SJIB throws its weight behind consultation for regulation of electricians

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  Posted by: electime      4th November 2020

The Scottish Joint Industry Board (SJIB) has added its voice to the parliamentary consultation on regulation of electricians, claiming that protection of title would “significantly enhance consumer, client and public protection and safety while deterring unqualified individuals”.

The leading industry body also says any new scheme would bring significant economic benefits and would assist in the drive for a “sustainable skills base”.

The SJIB made its wide-ranging comments as part of a full set of responses to the consultation on proposals for a Holyrood Member’s Bill on regulation, which closes on November 10.

Fiona Harper, The Secretary of the SJIB, said: “The promotion and utilisation of registered electrical contractors with industry-recognised qualifications would address the scale of poorly installed, defective and unsafe electrical work.

“The SJIB already administers the ECS [Electrotechnical Certification Scheme] which accommodates and recognises the diverse array of electricians operating within the electrotechnical industry. With some additional safeguards, the SJIB could develop a very robust scheme at little additional cost.”

The Board’s response follows equally comprehensive answers from trade body SELECT and an exclusive video interview  in which Bill sponsor Jamie Halcro Johnston MSP stressed that it was a necessary measure in the interests of public safety.

The consultation is the culmination of a long-running campaign which has seen a groundswell of support on SELECT’s Wall of Support, with more than 100 prominent parliamentarians, industry figures and representatives of trade associations and professional services bodies pledging their commitment.

Ms Harper said: “SJIB electricians frequently voice their concerns and frustration that individuals who have not met the established national and industry standards and are not qualified electricians are able to use the title of electrician.

“In what is such a highly-skilled and safety-critical occupation, this situation should be rectified and the title of electrician should be protected.”

She added: “If the existing SJIB framework is used, any perceived additional costs should be negligible and broadly cost-neutral for government, businesses and individuals.

“This would far outweigh the medium- to long-term costs associated with poorly installed and maintained installations, including the human cost and tragedy of deaths caused by electrical fires and electrocution.”

A major survey carried out in 2018 showed that faulty electrical installations accounted for 7.1 per cent of all fires in Scotland, and the damage caused to property by these fires cost in the region of £9.6 million.

Ms Harper said: “The skills set of electricians will play a key part in the delivery of a low carbon/carbon neutral future, not least through the installation of ever-evolving environmental technologies and smart digital infrastructure.

“The registration and protection of title of electricians will contribute to the importance placed on the occupation, complementing the need and drive for a sustainable skills base.”

Founded in 1969 by electrical trade association SELECT and Unite the Union, the SJIB’s duties include regulating between employers and employees, providing benefits for people engaged in the industry, and stimulating industry progress. In addition, it has oversight of employment, skills and proficiency, health and safety competence, wages and welfare benefits across the electrical industry in Scotland.