The Route to Electric Vehicle Repair

Steve Nash | 21 Mar 2019

The Route to Electric Vehicle Repair

Steve Nash | 21 Mar 2019

In this blog:

The IMI’s collaboration with industry experts to formulate standards


The SMMT figures for January 2019 show that alternative-fuel vehicle registrations grew by 26.3% to reach a total new car market share of 6.8% – a growth largely attributable to electrified vehicles. Whilst this year-on-year growth was admittedly from a low base, it underlines a trend which is bound to continue as manufacturers rush to get more and more electrified models into the market.

The IMI’s campaign to introduce minimum skills requirements for individuals working on the high-voltage systems of electrified vehicles continues to gather pace. Having established that the existing Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 do apply to those working in the service and maintenance of electrified vehicles, and gained acknowledgement from the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) that it would enforce the regulations, we have been busy developing a framework of appropriate standards and canvassing opinions from experts within the sector to refine them.

Most recently, we established a broad-based industry working group to help us to ensure that the standards are appropriate and realistic. The aim is to ascertain the minimum acceptable levels of skill required to undertake specific types of work on or around high voltage systems. This is for the protection of those directly working on the vehicle and also their employers, who will ultimately need to prove that they have taken reasonable steps to protect their employees from injury by ensuring that they are appropriately trained and equipped.

The employer element is extremely important since it is employers who invariably make the decisions about the types of work to accept in their workshops, as well as making the decisions concerning training expenditure and the purchase of equipment. Insurers have told us that any failure to ensure that staff are appropriately skilled to undertake potentially dangerous work on or around high-voltage vehicle systems, and/or the failure to provide the right equipment to enable staff to work safely, would be likely to invalidate employer liability insurance. Furthermore, this would open employers up to prosecution by the HSE.

So, in essence, what we are aiming to do is to help employers to understand what the minimum standards are which would enable them to show that they have acted responsibly in the event of an incident. For many this will not be an issue until electrified vehicles become a lot more common on our roads and, even when the numbers grow, it may be sufficient for some to have just a limited number of trained experts to undertake this work.

Details of what the standards look like will be forthcoming shortly, forming part of a campaign which I launched later in this issue.

In the future, we will be giving similar attention to the minimum standards required to work on advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS), autonomous driving systems and the connected car. As I have said previously, as far as these new technologies are concerned, the days of the gifted amateur are over! Professional standards need to, and will, apply.

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