Industry group updates the ECS Electrical Safety Unit

Electrical Scheme

The Construction Leadership Council introduced requirements in 2015 for CSCS partner schemes as part of the government’s construction 2025 strategy. This includes a number of requirements that the Electrotechnical Certification Scheme (ECS) has to meet as a CSCS partner scheme, including the need to have a qualification or assessment which meets minimum industry standards.

Along with new digital technologies developed through this, such as CSCS Smart Check and the ECS Check systems, there has also been an industry wide push to upskill the industry and to ensure people are suitably qualified and competent for the roles they are doing.

One of the changes for ECS as a result of this was the introduction of the ECS Electrical Safety Unit in 2018. This assessment was developed to provide a basic knowledge assessment for those dealing with electrotechnical systems and was brought in as a flexible and cost effective way to meet the requirements for minimum qualification and assessment standards for ECS Related Discipline and other defined card types.

The assessment covers the essential safety aspects for electrotechnical work in specialised occupations and questions are based around safe working of electrotechnical trades carrying out associated installation works, and an emphasis on ensuring electrical installation work is carried out by a suitably qualified ECS card holder.

Concerned by a potential lack of clarity in the wording of some questions and lower than expected pass rates, the Joint Industry Board (JIB) contacted industry representatives to review the question banks and ensure the questions were correct, properly constructed, and clear for users.

The industry group reviewed the question banks and delegate guide. This resulted in a number of questions being removed as out of scope, some questions amended for clarity, and others modified for appropriate level. The pass rate for the assessment has also been set at 70% to be more in line with the expectations of industry on assessments of this type.

The new question bank went live in late October 2022 and pass marks have improved with more positive feedback on the level and relevance of the questions. Further promotion of the relevant training for the Electrical Safety Unit will be ongoing.

There are no additional question categories and the training being provided already covered the necessary scope for this update, so there are no changes needed in training delivery. This process was to ensure the right level, scope and clarity of the questions.

Thanks go to CEDIA, Institute of Sound, Communication and Visual Engineers (ISCVE), Schneider Electric, Torpedo Factory Group, BGEN, J Brand, Navigator Productions and Learning Lounge for providing feedback and ongoing review for the question bank and support for the scheme.

Matt Nimmons, Managing Director, CEDIA EMEA, says, “Together we have achieved a positive outcome that will help increase ECS card adoption in line with the government’s construction strategy to promote site safety and ensure that our members are suitably qualified and competent for the roles they are fulfilling on site.”

Neil Voce MInstSCVE, President for ISCVE, comments, “We felt the JIB really listened when we approached them, and their revisions to the electrical safety assessment questions make them really pertinent for the sectors our members work in.”

Andy Reakes, JIB and ECS Head of Growth, who led this update, explains, “This type of industry led process is essential for the continued raising of standards in the electrotechnical sector, so that industry and end users have clear visibility on the expectations for qualified and competent personnel working throughout the built environment. We will be continuing to update frameworks across the audio visual and smart home space as part of the work to define sector specific competence frameworks and look forward to building strong partnerships with similar organisations to collectively improve education, safety and productivity.”

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