Safety of all workers is paramount. In Australia around 200 people a year die as a result of unsafe workplaces and many more are injured. Apprentices are particularly at risk of injury at work, due to unfamiliar surroundings, lack of job experience and not being able to recognise hazards that may exist. No job is worth getting injured or killed for. It is your employer's responsibility to provide you with a safe and healthy workplace, and you have the legal right to refuse to work in any unsafe situation. Every worker has the right to return home to their family and friends safe and free of injury.
The goal of supervision should be to progressively diminish from direct to broad in the fourth year of the apprenticeship with the exception on conducting the activities of fault finding and confirmation for isolation. This condition is subject to successful completion of all trade school subjects by the apprentice.
The following guidelines were developed in conjunction with industry, unions and energy regulators.
NEW 2018 SAFETY GUIDELINES FOR SUPERVISION ARE HERE!
This means the electrician is to work with the apprentice, constantly reviewing the work practices and standard of the apprentice's work. The electrician shall be readily available in the immediate area, within audible range (earshot) and, where possible, within visual contact of the apprentice. Where there is a risk of contact with the electricity supply and the guideline has allowed the task, the supervising electrician is to be next to the apprentice.
This means the apprentice does not require constant attendance of the onsite supervising electrician but requires face-to-face contact on site during the day, with the supervising electrician to check on the work being performed and to provide the apprentice with additional instructions and assistance.
As part of general supervision, the supervising electrician shall provide the apprentice with instruction and direction for the tasks being performed, with progressive checks and tests being made during the work being undertaken.
This means the apprentice does not require constant attendance of the onsite supervising electrician but requires face-to-face contact with the supervising electrician on site to check on the apprentice and the work being carried out by the apprentice.
As part of broad supervision, the supervising electrician shall provide the apprentice with instruction and direction for the tasks being performed, with checks and tests being made prior to commissioning and/or energising of circuit(s)and or apparatus/equipment.
(Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety, 2018)
Many workplaces across Australia have elected ETU health and safety representatives who are trained to recognise unsafe work practices and know how to get things fixed. If you ever feel uncomfortable about a task or are being pressured into doing something unsafe, stop work and if you require assistance, call the union on 08 9440 3522.