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State of Safety 2019 Connecting to safety system

Connecting to the safety system


Key statistics


new electrical operating permits in 2019, which is a 5% increase compared to 2018


clients were contacted and notified about requiring an electrical operating permit


electrical operating permits were pulled as a direct result of our three-month pilot

In 2019, Technical Safety BC set out to better understand internal data relationships and leverage external resources to generate behaviour change. Based on an enhanced analytical capability, we have been able to identify and correct non-compliance patterns, which informs how we can design behaviour interventions to support safety initiatives.

From this analysis, Technical Safety BC found that electrical installation permits were not necessarily being converted to electrical operating permits, even though in many cases they were required. Coupled with this was a lack of awareness and understanding within the industry on the type of work electrical operating permits cover, how they connect to installation permits, and who should hold them.

By regulation, owners of most industrial, commercial, residential, and institutional facilities must have an operating permit to operate and maintain regulated electrical equipment and systems under the Safety Standards Act.

This problem presented an opportunity for Technical Safety BC to pilot a project to change the behaviour of building managers and asset owners. Therefore, we launched a three-month pilot that used internal permit data and external data to identify a group of non-compliant clients and businesses who were legally required to have an electrical operating permit.

A two-tiered campaign was developed. The first objective was to obtain the outstanding operating permits and the second objective was to educate contractors, asset owners, and building managers about their legal requirements.

At the end of three months, our outreach team had contacted and followed up with over 702 clients. Technical Safety BC also presented at stakeholder events, ran a targeted ad campaign, and created educational resources around operating permits. The campaign yielded 234 additional electrical operating permits that otherwise would have gone unnoticed and unattached to the safety system. The year ended with 1,000 new electrical operating permits issued, a 5.2% increase compared to 2018.

Additionally, with the success of the pilot project, Technical Safety BC will continue to drive towards an increase of operating permits in 2020. We remain focused on prioritizing education and collaboration to address non-compliance issues.