In this post, we’re going to go through the steps required to apply for a Restricted Electrical Permit in Queensland in 2019.

This guide also includes:

  1. A detailed explanation of Form 21
  2. Steps for getting your permit approved

So if you need an electrical permit, you’ll love this new guide.

Let’s dive right in.

1. Why do you need an electrical training permit?

Let’s get a couple of things straight. The Restricted Electrical training permit is required for those wanting to study and obtain a Restricted Electrical Licence. Before you can commence studying, you are required to hold a permit. This permit will outline the units and maximum voltage you are allowed to work on.

Note: For those wanting to undertake a path to becoming an electrician, a Restricted Electrical Licence is not part of this pathway.

A Restricted Electrical training permit is for those who:

  1. Want to complete restricted electrical work on low voltage (50 VAC – 1000 VAC) electrical appliances.
  2. Are required to do incidental electrical work for their job and qualifications. Specifically around your eligible trade and only on specific appliances.

When it comes to Restricted Electrical work, it involves doing the following:

  1. Disconnect and reconnect, Locate and rectify electrical faults, electrical service, fault finding, maintenance and/or change the appliance like for like and/or fit plugs and cords for low Voltage appliances.
  2. Working on electrical appliances within your call of trade only.

If you’re both a plumber and a gas fitter, you will be able to apply for incidental electrical work around both trades. However, if you are ONLY a plumber and need to do electrical work outside of your trade (for example on a combi oven), you are not eligible to do this.

Don’t be mistaken

The restricted electrical permit allows applicants to only do incidental electrical work around their base trade or calling. 

The permit will state the scope of work. With it, you are not able to perform restricted electrical work on just any appliance, only on appliances stated within the permit. e.g. A plumber’s permit will state “Hot Water Systems”.

The Restricted Electrical Permit in detail

So let’s say you’re a self-employed plumber and need to completely disconnect and reconnect work on hot water units as a requirement for your job.  

In this situation, you would need to obtain your Restricted Electrical Licence to do so.

The steps to obtaining a Restricted Electrical Licence would be:

  1. Apply through the Electrical Safety Office Queensland using Form 21 to obtain a Restricted Electrical Permit
  2. Complete training at Bizmatrix for units as approved on your permit
  3. Apply through the Electrical Safety Office (ESO) Queensland for a Restricted Electrical Licence
  4. Now you can undertake minor electrical work in line within the scope of your licence and in line with your trade.

What does a Restricted Electrical Permit actually do?

A restricted electrical permit gives each tradesperson approval around which units they are eligible to do. Because electrical work is a high-risk job, the ESO is not willing to give out any extra units that you do not require. 

The permit outlines the maximum voltage you can work on. Working on the permit means you will be allowed to work under supervision by someone who holds an electrical licence. You will be required to complete training, a logbook and work experience within the 12 month permit period. 

Bizmatrix is a Registered Training Organisation as listed and approved with the Electrical Safety Office.

The Electrical Training Permit guides Bizmatrix to undertake training with the student. The permit outlines units you are eligible to undertake in line with the ESO’s approval.

What determines the units I will get on my Restricted Electrical Permit?

Your individual trade or experience will determine the units you receive on your permit. It is heavily based on your trade and why exactly you need to do incidental electrical work. For example: Your trade or calling is a plumber and you require to do incidental electrical work around your trade, e.g., plumbers need to replace a hot water system, Or you need to do electrical work on a hot water system that might be faulty.

You will be eligible for a Restricted Electrical Permit/Licence.

In general, a plumber applying for a permit will recieve the following units:

Plumber skill set example:

The third unit will only be allocated to applicants who specifically state they require this unit. 

This is what makes the application for a Restricted Electrical Permit quite difficult. If you don’t express your requirement for Attach Cords and Plugs, you will not receive it.

2. How do I know if I’m eligible for a Restricted Electrical Permit?

You may like to get a Restricted Electrical Permit, but that doesn’t mean you’re eligible for one. Getting a permit from the ESO has been likened to receive a Golden Ticket from Willywonker by some. But really, it’s not quite that hard. 

You just need to make sure your application is thorough, and you provide all of the correct information. Otherwise, you will be walking away without a permit in your hand.

Am I eligible for a Restricted Electrical Permit/Licence?

If you answer yes to the below, then you are eligible. However if not, you may need to rethink if the permit is for you.

  1. You have a current eligible trade licence or qualification (Certificate III level or higher) or,
  2. You have evidence of minimum 3 years unstructured industry experience 
  3. You have a clear need to do incidental electrical work for your job. i.e. It’s not just “an extra skill” that you’d like to learn about. This will be limited by the need and the listed eligibility scope which you will include in your application.

Trades or callings that are recognised as having a legitimate need to sometimes perform electrical work are:

  1. Aircraft maintenance engineer
  2. Composite equipment service person
  3. Data communications technician
  4. Diesel fitter (in relation to electrical equipment coupled to engines)
  5. Earth moving equipment fitter
  6. Electric motor service person
  7. Electronic equipment service person
  8. Entertainment and servicing technician
  9. First class machinist
  10. Fitter and turner
  11. Gas fitter
  12. Injection moulding technician
  13. Instrumentation/process control technician
  14. Laboratory and scientific electrical equipment technician
  15. Marine mechanic
  16. Mechanical fitter
  17. Office equipment service person
  18. Photographic equipment service person
  19. Plumber and drainer
  20. Neon sign manufacturer
  21. Refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment service person
  22. Sewing machine technician
  23. Systems and instrument technician
  24. Telecommunication technician

The Electrical Safety Office states that: Your need to perform electrical work must be legitimate. Saving time or money are not good enough reasons.

3. How do I apply for a Restricted Electrical Training Permit?

Before you undertake any electrical training, you will need to apply for an electrical training permit. This can be accessed from the Electrical Safety Office here.

Now before you get carried away and go ahead filling it all out. Follow these instructions carefully. If your application isn’t completed correctly, you will not receive approval.

Hints on filling out Form 21 application for a permit

Don’t be lazy! Provide everything that is required and really paint the picture for the reviewer to understand why exactly you need the licence.

  1. Fill in every item and do not leave blanks.
  2. Fill in the form on the computer. Use a PDF reader to enter the details.
  3. Get all of your documents certified by a JP or CDec 

Documentation required

You will need to get your ID cards certified by a JP. While you’re there, get your qualifications and licence certified too.

Form 21 in detail: A step by step guide

Section 1: Previous work licence history

Section 2: Applicant details

Section 3: Proof of identification

The first three sections are fairly self-explanatory. Complete your work history and details as well as identification.

Section 4 Resuscitation (CPR)

When applying for your PERMIT, copies of your CPR Certificate will not be required for this application. After you complete the training and apply for the restricted electrical LICENCE, then you will be required to have evidence of CPR. 

So you can skip this section for now.

Section 5 Type of work

To demonstrate your occupational need for a restricted electrical permit, you are required to provide a letter of support from your employer. 

The letter should be on business letterhead paper, signed by a suitably authorised person and provide the following details: 

  1. the range and type of electrical equipment to be worked on,
  2. the voltage ratings of the equipment,
  3. the type of work (e.g. fault finding, disconnect/reconnect, replacement of plug tops) 

Self-employed or unemployed applicants will need to provide a statutory declaration confirming similar information.

This is a key document.

In either case, it must be truthful and accurate – and stay in the bounds and limitations of your eligibility. 

Do not ask for more than you can legally do. A self-employed or unemployed person will be required to complete a Statutory Declaration, of which the wording will be similar. 

Note: There have been changes within the Restricted Electrical Permit Process.

If you fall within the below eligible trades, you can simply apply directly by providing your licence or required qualification documents. There is no longer a need to provide supporting evidence letter from your employer, for these trades only. (see below)

Previously, every trade had to include a letter from their employer stating the appliances, voltage and requirements for Restricted Electrical work. Now, with some changes within the ESO, selected trades can simply fill out Form 21 provide your say plumbing licence or the required qualification and apply. Take a look below if you are one of those trades that will not need supporting employer letter documentation when applying for your Restricted Electrical Permit.

Take advantage of the simplified system, get the application in, generally, the applications are processed within 10 working days. Then you can get enrolled and started on getting that restricted electrical licence for your call of trade or unstructured experience.

A letter to the ESO: Helpful hints

If your employer is writing a letter to the ESO, they may include something like this.

Disclaimer: Bizmatrix does not take responsibility for your application for a restricted electrical permit being declined. The above sample is an example only and is not guaranteed to qualify you for eligibility for a Restricted Electrical Permit.

Section 6 Type of application

In section 6, you will need to outline your qualifications and current situation. See the image below for guidance. 

Please attach a certified copy of your qualifications.

  1. Copy of your trade licence/s qualification
  2. Copy if available of your trade qualifications- EG: Certificate III in…
  3. Other supporting evidence of trade qualifications or licences.

If you do not hold a trade qualification and  you have completed at least 3 years of unstructured experience in a calling that requires the performance of electrical work, as per Section 5, you will need to provide a letter outlining your experience in detail.

Section 7 and 8

In section 7, you will be required to sign and date the form. In section 8, choose – I wish to pay by credit card.

NOTE: DO NOT PROVIDE YOUR CREDIT CARD DETAILS ON THIS FORM. An officer from the Electrical Safety Office will contact you to arrange payment of your fees. To confirm their identity they will quote your name and date of birth as per this application. If you are not provided with this information do not proceed with the transaction.

4. Timeframe and outcome

Once you have submitted your application, it should take no more than 10 days for an outcome. You will receive your training permit and it will outline the units that you can complete along with the maximum voltage. From here, your training plan will be set up. The number of units you can do will determine the costs involved with training.

You can get an outline of costs involved with the Restricted Electrical training on Bizmatrix website here.

My application was unsuccessful, can I apply again?

This is a difficult one to answer and will come back to the ESO. If you ask for too many units, outside of your scope of work, then it may not be sent back. Also, if you have no specific trade or 3 years of experience you will not be approved. If your call of trade is not listed – the ESO will see it as no need for a REL.

For example, a builder, carpenter, bricklayer, cabinet maker, florist, machinist, plant operator, a truck driver will not be given a restricted electrical permit.

If you did not complete the information correctly or missed information, then fix it.

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