What is the role of an electrical supervisor?
Electrical supervisors play an important role within a mining operation. They are not only responsible to the manager of the mine for electrical safety but are also responsible for meeting electrical regulatory obligations to Resources Safety as well as EnergySafety in the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS).
Consequently, an electrical supervisor should be in a position to understand and be able to apply relevant legislation and standards as well as codes of practice, guidelines, industry agreements and company standards.
Can there be more than one electrical supervisor?
The principal employer or registered manager must appoint sufficient electrical supervisors to ensure adequate supervision of the installation, maintenance and testing of electrical equipment. Electrical supervisors are responsible to the registered manager for electrical equipment at the mine.
Refer to r. 5.10 of the Mines Safety and Inspection Regulations 1995
Duties of an electrical supervisor
The electrical supervisor’s duties include:
- ensuring all work carried out in relation to electrical equipment and installations in their area of responsibility is adequately supervised — this includes electrical staff, contractors and labour hire employees
- ensuring electrical equipment or installations in their area of responsibility are installed and tested in accordance with the Mine Safety and Inspection Regulations 1995 and maintained in a safe working condition
- ensuring electrical installations and equipment are in accordance with Australian Standard AS/NZS 3000 Electrical installations (also known as the Australian/New Zealand Wiring Rules)
- in their area of responsibility, stopping the installation or use of any electrical equipment considered to be dangerous, and reporting to the manager any situation that may affect the safe use of electricity or contravene the Mines Safety and Inspection Regulations 1995
- regularly checking that the electrical nominee or electrical contractor has reviewed and inspected uncertified installations, and signed the electrical log book entries
- investigating, recording in the electrical log book and reporting to the manager
- any electrical shock or burn received by a person
- any fire suspected to be caused by electricity
- any dangerous occurrence involving electricity that could have caused injury to a person.
Refer to r. 5.11 of the Mines Safety and Inspection Regulations 1995
AS/NZS 3000 Electrical installations is available from Standards Australia.
Duties of an electrical supervisor regarding the maintenance of electrical equipment
Maintenance work comprises repairing faulty electrical equipment or replacing it with equal, or substantially similar engineering specification (i.e. like-for-like).
The direction given in Electrical Bulletin No. 55 July 2011: Changes to the Electrical (Licensing) Regulations 1991 – FAQs describes what constitutes like-for-like replacement.
The electrical supervisor’s duties for maintaining electrical equipment include ensuring:
- maintenance systems are in place in their area of responsibility so that electrical equipment and installations are maintained in a safe working order — electrical supervisors must continually monitor the maintenance system to ensure it remains up to date
- contractors have entered their work in section 1 of the area’s electrical log book and it has been certified by the nominee
- each entry made in the electrical log book contains all details required by the Electricity (Licensing) Regulations 1991, including the name(s) of electrical worker(s), the contractor(s) that performed the work, and the date on which the work was completed
- the in-house licence nominee or electrical contractor has certified all entries in the electrical log book relating to new installations, alterations and additions to existing installations, including when electrical installation works are removed or made redundant
- all electrical installing work is inspected and tested in accordance with the regulations.
Refer to rr. 5.3, 5.14 and 5.27 of the Mines Safety and Inspection Regulations 1995
Reporting electrical incidents
Any incident or dangerous occurrence involving electricity must be notified to:
- a district inspector in the first instance before starting an investigation.
Refer to r. 63 of the Electricity (Licensing) Regulations 1991
Refer to s. 78(1) of the Mines Safety and Inspection Act 1994
It is also prudent to contact the department’s mines inspector (electrical) responsible for the mining operation so the inspector has an understanding of the incident before the notification is sent through the online Safety Reporting System (SRS). For incidents not considered serious, this contact should be made during normal working hours.
The electrical supervisor is also required to:
- ensure an entry is made in the mine record book and electrical log book for all such incidents
- maintain the electrical log book and record in it all information required under Part 5 of the Mines Safety and Inspection Regulations 1995
- regularly liaise with the manager of the mine on the status of all statutory matters within their area of responsibility.