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Last edited 22 Aug 2019
Vulnerable residents at risk from under-qualified workforce
|In August 2019, the Electrical Contractors’ Association responded to the government consultation following the Hackitt Report on fire safety in buildings.|
The safety of hospital patients, those in care and residents of high-rise buildings could still be at risk if those who work in higher-risk premises lack the necessary experience-based qualifications and competency – according to the Electrical Contractors Association (ECA).
In its response to the government’s ‘Building A Safer Future’ consultation, leading trade body ECA broadly agreed with the proposal for an ‘overarching competence framework’ for those who work on and in higher-risk buildings.
However, ECA also said the new framework must reinforce and extend experienced-based qualifications. Without doing so, ECA argues that electrical and other installations in higher risk residential buildings could pose an unacceptable risk of electrocution and fire.
In its response, ECA underlined that for a competence-based qualification system to ensure safety and quality in higher risk premises, all workers should undertake a suitable apprenticeship as a minimum. Alternative, comparable qualification routes should also be provided for existing experienced workers.
 ECA Technical Director Mike Smith commented:
“However, regulated competence-based qualifications, including apprenticeships, are fundamental to ensuring that installation and maintenance work delivers fire and electrical safety. Without this essential foundation, the residents of high-rise buildings and hospitals will remain at risk.”
Mike Smith added: “These short courses seriously undermine the take up of apprenticeships in the industry. Furthermore, their continued existence undermines calls from Dame Judith Hackitt and the government to ensure that the public is properly protected from fire risks in high rise buildings.”
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