‘Works’ means any fittings that are used, or designed or intended for use, in or in connection with the generation, conversion, transformation, or conveyance of electricity; but does not include any part of an electrical installation.

The requirements relating to Works around safety obligations and Safety Management Systems (SMS).


Choice of design 

  • Must take into account whether installation will operate under with a Safety Management System (SMS). 
  • Can be constructed as low voltage installations (Reg 38)
  • General safety requirements (Reg 14)


Construction process

  • General safety rules Reg 34 and 36


  • Reg 41(1)(2) and 47 to 55


  • Reg 41(3)(4) and 42 to 46


  • (Reg 38) unless constructed as low voltage installations


  • Documentation required only if the person testing is different from person connecting (Reg 38(3))


Safety check

  • Check power supply as specified on Reg 38(2)

Periodic verification 

In service safety verification

  • Reg 41(1)(2)


  • Reg 51 and statutory declaration Reg 53 at least once every 5 years

Safety obligations

There is a general obligation on everyone who designs, constructs, maintains, uses or manages a distribution system to ensure the distribution system is safe.

Distribution companies have a requirement within Part 3 of the Electricity (Safety) Regulations 2010(external link) to ensure electrical characteristics are not altered in a way that may cause danger to persons or property, such as:

Safety requirements for works

Some general safety rules apply to all works, whether they are covered by a Safety Management System (SMS) or not:

  • The owner of works must ensure the works and fittings have adequate electrical protection against short circuits and earth faults.
  • A person must not interfere with, move or attempt to move the works (Regulation 35(external link)).
  • Electricity generations facilities of works and installations must be secured against access by unauthorised persons (Regulation 36(external link)).
  • Before any works on which prescribed electrical work has been done are connected to a power supply, the person who does the connection must ensure that tests have been carried out to ensure the electrical safety, the compatibility with the supply system, and the correct polarity, phase rotation and protection of the supply (Regulation 38(external link)).

Periodic verification

There is a requirement to implement a safety checking system (Regulation 40(external link)) that must:

  • verify compliance with all the requirements
  • occur periodically at reasonable intervals
  • ensure records of results are being kept.

Safety Management System (SMS)

A Safety Management System (SMS) requires  so far as is reasonably practicable all steps should be taken to prevent the electricity supply system from presenting a significant risk of serious harm to any persons or presenting a significant risk of property damage.

Every electricity generator and every electricity distributor that owns or operates an electricity supply system must implement and maintain an SMS, in accordance with the Electricity (Safety) Regulations 2010.

As per  Section 61A of the Electricity Act 1992(external link), ‘electricity supply system’ means:

  1. in relation to an electricity generator, assets that, whether taken individually or as a whole, have a rated electricity generating capacity equal to, or greater than, 10 MW.
  2. in relation to an electricity distributor, assets that, whether taken individually or as a whole, are used, or designed or intended for use, in or in connection with the conversion, transformation, or conveyance of electricity at a capacity equal to, or greater than, 10 MVA.

Works covered

A SMS is implemented and maintained by a safety management system operator. The SMS creates an environment where all aspects of the design, construction and operation of an electricity distribution system are subject to third party audit and certification. This allows the owner or operator of a distribution system to fulfil their legal obligations for safety in a rigorous manner while at the same time allowing a certain amount of flexibility in their implementation.

Electricity generators and distributors that own or operate an electricity supply system must implement and maintain safety management systems. Owners or operators of other works may opt in to having an SMS in order to meet their obligations to ensure safety.

An SMS must either comply with NZS 7901 or Regulations 49 and 50(external link).
Each SMS must be fully documented and provide for the following:

  • the systematic identification of hazards
  • the assessment of hazards
  • the steps to be taken to eliminate, isolate, or minimise hazards and to mitigate risks from those hazards
  • assessment of the effectiveness of this risk management
  • investigation of accidents
  • enhancement of safety performance throughout the system including performance measurement
  • an audit programme. 

Every SMS must be regularly audited by an accredited auditor to confirm it is being implemented and maintained in compliance with these requirements (Regulation 51(external link)).

Operators of SMS are required to provide WorkSafe [KA1] with a statutory declaration at least once every five years to confirm the operator has a current audit certificate (Regulation 53(external link)).

The first such statutory declaration must be made and sent to WorkSafe within six months of the first audit of the SMS.

Auditors must not issue an audit certificate without being satisfied that the conditions are being met. They are required to cancel the audit certificate for an SMS if the requirements for an SMS are not met, or if WorkSafe directs cancellation on the grounds that the SMS is not being implemented (Regulation 54(external link) and Regulation 56(external link)).

Works not covered

Distribution systems that are not covered by an SMS must meet the requirements of Regulations 40 to 46(external link).

These Regulations require owners and operators to ensure the safety of their works by ensuring:

  • adequate records and plans are kept up to date
  • these works are designed, constructed, maintained and operated in a manner that achieves continuity of supply and safety of the distribution systems
  • that overhead electric lines are constructed to support structural design loads with no risk of failure or injury to persons
  • that the works are protected by an earthing system
  • that the works are capable of being isolated from its supply of electricity
  • that high voltage conductors of overhead electric lines are protected by earth fault protection fittings that interrupt fault currents to earth in 5 seconds or less
  • that notices reading “Danger Live Wires’’ are affixed, and maintained on all poles that carry uninsulated conductors
  • that records and plans of those works are kept.

if overhead line structures are damaged or unsafe, the owner must repair or replace them within the maximum timeframe set by  Regulation 41(external link) depending on their condition.