Some in the industry have asked why there is no SparkSafe plastic card. It has been suggested that this would provide a sense of value for money, and improve the perceived worth of the licence to the worker. During the development process of the Licence to Practise concept, the view was taken that a control system that included a plastic card would confuse the client and undermine the online solution. The fact is that few employers or client organisations look for a plastic card to evidence electrical competency. The rationale behind the unique online solution was to design a system that would achieve the following –
Connect online, the identity of the electrical worker, by licence type to specific projects via their employer and subsequently via the main contractor to the Client.
Our online solution makes it easy for the electrical contracting and maintenance industry Clients to independently determine the identity and occupational competency of a licenced electrical worker. On the SparkSafe homepage, we have included an easy to use “Find a Licenced Electrical Worker” feature. There is no app required to use this search tool (Fig 1.).
By entering the worker’s first name and membership number, Clients can determine in advance or at the point of arrival to site who the person is, what they look like, and how well qualified they are to do the work (Fig 2)
The fact is that most domestic and commercial customers, including main contractors, are forced to work with a trust-based system that may or may not be supported by a plastic ID card. Plastic cards are unreliable as they can be lost, forgotten, stolen, or forged. Plastic cards also put the worker in a position of control over the Client. Is allowing unqualified, under-qualified, self-designated, or semi-skilled electrical workers on to your property or construction site a risk worth taking? Ignorance is not bliss in the eyes of the law. The courts expect commercial Clients to be compliant with the requirements of the CDM Regulations. Responsible main contractors likewise are often obliged to accept plastic cards on face value.
Our “Find an Electrical Worker” feature is a new and useful resource that will help risk-conscious, customer focussed main contractors address the shortcomings of the potentially hazardous trust-based system.