Owners and operators of electricity and gas supply systems in New Zealand are required to implement and maintain a Safety Management System (SMS). Every SMS must be regularly audited by an independent accredited auditor to verify compliance with requirements.

This page addresses requirements for both electricity and gas supply operators.


Safety Management Systems – Electricity Providers in NZ

In New Zealand every electricity generator and every electricity distributor that owns or operates an electricity supply system must implement and maintain a safety management system as required by the Electricity Act 1992.

The Electricity Act 1992 states that the safety management system must ensure that all practicable steps are taken to prevent the electricity supply system from presenting a significant risk of:

    • serious harm to any member of the public; or
    • significant damage to property owned by a person other than the electricity generator or electricity distributor

In 2010 the Electricity (Safety) Regulations 2010 (link to regulation) came into force and this required every electricity distributor that owns or operates an electricity supply company (as identified in the Electricity Act 1992 above) to have their safety management system audited by an accredited auditor (Conformity Assessment Body).

See clause 51 below, this explains the options when it comes to having the safety management system audited:

REG-11

Clause 51 of the Electricity (Safety) Regulations 2010 (link to regulation) gives organisations TWO options when it comes to the external auditing of the safety management system. Organisations can choose to be audited and certified to NZS 7901 (a complete standard around public safety) or be audited against the requirements of clauses 49 and 50 of the Electricity (Safety) Regulations 2010 (link to regulation).

We offer both of these options to organisations in New Zealand but in our opinion option two if far better. The requirements of clauses 49 and 50 are shown below. These are straight from the Electricity (Safety) Regulations 2010 (link to regulation).

REG-2

REG-3

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Why would you be audited to NZS 7901 when you can be audited against the requirements shown above?

sheepCHOICES

It appears that many New Zealand electricity generation and electricity distribution companies have misinterpreted the auditing requirements of the Electricity (Safety) Regulations 2010 (link to regulation). As far as our records show (as of 1st July 2015) of all the electricity generation and electricity distribution companies in New Zealand only one organisation has opted for option two (auditing of clauses 49 and 50 as above).

To verify compliance with clauses 49 and 50 of the Electricity (Safety) Regulations 2010 (link to regulation) we use either AS/NZS 4801 or OHSAS 18001 as a base standard for the safety management system. These two standards are more internationally recognised; to date there only 36 accredited NZS 7901 certificates worldwide whereas there are tens of thousands of accredited certificates for the other two.

A few benefits of option two over being audited and certified to NZS 7901 are:

  • more integrated approach to the audit
  • more cost effective
  • more internationally recognised certifications (AS/NZS 4801 and/or OHSAS 18001)
  • more options of auditing bodies (choosing a CAB)
  • audits are of a lesser duration due to different accreditation body requirements

Misconception about the Electricity (Safety) Regulations 2010

It is widely believed that every electricity generator and every electricity distributor must be certified to NZS 7901, this is 100% NOT TRUE. If you have any queries or you want to seek clarification on this matter feel free to contact our Auckland office and speak with one of our Safety Management System Assessors.


Safety Management Systems – Gas Providers in NZ

Owners and operators of gas supply systems that supply, or are intended to supply, annual consumption greater than 10 TJ of gas per year, are required to implement and maintain an SMS.

A gas supply system is the distribution system plus any related installations, appliances and fittings that form part of a system for conveying gas to consumers (section 46A of the Gas Act).

As with electricity providers above owners and operators of gas supply systems have two choices when it comes to the auditing of their Safety Management System. The SMS must either comply with NZS 7901 or Regulations 33 and 34 of the Gas (Safety and Measurement) Regulations 2010 (link to the regulation).

The requirements for a SMS are stated in regulations 32 through to 40 in the Gas (Safety and Measurement) Regulations 2010 (link to the regulation).

sheepCHOICES

Misconception about the Gas (Safety and Measurement) Regulations 2010.

It is widely believed in New Zealand that every gas supply distributor must be certified to NZS 7901, this is 100% NOT TRUE. If you have any queries or you want to seek clarification on this matter feel free to contact our Auckland office and speak with one of our Safety Management System Assessors.

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