Asbestos awareness training given to electrical contractors

ELECSA as well as the NICEIC have teamed up with Central Compliance UK (CCUK) to educate electrical professionals on the dangers that asbestos can carry when working in asbestos affected areas. According to figures from the HSE, 14 people will unfortunately die early every day, this because of asbestos exposure. Ultimately this means that every year there are around 5,000 deaths caused by asbestos.

Asbestos is hands down the number one main killer when it comes to work related deaths in the UK. As well as being the reason for thousands of deaths each year, asbestos is also considered a huge factor in people having many health complications. Ever since 1999 there has been a total ban of asbestos, this does not however change the possibility that there are still a potential 12.5 million households that very likely still contain high amounts of asbestos. Contractors can take either face to face training or online training for asbestos awareness courses, these are fully certified the UK Asbestos Training Association (UKATA).

Marketing Director for NICEIC and ELECSA, Mark Smith explained the importance of asbestos awareness: “Tradespeople need to know they are working in a safe environment. These figures are a startling reminder of the work that needs to be done to protect those who are at greater risk of being exposed to asbestos. These courses will highlight what to look out for if they believe asbestos to be present in their vicinity and what immediate action they need to take to prevent themselves and others around them from being exposed to this harmful material.”

Managing Director for CCUK, Billy Quinn added: “We are delighted to be working with NICEIC and ELECSA who share the same passion to help standards and improve knowledge amongst construction workers. There are potentially thousands of contractors who are still not aware of the dangers surrounding asbestos. At CCUK we strive to get the message across that professional training can change the way today’s workers operate so they don’t put their lives at unnecessary risk.”

For more information you can visit here – www.niceic.com/asbestos-awareness-training

Initiative launched to tackle ethnic disparities at work

Following the recent publication of the first Race Disparity Audit by the UK government, highlighting the different treatment of people from some ethnic backgrounds, the Prime Minister has vowed to tackle these disparities in the workplace.

PM Theresa May said the new Race at Work Charter, developed by the government in conjunction with Business in the Community (BITC), would commit businesses to “a bold set of principles and actions designed to drive forward a step change in the recruitment and progression of ethnic minority employees”.

The government has appointed chairwoman of MediaCom UK & Ireland and WPP UK country manager Karen Blackett OBE as its Race at Work Champion. It has also secured a number of high-profile signatories to the charter, including NHS England, RBS, the Civil Service and WPP. Another charter signatory, Lloyds Banking Group, is the first FTSE 100 company to commit to reversing these ethnic inequalities in the workplace.

Furthermore, the Race Disparity Audit has laid out large amounts of website data covering ethnicity facts and figures, and revealing huge differences in the pay and progression of ethnic minority workers in businesses compared to their white counterparts. Therefore, the government will also set up a consultation on ethnicity pay reporting, where employers will be invited to discuss how to facilitate a mandatory approach to ensuring equal pay across ethnicities. This is necessary, because the amount of organisations volunteering to publish information on this pay gap remains low. The consultation will open in January and set out what details are needed from company’s to tackle this problem, whilst also consulting employers on how relevant data can be collected whilst not disrupting business.

PAT Workshops provided nationwide by Seaward

Seaward are the leaders in the electrical testing equipment market, having provided the best in electrical testing equipment nationwide for some time. They are now offering professionals in the electrical testing industry the chance to have a half day workshop. The workshops will be held at 12 different venues throughout the UK. The starting date was on the 12 October and the ending date will be the 7th of December.

Topics covered will be the those relating to legal regulations as well as industry guidance and common practises to follow when carrying out PAT risk assessments. Included in the workshops will also be a Q&A, allowing professionals to fire away with any questions or query’s they have regarding use of Seaward equipment as well as providing technical support and giving people a chance to use some of Seawards latest products.

Category manager st Seaward, Kevin Smith explained: “We believe our customer care is second to none and this is just one of the ways we can help those working in the electrical testing industry. PAT testing is vital to keep people safe, and we take our responsibility as part of the industry very seriously. We regularly update our PAT equipment and it is important that we give our customers the chance to keep up to date with the latest technology, such as the Apollo 600+, The PrimeTest 250+ and PATguard 3 software.”

If you’d be interested in attending a Seaward workshop and would like to find out more information, you can here – www.seaward.co.uk/patworkshops.

NICEIC launches bursary to help women in electrical industry

NICEIC has recently had success in its efforts to help women in the electrical industry through the Jobs for the Girls Bursary Scheme. The scheme provides grants to female electrical workers or females who wish to begin a career in this industry. It is offered to women of all ages and designed to cover training and other associated costs up to a maximum of £500 per individual.

One fortunate recipient was 40-year-old Amanda Pugh, who used the funding to set up a website for her business, Amanda Electrics;

“I was just starting out on my own and although I had help with some of the training, and was fortunate to have a good amount of tools I still had to pay for additional courses, books, registration, insurance, website fees, business cards, work clothing and other tools.

“The set up costs were more than I anticipated but the bursary from the NICEIC helped to offset some of these costs and meant I was able to start making money from my work sooner.”

Another person to benefit from the scheme was 18-year-old Brittany Douglas, who had just started an apprenticeship and used the money to buy tools and a copy of up-to-date wiring regulations;

“The bursary meant I was able to buy the tools I needed to start my apprenticeship. There are a lot of things you need to buy when just starting out so it was great that I could get a helping hand.”

In the six months since launching the scheme, NICEIC has already provided £5000 of funding to more than 20 women. The average age of all who applied was 29, which indicates that women generally enter the industry at a later age than male counterparts.

Emma Clancy, CEO of NICEIC, commented: “Over the last seven years we have seen a marked increase in the number of women who come to us looking for help and assistance. Employers have also been in touch to see how they can attract more female candidates.

“Where possible we have provided access to training, technical information and opportunities with our registered contractors, but it has not always been possible to assist those who just need a helping hand along the way.

“If we can help out those women who are just starting out or inspire others who might be thinking about a career in the electrical industry then we will be well on the way to addressing the gender imbalance directly.”

Survey on stigma of mental health in the engineering industry launched

In the wake of the important ‘World Mental Health day’ (10th October 2018), a smart initiative has been launched in which those involved in the engineering industry will be studied, with a focus on the impact of masculinity. The survey is something new for the sector as there has never been one like it before. Launched by the innovative ‘EqualEngineers’, the survey will be running until the 16th of November this year.

To this day the engineering profession remains a predominately male dominated sector. With a massive 89% of males taking up the percentage of the industry. The survey should serve as a good insight into the culture within the industry and what effect the image of a stereotypical engineer has on those in the sector. Exploring how men are maybe made to feel they must act or behave a certain way.

According to many reports, men are the gender most at risk of suicide, with the majority being under the age of 50 years old. It is also said that those in the construction sector are almost 4 times more likely to commit suicide. The survey will seek to discover if men are able to overcome the onsite or workplace so called macho culture and open up about their mental health.
The survey comes from a personal view point of EqualEngineers Managing Director, Mark McBride-Wright, who had previously worked many years in the sector and faced many of the challenges as well as witnessing the lack of diversity in the sector himself.

Speaking on the survey Mark explained: “For me, inclusivity in the workplace is a health and safety issue. Not being able to be open about who you are, because of attitudes and lack of diversity around you can lead to mental health issues and decreased well being. In construction, for example, an industry where suicide rates among men are more than three times the national average, more needs to be done to ensure that commitment to these issues goes much further than token inclusion policies.

My hopes for this survey is to capture the voice of men in the engineering and tech industries, individuals who perhaps feel excluded from the focus on diversity and inclusion efforts of organisations. We need to rapidly overhaul the way in which we approach culture change programmes within our industry, and we need to ensure everyone feels included, and is able to find their voice as part of the diversity narrative.”

For more information on the survey you can visit here – http://bit.ly/EEMasculinitySurvey

To take the survey you can visit here – https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/EqEngMasculinitySurvey

Industry response to severe global warming report

The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a collection of the world’s leading climate scientists, released a damning report early this week saying that global temperature rise levels must be kept to a maximum of 1.5% above pre-industrial levels. They warned that if this does not happen, it will significantly increase the risk of natural disasters, extreme heat and impoverish hundreds of millions of people.

Beama, a leading trade association in electrical infrastructure has already issued a response outlining what the government and industry stakeholders should do to try and counteract the problem:

  • Make the aim of net zero carbon emissions by 2050 a fundamental ambition
  • Accelerate the electrification and decarbonisation of heat and transport sectors
  • Collaborate across industries to support policy initiatives and building regulations to increase energy efficiency of all new buildings – and reintroduce a Zero Carbon Homes policy
  • Focus on developing a flexible energy system to enable a quicker revolution of renewable energy and move to low-carbon economy
  • Support aim to reduce carbon emissions 45% by 2030 by using proven sustainable technologies like heat pumps, smart electric thermal storage, low-temperature heating systems, water treatment etc.

It is more crucial now than ever before, with the publication of this worrying report, that industry leaders try to follow the guidance set out in this response and do everything they can to accelerate the sustainable policies that are planned for the future.

How to identify 3 common light bulb faults in your home

Electrical faults in your home are irritating at best and could also be very dangerous at worst, presenting both a serious injury and a deadly fire risk.

1. Light bulbs blowing  

Cheap light bulbs may be the cause of this. Although they may seem cost effective, they often don’t last as long as more well-known brands. This is especially true when it comes to LED lamps. Spending a little more money on your bulbs is likely to pay off in the long term – and you won’t have the inconvenience of having to replace them time and time again. Cheaper bulbs might not always be the problem, it could also be a loose connection in the lamp holder or somewhere else in the circuit which is causing a surge, so it’s worth considering this too.

2. Flickering lights

Flickering lights can drive you up the wall but the cause of the problem can often be easier to identify than you think, for example, it could be:

  • A dimmer switch that’s not compatible
  • A loose connection somewhere in the circuit
  • A damaged cable which could be trapped under a floorboard which is losing connection every time someone treads on it
  • A broken or damaged light switch

3. A fishy smell

It may sound strange, but if you experience a fishy smell coming from electrical equipment, you’re not imagining things. It is fairly common and it may be caused by a couple of things:

Ageing fluorescent light fittings developing a fault over time
A loose connection in a plug, or a socket that has been overloaded by a high-powered appliance such as a shower or tumble dryer
If you have any concerns about the condition of the electrics in your home, you should always call in a certified electrician.

Renewable electricity generation reaches all-time high

The increasing availability of affordable and accessible renewables has resulted in the generation of green electricity reaching a record high level, as has been reported by the Renewable Energy Association (REA), who also called for more government backing to support and continue the growth.

In the quarterly government publication Energy Trends, data shows that in the second quarter of 2018, renewables’ share of total electricity generation was at an all-time high of 31.7 per cent. In contrast, coal’s share of electricity generation hit a record low of 1.6 per cent.

Despite the increasing provision of renewables throughout the energy sector however, the REA have shown that the deployment of solar PV systems has actually decreased due to less government funding. Therefore, the REA has urged the government to offer more support and use policy to ensure that the most cost-effective renewables such as solar continue to grow. Analysis showed that solar installations have fallen overall, and during July and August there was only a 21 milliwatt increase in deployment in the UK. The REA has put this down to government reforms in recent years and policy making the renewables market less accessible than it could be for many buyers.

Policy and external affairs director at the REA, James Court, commented; “The record renewable power generation is a significant achievement for the industry. Renewables have never been more affordable and accessible as they are now and this is reflected in the data released today.

 “However, for renewables to continue to become more affordable and for the UK to grow its green jobs base, the government must continue to support the industry. Figures show that the lack of support is already having a significant impact on solar power, for example, which is currently the cheapest option for new power generation.

 “Government must introduce alternative support and unlock a route to market if the UK is to benefit from cheaper, greener and smarter energy.”

Certsure hit their 2 year target early, raising £20k for Alzheimer’s

Staff who work at Certsure, the organisation who also operate the brands of NICEIC and ELECSA, successfully managed to raise a massive £20,000 for Alzheimer’s UK (ARUK), doing this a year earlier than expected. Certsure chose to partner last year with ARUK, who happen to be the leading dementia research charity in Europe.

They had originally said themselves a target and deadline of reaching £20,000 within a two-year period, however, they massively over performed, hitting the target a whole year earlier than they had scheduled. There are a reported 850,000 people living in the UK with the condition, this is sadly set to rise to 1 million by the year of 2025.

ARUK are the organisation that will hopefully reduce this by continuing their research, with an end goal of finding a permanent cure to the disease. In order to raise the money, Certsure employees undertook various activities to raise the £20,000. Activities included things such as bake sales, auctions, sponsor runs and sweepstakes. One of the biggest fundraisers however, came from a staff parachute jump, which saw 22 Certsure staff parachute 10,000 feet from a plane, this subsequently raised £10,000.

Regional Corporate Partnerships Officer for ARUK, Katy Abraham’s expressed her joy of working with Certsure: “It’s been fantastic working with Certsure and I’m so impressed that they have already hit their fundraising target. The enthusiasm and support has been incredible as they have literally thrown themselves out of planes and into this partnership. Their efforts will make a real difference in our search for a cure to dementia.”

Lighting provision for the world’s longest sea bridge

Lighting company Thorn has been tasked with providing a large amount of the lighting for the new Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, which is due to open soon and will become the world’s largest sea bridge.

The entire construction project will cost 115.9 billion yuan (€14.7 billion), and out of the three associated lighting contracts, Thorn has secured two of them. Their products will illuminate two artificial islands which have been constructed at the east and west of the bridge, as well as being used inside the tunnel that leads to the crossing from Hong Kong.

After nine years of construction work on the bridge, it is nearing completion and is set to start carrying traffic soon. It spans China’s Pearl River Delta, and connects Hong Kong and the island of Macau with the city of Zhuhai on the Chinese mainland. For all companies involved with construction, the environment makes it an extremely difficult task: such things to consider are frequent typhoons, airport height restrictions, high environmental standards and factors involved with shipping. These considerations do not only determine what kind of products can be used but also how they are implemented.

Thorn provided 120 high-power floodlights, mounted upon 12 high masts, to light the bridge. The products were chosen for various reasons: their high luminous efficacy of 115lm/W, lengthy lifetime of 70,000 hours, IP66 rating for ingress protection, and their success in completing a 1000-hour salt-spray test. All of these factors crucially demonstrate that the lighting can withstand the tough environment in which they are being used. As far as environmental concerns go, the fittings use 600W of power, compared to 1000W for any realistic alternatives, so are the most suitable option on all fronts.