Becoming a qualified electrician carries with it a huge amount of responsibility, as Tony Cable explains.
The role of an electrician is very varied and many of you will have a different interpretation of the overall
responsibility that comes with it.
However, our trade is one of the few jobs that can have serious consequences if it’s done incorrectly. A building could be damaged or destroyed by fire while people can be injured or electrocuted. Because of this, all of us sparks have a great deal of responsibility.
It’s up to each and every one of us to do the best job we can. No matter how small or large the installation is, we must ensure that it’s safe. Whether you’re a domestic, commercial, industrial or maintenance spark, you’ll be going to work every day and undertaking some form of electrical task. With this comes a great deal of responsibility!
Take the domestic spark, for example (although this applies to everyone). They’ve been entrusted to go into someone’s home and ensure everything is working correctly and as it should be. They might only be there for a few days (or longer, depending on the installation required) but they’ll then leave that installation and perhaps never return.
Nonetheless, that installation (lighting, sockets etc.) will be used every day by the consumer for the next 40-50 years. So it’s our responsibility to ensure we leave the installation as safe as possible.
We must design the system properly, install it to comply with BS7671 and finally carry out the full range of tests. We must ensure that if there was a fault (say the householder drilling a wall and hitting one of our cables) then the protective devices we installed will do what we put them there to do – disconnect that circuit and stop a person from getting burned or shocked.
We talk about ADS (Automatic Disconnection of Supply) which means we install earthing, bonding and protective devices. These must be co-ordinated so that, in the event of a fault, the protective device will operate automatically.
The installer who doesn’t test will never know if the installation carried out was safe. Just because they’ve been doing that type of work for years (and it always works) doesn’t mean it is safe.
I had a guy call me when I was working on our helpline and when I asked him about testing he replied that, as a spark, he didn’t have to carry out tests because it always worked. My reply was that he couldn’t possibly call himself a spark if he does not test.
You wouldn’t knowingly put yourself or your family in danger, and that must be the attitude when working for others. Make sure you leave every job knowing that it is safe and sound for the people using it.