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Electrical Safety Register: Is this the start of something special?

Earlier this week, the new Electrical Safety Register launched (www.electricalsafetyregister.com)!  The scheme is a joint venture between the NICEIC (National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting), the ECA (Electrical Contractors Association) and ELECSA and aims to promote their contractors to as many as people as possible, making it easier for people who need a registered electrician to find you.

After researching and listening to electricians, the Government, specifiers and consumers, the partnership between the ESC (Electrical Safety Council) and the ECA will join up the industry as never before.

Firstly, it all sounds very promising.  Although the NICEIC Approved Contractor and Domestic Installer schemes shall remain unaffected, it is hoped that the Register will become the definitive resource for anyone looking for a registered electrician.  And, in April 2013, the NICEIC and ELECSA – a very similar scheme to the NICEIC’s Domestic Installer one – will become jointly owned by the industry’s trade association, the ECA, and the consumer safety charity, the ESC; however, both the NICEIC and ELECSA will continue to run as separate operations.

Although NICEIC members will not automatically become members of the ECA, it will provide greater accessibility into the organisation through the contractor’s current certificate of assessment.

This all sounds well and good.  But then, on the 21 November 2012, I read that the NAPIT organisation – the National Association of Professional Inspectors and Testers – had launched their own register…the Electric Safe Register (www.electricsaferegister.co.uk).  Why?  Why can there not be a single principal register, where those electricians who are deemed competent are collated?  Surely the operation of two registers simply means the industry is not pulling in the same direction as one?  Okay, the argument for competition in the marketplace is one, yet having two registers of similar name offering the same purpose just with different trade bodies can only result in subsequent confusion with its targeted audience: the general public.

Consider the Gas Safe Register, the official list of gas engineers qualified to work safely and legally on gas services in the UK.  The beauty of this means that, when Joe Public needs some work done on his gas service at his property, he knows where to go to find someone.  Joe knows that when Gary Gasman turns up at his door, he can check his credentials through the Gas Safe ID card, each one comprising the engineer’s photograph, the licence’s start date and expiry date, the licence number and a security hologram.  And, on the return side of each card, it lists the specific type of work for which the engineer is qualified to work on – i.e. cookers, boilers, gas fires, and that their qualifications are up to date.

So the main point here is this: there is only ONE gas safety register.  It assesses each and every engineer’s credentials and qualifications.  So why can there not be ONE electrical safety register?  It would be commendable if the electrical industry’s trade bodies could ALL join forces, club together and operate something along the lines of the Gas Safe Register.  Hopefully the Electrical Safety Register is the spark to get this started.

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