present works to BS7671 and not BS7909.
The meeting went on to discuss electric competency in general and the creation of a competency scheme to improve the quality and safety of electrical installations at events. The committee noted that this scheme had been tried before as an ESSA initiative, with the main stumbling block being adequate resourcing, but agreed to invite the ESSA director to the next meeting to discuss the possibilities.
After a brief discussion about the issues surrounding stand-bys, space only contractors with clients own equipment and water safety plans, the meeting concluded with round table news and an agreement on future agenda items.
Finally, two dates were suggested for the group meetings next year, namely Wednesday March 23 , and Thursday November 3 at venues to be arranged.