Electricity is dangerous, even for certified trades people who know what they’re doing. However, changes to regulations may mean lower safety standards that put everyone at risk.
According to the Electrical Safety Authority’s 2014 report on safety issues in Ontario, “faulty electrical infrastructure wiring is the cause of 700 fires and is blamed for “148 electrical fatalities in Ontario over the last ten years”.
“Risk of harm exists for all who work in the electrical industry. A research study found that one of the most prominent risks of harm were the unknown risks ‘caused by workers who were unskilled, non expert and un-certified’,” says Gavan Howe, an Associate Professor in the Media Studies Faculty at The University of Guelph Humber, and author of What Risk of Harm Means to Experts.
“In spite of the dangers, people who are currently considered unqualified may soon be allowed to do electrical work in buildings and homes across the province,” warns James Barry, Executive Chairman of the IBEW-CCO.
Currently an electrical apprentice must complete 9,000 hours (about five years) of on-the-job training in order to become a certified electrician. They must also complete three sets of college classes, and pass a comprehensive licensing exam.