Regulating Bodies, Responsibilities and Approval
Why is this information important to you?
As a Sign Service/ Installation technician it is important to know all aspects of your job. You will be installing CSA approved signs and site-built signs and repairing and converting signs. It is important to follow safe work practices and to legally install the sign.
When you have completed this module you will be able to:
Understand the roles of the regulating bodies that administer the Sign Service/Installation Technician Certification.
Understand the difference between a company certified by an organization (for example CSA, ULC) and one that is not and how the signs of an uncertified company are to be approved for installation.
This instructional workbook was developed by the Alberta Sign Association with the goal of providing safety education and technical training for the electrical certification of a Sign Service/Installation Technician. It is intended that an individual could obtain accreditation from the Alberta Sign Association when they have successfully completed the approved technical training. Part of this accreditation requires an on-the-job training period under the supervision of an authorized employer.
Several provincial organizations were consulted and involved in the process of establishing the scope of qualifications necessary for the electrical certification of a Sign Service/Installation Technician. The regulating bodies, complete with their respective jurisdictions as applied to the installation of electrical sign equipment, are listed below.
The Apprenticeship and Industry Training Division of Alberta Learning is responsible for policy and program development for Alberta’s apprenticeship system and for the administration of the Apprenticeship and Industry Training Act. Program development activities include the development, revision and maintenance of trade programs, examinations, record books and regulations for both compulsory and optional trades designated in Alberta.
As an example, the Electrician trade is designated as a compulsory certification trade in Alberta. This means that to perform tasks, activities or functions that fall within the scope of the Electrician trade you must be a Certified Electrician, registered apprentice or have obtained an Authorization to Work from the Executive Director of the Apprenticeship and Industry Training Division.
Some of the tasks and activities that a Sign Service/Installation Technician is involved in overlap those of a Certified Electrician. The executive director, under Section 23 of the Apprenticeship and Industry Training Act, has given authorization to work so that a Sign Service/Installation Technician can perform restricted activities associated with electrical installations that would normally be done by a Certified Electrician.
Safety Codes Council
The purpose of the Safety Codes Council is to administer the Safety Codes Act. Under the authority of the Safety Codes Act of Alberta, the Safety Codes Electrical Technical Council was set up to ensure the safe use of electricity in the province. The Safety Codes Act has authority over all electrical wiring and equipment. The only exception to this general rule, in Alberta, is the wiring contained within mines. The Alberta Government has adopted the Canadian Electrical Code and any further standards as regulations in Alberta.
Safety Codes Officers under the authority of the Safety Codes Act perform inspections of electrical installations.
Alberta Employment and Immigration – Occupational Health and Safety
All employers and workers in the Province of Alberta are regulated by the Occupational Health and Safety Act. With regard to health and safety at the work site, the Act defines: the responsibilities that the employer has for the employees of the company; the responsibilities that the employee has for the employer; and the responsibilities that both employer and employee have for other workers at the site. The applicable portion of the Act, Part 1 of the Revised Statutes of Alberta Dec 1, 2021, is given below.
Obligations of Work Site Parties
Obligations of the employers
3(1) Every employer shall ensure, as far as it is reasonably practicable for the employer to do so,
(a) the health and safety and welfare of
(i) workers engaged in the work of that employer,
(ii) those workers not engaged in the work of that employer but present at the work site at which that work is being carried out, and
(iii) other persons at or in the vicinity of the work site whose health and safety may be materially affected by identifiable and controllable hazards originating from the work site,
(b) that the workers engaged in the work of that employer are aware of their rights and duties under this Act, the regulations and the OHS code.
(c) that none of the employer’s workers are subjected to or participate in harassment or violence at the work site,
(d) that the employer’s workers are supervise by a person who
(i) is competent, and
(ii) is familiar with this Act, the regulations and the OHS code that apply to work performed at the work site,
(e) that the joint health and safety committee, if there is one, or the health and safety representative, if there is one, complies with all requirements imposed on the joint health and safety committee or the health and safety representative under this Act, the regulations or the OHS Code, and
(f) that health and safety concerns raised by workers, supervisors, and the joint work site health and safety committee, if there is one, or health and safety representative, if there is one, are resolved in a timely manner.
(2) Every employer shall ensure that workers engaged in the work of that employer are adequately trained in all matters necessary to perform their work in a healthy and safe manner.
(3) If work is to be done that may endanger a worker, the employer shall ensure the work is done.
(a) by a worker who is competent to do the work, or
(b) by a worker who is working directly under the supervision of a worker who is competent to do the work.
(4) Every employer shall keep readily available information related to worksite hazards, controls, work practices and procedures and provide that information to.
(a) the joint health and safety committee, if there is one, or health and safety representative, if there is one, at the work site
(b) the workers, and
(c) the prime contractor, if there is one.
(5) Every employer shall ensure that current paper or downloaded or stored electronic copies of this Act, the regulations and the OHS Code are readily available for reference by the workers, the joint health and safety committee, if there is one, and the health and safety representative if there is one.
(6) Every employer who is a self-employed person engaged in an occupation but is not in the service of an employer for that occupation shall comply with all the requirements imposed on an employer, with any necessary modifications.
(7) Every employer shall cooperate with any persons exercising a duty imposed by this Act, the regulations and the OHS Code.
Obligations of workers
5(1) Every worker shall, while engaged in an occupation
(a) take reasonable care to protect the health and safety of the worker and of other persons at or in the vicinity of the work site while the worker is working.
(b) Cooperate with the worker’s supervisor or employer or any other person for the purposes of protecting the health and safety of
(i) the worker,
(ii) other workers engaged in the work of employer, and
(iii) other workers not engaged in the work of that employer but present at the work site at which that work is being carried out,
(c) at all times, when the nature of work requires, use all devices and wear all personal protective equipment designated and provided for the worker’s protection by the worker’s employer or required to be used when worn by the worker by the Act, the regulations or the OHS Code.
(d) refrain from causing or participating in harassment or violence,
(e) report to the employer or supervisor a concern about an unsafe or harmful work site act that occurs or has occurred or an unsafe or harmful work site condition that exists or has existed.
(f) participate in any training provided by the employer, and
(g) cooperate with any person exercising a duty imposed by this Act, regulation and the OHS Code.
(2) A worker who is not competent to perform work that may endanger the worker or others shall not perform the work except under direct supervision of a worker who is competent to perform the work.
Obligations of suppliers
6(1) Every supplier shall, as far as it is reasonably practical for supplier to do so,
(a) ensure that any personal protective equipment or equipment that the supplier supplies I sin safe operating condition,
(b) ensure that any harmful substances or explosives the supplier supplies is safe to use, when used in accordance with the manufacturers specifications,
(c) if the supplier has responsibility under an agreement to maintain equipment, ensure that the equipment is maintained in a safe condition, in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications, if any, and in compliance with this Act, the regulations and OHS code,
(d) provide a notice to all of the employers supplied by the supplier with personnel protective equipment, or equipment, or to the purchasers or lessees of the equipment, when the supplier becomes aware or ought reasonably to be aware that the equipment that was supplied or is about to be supplied does not comply with a standard prescribed under the regulations or the OHS code, and
(e) provide a notice to all of the employers supplied by the supplier with a harmful substance or explosive when the supplier becomes aware or ought reasonably to be aware that the harmful substance or explosive does not comply with a standard prescribed under the regulations or the OHS Code.
(2) Subject to subsection (1)(d) and (e), every supplier shall ensure that any protective equipment, equipment, harmful substances or explosives that the supplier supplies complies with this Act, the regulations and the OHS Code.
(3) Every supplier shall, as far as reasonably practicable for the supplier to do so,
(a) ensure that any personnel protective equipment or equipment is supplied with a written copy of the manufacturer’s specifications and any other instructions for safe use, as applicable, if such specifications and instructions exist, and
(b) ensure any harmful substances or explosives the supplier supplies is supplied with a written copy of the manufacturers specifications and instructions for safe use, as applicable, if such specifications and instructions exist,
(4) Every supplier shall cooperate with any persons exercising a duty imposed by this Act, the regulations and the OHS Code.
Information is available from Occupational Health and Safety regarding regulations on work site health and safety as well as other regulations pursuant to the Occupational Health and Safety Act. Check the Government of Alberta web pages for more information.
Alberta Sign Association
The Alberta Sign Association has accepted the responsibility to maintain a training program and to have it delivered by technical training institutes and colleges throughout the province. The program will contain a technical training component of approximately 18 hours in school and an on-the-job component of 1 year. The successful candidate will obtain a document issued by the Sign Association indicating that the individual has received satisfactory on-the-job training under the supervision of an authorized employer and successfully completed the technical training as required by the conditions of the Authorization to Work. This person will now have the electrical certification of a Sign Service/Installation Technician (SSIT).
Scope of the Authorization to Work
There are limitations to the scope of electrically related activities in which an SSIT can participate. As discussed earlier, only people with a valid Electrician trade certificate or an Authorization to Work are allowed to work on electrical installations, including new construction and alterations or repairs to existing installations. The scope of the Authorization to Work granted to the Sign Service/Installation Technician by the Executive Director of Apprenticeship is limited to:
* Disconnection and reconnection of an existing sign installation for the purpose of maintenance but does not include initial connection of a new installation.
* Routine and regular maintenance on existing sign installations following appropriate safety procedures.
Responsibilities of a SSIT
A Sign Service/Installation Technician as an authorized person has a legal and moral responsibility to carry out the work in a professional manner. Public safety is important and legal implications can arise when accidents involving injury or death occur.
In addition to the responsibilities associated with workmanship, it is the responsibility of everyone associated with the electrical industry to ensure that only approved materials are used in an electrical installation. All electrical equipment installed or sold in the province must be approved by a certification organization (such as CSA, ULC, or Warnock-Hersey etc.).
The installation of approved electrical equipment is the responsibility of all of the following:
1. the designing engineer;
2. the sign contractor;
3. the safety codes officer; and
4. the installing Sign Service/Installation Technician.
An approved sign is one that bears evidence of approval, authorized by a certification organization. The components of the sign, (ballasts, wires, lamps, LED etc.) must bear evidence of approval and the sign itself (the combination of these individual components) must bear evidence of approval. This evidence of approval should be on or near the sign nameplate. Signs can fall under two categories: shop-built signs that do not require any electrical assembly on site (except the connection to the building electrical system), and signs that require electrical components to be interconnected on site.
Approval of signs
A shop-built sign is any lit sign built a shop using approved materials. This sign can be lit with LED, neon, fluorescent, metal-halide, mercury-vapor or incandescent light bulbs.
The following are two examples of how to get approval for a sign to be installed on a site.
1. Company A applies to a certification organization (such as CSA) for permission to apply CSA labels to their signs. The certification organization requires that Company A follow CSA standards when manufacturing the signs and periodically audits the company to see if the standards are being adhered to.
Company A builds a sign and wires it in their shop, tests the sign then applies a label to bear evidence of approval and ships it to the site of installation.
When the sign is installed a master electrician must take out a permit for the electrical connection to the building electrical system and only this connection needs to be inspected. The sign has already been approved. This situation is no different than installing any approved piece of electrical equipment.
2. Company B is not licensed by a certification organization to apply labels to show evidence of approval. Company B manufactures a sign in their shop and has it sent to the site of installation.
Since the sign does not bear evidence of approval, a certification organization must approve the sign before it can be connected to the building electrical system. A certification organization can do a special inspection, or the local inspection authority may use their authority to pass the sign. Once the sign is approved a label bearing evidence of this approval is applied near or on the sign nameplate.
A master electrician must apply for a permit regarding the connection of the sign to the building electrical system. The connection to the building electrical system can only be done to an approved piece of equipment.
The following are three examples of methods for approval of site-built signs. In these examples, the signs need to build on site due to engineering requirements, size or location and may need to be wired to completion on the job site. In each example, the company is contracted to install a through-wall neon sign.
1. The company can go to the site of the installation and measure the required length of leads from each transformer, measure where holes need to be drilled, and make a complete template of what the sign requires. Then the company can manufacture the sign in their shop, put it together, test it, then disconnect wires and label them, and send installation instructions with the sign. They then apply for evidence of approval from a certification organization. When the sign arrives at the site a permit may be required for the reconnection of the wires. This is usually not done because of the time involved.
2. Another way this company can proceed is by applying for a permit to interconnect approved components at the site. A sign service/installation technician or a master electrician applies for a permit before the wiring of the sign begins in the field and then wires the sign at the site. The person wiring the sign can best determine the length of transformer leads at the time the sign is being installed. This field wiring, which is under a permit, is subject to the requirements of the Canadian Electrical Code (CEC) Part 1. Any electrical connections and wiring done in the field (even ones inside a neon channel letter) must be inspected under the permit. The wiring of the sign must be done with approved equipment. All splices must be done in approved electrical enclosures and must be accessible so the inspector can verify that the connections comply with the code. If there is a direct connection made to the neon electrode inside a channel letter, then that letter becomes the enclosure for that connection: the letter must bear evidence of approval as an electrical enclosure from a certification organization. If there is not a label on the letter, then the direct connection should be covered with an insulating boot. A master electrician must take out another permit for the electrical connection to the building electrical system.
3. In the third situation the company builds a large sign in their shop, tests it to make sure it works and applies a certification organization’s label to the sign. The sign is too large to ship in one piece, and the company disconnects some electrical wiring in order to ship the sign in three pieces. The wires are marked, and installation instructions are sent with the sign. The final approval of this sign must be done by the local inspection authority. If a permit is required, it can be taken out by a sign service/installation technician or a master electrician before commencing work on the reconnections of the wiring.
When the sign is installed at the site, the reconnection of the wiring must be approved by the local inspection authority. A permit must be taken out by a master electrician to connect the sign to the building electrical system. This connection must also be approved by the local inspection authority.
Every installed sign must bear evidence that it has been approved before it can be connected to the building electrical system. This evidence can be a label from a certification organization for a sign manufactured in a shop or on site, or an acceptance from the local inspection authority indicating that the wiring of the sign on site, done under a permit, has passed the requirements of the Canadian Electrical Code Part 1.
Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training Act: (Alberta 2009).
Cable for luminous-tube signs and for oil- and gas-burner ignition equipment: CSA Standard C22.2 No. 17.
Canadian Electrical Code Part 1: Twenty- Fourth addition C22.1-21. Electrician Apprenticeship Instructional Packages: Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.
Occupational Health and Safety Act: Revised Statutes of Alberta 2021, Part 1.
Portable and stationary electric signs and displays: CSA Standard C22.2 No. 207
Sign Electrician’s Workbook based on the 1990 NEC: James G. Stallcup.
Transformers for luminous-tube signs, oil- or gas-burner ignition equipment, cold- cathode interior lighting: CSA Standard C22.2 No. 13.
Safety Codes Act: Statues of Alberta, 1991, Chapter S-1 with amendments in force as of July 23, 2020.
The following cancellation policy applies to the Electrical Certificate Training Program:
- Cancellations must be received 7 business days prior to class.
- No-shows, will not be refunded and are expected to pay full fees to attend the next ECTP in-class portion
CANCELLATION OF THE ECTP BY THE ALBERTA SIGN ASSOCIATION
- The Alberta Sign Association reserves the right to cancel or change a class at any time, including but not limited to, lack of participation, classroom, equipment or trainer availability.
- Notification will be provided within 5 days of the class, whenever possible.
- Alberta ECTP in-class portions will be cancelled if there are less than four students.
- Saskatchewan ECTP in-class portions will be cancelled if there are less than six students.