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Hi there, and welcome to our follow up vlog on the difference between competency and licensing. As promised, we’ll be slaying the sacred cow that says a person must always hold an Australian electrical licence to work on hazardous area electrical equipment in this country.

Let’s start by saying that we’re not complete nutters, and we realise that yes, a licence is required most of the time, as are appropriate HA competencies. But as always, it’s not quite as black and white as all that. The reason is that the requirement for an electrical licence comes from legislation, while the requirement for competency comes from a standard – 60079.14. And sure, the majority of the time they will both apply to installations in Australia, but there are situations when only one or the other might be applicable.

The simplest example is electrical construction work done overseas for Australian projects in module construction yards and so-on – Australian standards will apply to the project, so the competency requirement exists, but Australian law does not apply overseas, so there is no requirement for a licence.

Even with work in Australia there are subtleties in the legislation, which varies from state to state. In most states, a licence is required for work on equipment at voltages higher than Extra Low Voltage –, which means that work on most instrumentation, fire and gas systems etc does not require a licence. But, in a hazardous area, 60079.14 usually still applies, so there will be a requirement for competencies, which is the reason there are training pathways that allow instrument techs and the like to get them. It’s worth being aware that QLD’s legislation includes ELV in hazardous areas in the definitions for electrical equipment, meaning that a licence is required for ELV work in hazardous areas in Queensland.
It’s worth noting also that some states allow electrical engineers to perform electrical work without a licence, but again the competency requirement would still apply.

So I think what we’re saying here, is that while it might be generally true that a licence, and competencies are required for HA electrical work, there are exceptions that people should be aware of before they go getting all upset about things. And now that we’ve vlogged competency and licensing to death. In our next hit out we’ll have a look at the common misconceptions around compound barrier glands.

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