What is a Work Alone Card?
As an apprentice, there are two different cards issued by the Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI). The standard card that every apprentice starts out with is a “Direct Supervision” card. This does not imply that the apprentice must always be in sight of a journeyman electrician. The journeyman electrician is permitted to leave the immediate work area without being accompanied by the apprentice. The apprentice should be laid out by the employer’s designated supervisor or journeyman based on their evaluation of the apprentice’s skills and ability to perform the job tasks. The goal is to encourage job skills, responsibility and initiative within the apprentice as they progress through the apprenticeship program.
The second type of card issued by BOLI is an “Indirect Supervision” card. An apprentice qualifies for this card when they meet the following two conditions:
(1) Be in the last year of apprenticeship (complete 8th term)
(2) Have at least 6500 hours of OJT
When do I qualify as an apprentice to work alone?
The most common misunderstanding is that once an apprentice meets the above two conditions, they are automatically allowed to work alone. This is not true. In order to work alone, the apprentice must be in physical possession of the “Indirect Supervision” card issued by BOLI. This process can potentially take up to three months after the completion of the qualifying conditions.
What are the rules for working alone?
No other journeymen or apprentices on the project: The Indirect Supervision apprentice must be the only Electrician on the project.
Project not to exceed 8 hours in duration: The job may not exceed one day. An apprentice working under the conditions of indirect supervision is not allowed to return to the same project under the same conditions. Projects qualifying for indirect supervision are intended to be of the short service call nature.
No energized work allowed: A 2nd-5th year apprentice is allowed to work on justified energized systems up to 250V under the direct supervision of a journeyman electrician no greater than an arm’s length away. Because of this requirement, working alone would not allow any type of energized work.
If the apprentice is working on a job where other journeymen are present, they must be counted as an apprentice for ratio purposes and are not allowed to work under the rules of indirect supervision.