by Mark Palmer, GEIA
I ALWAYS find it distressing that, in many of the meetings I attend, the common thread in most of the discussions is the continuing degradation of standards.
Along with the declining standards, another focal point is the influx of non-approved electrical components and the standard of construction in new installations.
Notwithstanding the many hours that are put into the development of standards, particularly SANS 10142-1, by the people who are deeply concerned about the application of these standards, it is becoming increasingly apparent that some people are willing to ‘bend the rules'.
As an AIA, I have for many years campaigned for some form of unity amongst those who have influence in the industry to accept that not only is policing of the regulations necessary for the implementation of safety, but that it is this very mechanism that can create a platform for a culture of compliance.
The distressing part in all this is that in open forums, this unity is supported by all and sundry but some of these very individuals will still ‘bend the rules' when the application thereof impacts negatively on them.
The culture of compliance cannot be implemented, or indeed maintained, until it is accepted as an unavoidable reality.
Furthermore, it is my opinion that Government must take a stand (that they are, in any event, obliged to do) and enforce the regulations, even if it means they have to shake off their apathy and make unpopular decisions.
Making unpopular decisions is something that AIAs have to do every day when encountering non-compliant (and in many cases dangerous) electrical installations, which require the chastisement of electrical contractors who have not applied the Standard in their work ethic or the choice of the correct electrical components.
On the other hand, every day I meet electrical contractors who are prepared to make a stand and defend the Standard, notwithstanding that he may have contravened a number of Regulations, not by malicious intent, but due to lack of training and support.
I laud these contractors, as without them, we can all pack up and go home.