Audits and inspections

Anyone who designs, installs and/or operates electrical or gas installations and networks, or supplies or installs electrical or gas appliances and fittings in New Zealand can be audited by WorkSafe.

These audits can be planned, or can be as the result of an accident, incident, or information we receive from another regulatory agency.

We work with installers, owners and operators throughout the audit and investigation process to be proactive in educating them and will undertake audit programmes that enhance our effectiveness as a safety regulator.

What are the selection criteria?

The selection criteria we use are based on:

  • operator risk
  • product, fitting installation or network risk
  • complaints, incidents and accidents
  • advice from other regulatory agencies
  • type of operator.

Accidents and incidents

Where an accident or incident involving an installation or network occurs that is considered significant, or where installation compliance is drawn into question, we may at the time of investigation:

  • request the designer, installer, supplier or operator to provide information relating to installation safety or compliance
  • request the designer, installer, supplier or operator to undertake specific remedial action
  • request the network to cease supply of electricity and gas
  • request the supplier to stop supplying the product.

Any subsequent action will follow our compliance and enforcement procedures.

Alerts

We maintain a number of co-operation arrangements with other regulatory agencies to exchange safety information and to co-operatively carry out surveillance activities.

Based on information exchanged, investigations may be carried out or direct enforcement action implemented.

In some cases, information from industry participants is brought to the attention of us for assessment and follow-up action.

Types of audit:

Scheduled audit –

This would normally have advanced written notification (a minimum of two working days), either by post or email, but can also include verbal notice, circumstances dependant.

Unscheduled audit –

This is an audit where the normal advanced notice has not been able to be given due to audit opportunity or other reasons.

The Technical officer will explain the functions of WorkSafe to the client and make them aware of our normal notice objectives. If it is not possible to accommodate the audit at that time it may be possible to schedule a future audit. This can be discussed with the Technical Officer.

If a Technical Officer has observed an unsafe situation, or an unsafe or obviously non-compliant product, that poses a clear risk of injury or significant damage to property, then an audit may conducted under urgency. In that case, the Officer must proceed with the audit at that time, even where the client objects or seeks to defer the audit. This reflects the responsibility of Officers under section 5 of the Electricity Act 1992 or Section 6 of the Gas Act 1992 to ensure the safe use of electricity and gas.

Online or electronic audits –

The compliance of product presented on supplier’s websites or being offered on on-line auction websites may also be assessed for compliance. This will often be accompanied by a documentation request to the supplier.

The audit process

If you are selected for an electrical or gas audit, you will need to provide:

For installations:

  • details of the appropriate contact person authorised to respond on behalf of the business
  • details of your business e.g. registered company, partnership
  • documentation about design and construction of the installation, works or distribution systems
  • evidence of testing and other requirements prior to connection (such as certification, Certification of Compliance, Warrant of Electrical Fitness)
  • documentation about maintenance (Safety Management Systems (if required) and records of periodic inspection)evidence of general safety requirements.

For appliances and fittings:

  • details of the appropriate contact person authorised to respond on behalf of the business
  • details of your business e.g. registered company, partnership
  • the basis on which the product is legally sold in New Zealand. For example, evidence of approval and SDoC
  • evidence of correct product labelling
  • evidence of correct product marking
  • evidence of general suitability for the marketplace, including correct plugs, warning labels and instruction manuals.

Technical Officers are very aware of business needs and demands so have minimum disruption objectives. For example, if clients or other business needs arise while any audit is being conducted, then every reasonable accommodation will be made by the Officer to allow the business to conduct its business, minimising any disruption during the audit process to the business.

Outcome of audits

We will advise the outcome when all elements of the audit have been considered. At the time of an audit, a verbal explanation will be given which may include advice to cease operation.

If the audit has been deemed unsatisfactory, we will advise of the problem(s) requiring remedy and compliance action may include issuing an infringement notice or prosecution.