Berkeley Lab

What does it mean to be a “QEW”, or “Qualified Electrical Worker”?

Let’s start by looking at the LBNL definition of “Qualified Electrical Worker”:

One who has demonstrated skills and knowledge related to the construction and operation of electrical equipment and installations, has received safety training to identify and avoid the hazards involved, and who has been approved or accepted by the Electrical AHJ for Safe Work Practices.

This definition is based on the NFPA 70E (Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace), National Electrical Code, and OSHA definitions of “Qualified Person”.

Furthermore, the definition of “electrical equipment” is:

A general term, including, fittings, devices [Definition: A unit of an electrical system, other than a conductor, that carries or controls electric energy as its principal function.], appliances, luminaires, apparatus, machinery, and the like, used as a part of, or in connection with, an electrical installation.

Any employee and/or subcontractor [worker] who performs work [activities related to employment of any type at LBL] on hazardous [50V or greater, or 5mA or greater for AC power, other thresholds may apply for other electrical hazards and power types] electrical equipment is required to be a QEW. This includes both live and deenergized work, for build, service, maintenance, and repair of equipment.

Being a QEW does not mean you are an electrician. From NFPA 70E, Section 110.4(D)(1)(a):

A person can be considered qualified with respect to certain equipment and methods but still be unqualified for others.

LBNL has several levels of QEW. Just as some LBNL electricians are QEWs for general Facilities electrical installation work, but are not qualified to work on the high-voltage distribution system, some researchers can be qualified for working on specific R&D equipment within their labs, but would not be qualified to perform Facilities repair and installation.