Coaching sessions for work leaders

Work leaders are responsible for the safety of their team members and of any subcontractors while work is being carried out.

What exactly is a work leader?

The work leader is the person who receives the permits to work and the safety documents. As such, they must also be capable of cross-checking safety measures.

The work leader acts as Elia’s contact person for the performance of the work within the contractor’s organisation and is responsible for ensuring that the work is carried out safely, as described in the permit to work. Work leaders are responsible for the safety of their team members and of any subcontractors.

This is why work leaders receive more extensive training than operators. Once they have completed their training, they receive their ‘work leader’ certificates. Work leaders must speak and understand French or Dutch, depending on the language used in the region where the work is taking place.

There must always be a work leader on the site. 

Eight certificate types

The certificate issued to work leaders varies according to the work leaders’ profile. We offer courses for eight types of work leaders, based on the type of work overseen by the work leader. The information below provides an overview of which certificates are required for which types of work on or near Elia facilities.

  • 1. Electrical work in substations

    The ‘Electrical work in substations’ certificate covers all high-voltage and low-voltage installation work in Elia’s high-voltage substations, plus all associated activities.


    • Installing high-voltage equipment;
    • Wiring low-voltage cabinets;
    • Installing (or removing) lattices;
    • Coordinating safety. 

  • 2. Electrical work in substations and cable work

    The ‘Electrical work in substations and cable work’ certificate covers all work falling under the ‘Electrical work in substations’ certificate, plus all work relating to medium- and high-voltage cables.


    •  Laying connections;
    • Carrying out earthworks and trench work;
    • Digging trenches for pulling cables;
    • Installing high-voltage equipment;
    • Wiring low-voltage cabinets.

  • 3. Civil engineering work

    The ‘Civil engineering work’ certificate covers all civil engineering work in Elia facilities and the excavation of trenches for laying cables. Work in low-voltage electrical facilities is allowed provided that the work relates directly and exclusively to the buildings.


    • Installing and connecting an air extraction system in a cellar;
    • Laying foundations;
    • Drilling with machines.

  • 4. Line work

    The ‘Line work’ certificate covers all work on high-voltage overhead lines. It also allows its holders to access substations so that they reach the pylon in the substation. Its holders can work on a line up to the point where it descends towards the gantry.


    • Erecting lines;
    • Repairing the pylon structure;
    • Replacing insulators;
    • Installing intrinsic safety systems.

  • 5. Painting

    The ‘Painting’ certificate covers all painting work in high-voltage substations or in the vicinity of overhead lines.


    • Painting lattices;
    • Painting pylons;
    • Painting the top or body of a pylon;
    • Painting in a high-voltage substation.

  • 6. Line work under the safety boundary plates

    The ‘Line work under the safety boundary plates’ certificate covers all work near overhead lines or on pylons, but only under the safety boundary plates (in other words, only on the pylon body).

    It encompasses all light work that does not require the disconnection of a grid component. Work leaders hold a permit for access/work (ADAT) for the performance of their work.


    • Installing intrinsic safety systems in the pylon body;
    • Installing mobile phone infrastructure in a substation;
    • Replacing a corner profile in the pylon body;
    • Pruning near high-voltage lines.

  • 7. Light work in substations with a permit for access/work (ADAT)

    The ‘Light work in substations with a permit for access/work (ADAT)’ certificate covers all light work in substations that does not require the disconnection of a grid component. ‘Light’ work is work that can be carried out with little risk of interacting with electrical facilities, due to both the nature of the work and the compact size of the equipment or machines used to perform it.


    • Checking electrical facilities;
    • Performing safety inspections (Vinçotte);
    • Maintaining greenery at ground level;
    • Conducting surveying work inside a high-voltage substation;
    • Painting lattices without cutting the power supply;
    • Working on the sanitary facilities or lighting system in a substation building;
    • Manual drilling.

  • 8. Offshore work
    The ‘Offshore work’ certificate covers all work performed on the high-voltage platform in the North Sea.

How to obtain certification as a work

  • Apply to register

    Work leaders must attend a half-day knowledge test/coaching session (T0) for one or more of the eight certificate types every four years. Their badges are valid for two years. This means that two years after their initial half-day knowledge test/coaching session (T+2), work leaders can choose to simply take the mid-cycle test. However, after four years, they must attend another half-day session.

    Depending on where you are in the certification cycle, you can register for one of these three services for one or more certificate types. 
    • Test on Elia’s premises only: if you attended a training or coaching session two years ago (T+2), you can register for a scheduled test session. This service is free of charge.
    • Test on the contractor’s premises only (min. 20 participants): if you attended a training or coaching session two years ago, your employer can hold a test session on its own premises; the test is supervised by an Elia examiner. There is a flat fee of €1,500 for this service.
    • Knowledge test & coaching session  on Elia’s premises: if it is your first time seeking ‘work leader’ certification (T0) or if you were first certified four years ago (T+4), you can attend a half-day knowledge test/coaching session on Elia’s premises. There is a fee of €250 per participant for this service.
    Click on Register to register for one of these services for one or more certificate types and upload your BA4/BA5 declaration of competence and your photo. (NB: To avoid long processing times, please ensure that your documents are in order before registering.)
    Due to the COVID-19 safety measures in place, companies are urged to put their employees in groups of no more than 12 people wherever possible.
    Tests and coaching for work leaders are only available in French and Dutch.
    The registration deadlines are as follows: one week in advance for tests on Elia’s premises, two weeks in advance for coaching sessions on Elia’s premises and one month in advance for tests and/or coaching sessions on the contractor’s premises.
    The participants’ names and/or the tests for which they are registered can only be changed on the website, and only if the registration for the relevant session is still open. Once registration for the session is closed, changes can no longer be made.

  • Test/coaching session

    As mentioned on the main page, your registration is final as soon as you receive confirmation that you have registered. Please bring the following to your test/coaching session:

    • your identity card or, if you are not Belgian, your passport;
    • a pen or pencil;
    • confirmation of your registration;
    • a face mask, which you must wear at all times on the Elia site.

    Please go to reception no more than 10 minutes before your appointment time, while also taking care not to be late.
    Furthermore, it is extremely important that you:

    • keep a safe social distance from all other people on the site;
    • disinfect your hands regularly, as indicated on the site;
    • not attend if you feel unwell or have symptoms of COVID-19;
    • leave the building and site immediately after your test or coaching session.
    Coaching session

    As explained earlier, anyone beginning a four-year certification cycle must attend a half-day coaching session.

    The session focuses on electrical risks, the specific role of the work leader, the safety documents, and operational dialogue.

    In preparation for the ‘work leader’ coaching session, you must work through the following course material (as per your chosen profile(s)) and be familiar with its contents by the start of the session:

    • Basic GSIx -> PowerPoint + procedure
    • Module 1: Electrical risks
    • Module 2: Tasks and responsibilities of the WL
    • Module 3: Documents
    • Module 4: Operational dialogue
    • E-learning module: specific to the selected profile(s)

    You will find the presentation and the e-learning modules on our website 

    Participants are strongly advised to spend half a day studying the course material before attending the coaching session.

    Programme for the half-day knowledge test/coaching session:

    • 8 a.m. – 8.30 a.m. : Welcome & Introduction
    • 8.30 a.m. – 10.30 a.m. : Q&A
    • 10.30 a.m. – 10.45 a.m. : Break
    • 10.45 a.m. – 11.30 a.m. : Simulation exercise & operational dialogue role play
    • 11.30 a.m. – 12.30 a.m. : Tests

    The test halfway through the four-year certification cycle assesses work leaders’ basic knowledge (see the ‘Basic knowledge’ section).

  • Pass criteria

    To be certified as work leaders, participants must score at least 15/20 in the test/coaching session.

    If participants do not score at least 15/20:

    • on the basic knowledge test and the module test -> they must attend the coaching session again;
    • on the basic knowledge test -> they must register for a test session;
    • on the module test -> they must attend the coaching session again. However, they may be exempted from sitting the basic knowledge test if they attend the coaching session for the second time within a six-month period.

    Participants must wait two weeks to be able to retake the test and/or attend another coaching session. This is because we believe that participants will need two weeks to work through the material again.

    Participants who pass the test/coaching session will be issued with a badge within one week (if they took part in a test session on Elia’s premises) or three weeks.

    This badge will enable them to access Elia’s facilities and carry out work in or on these facilities. It is valid for two years.

  • Basic knowledge

    Anyone seeking certification as a work leader must have a basic knowledge of the risks present in Elia facilities and the prevention measures used to address them and be familiar with the content of the modules dealing with these subjects.

    Depending on the work leader’s profile, this may require knowledge of the risks and prevention measures associated with work in high-voltage substations (GSIS), work on or near cables (GSIC), work on overhead lines (GSIL) or work offshore (GSIO). There is also a special e-learning module for each profile.

    The documents, presentations and e-learning module for each profile can be found under ‘Course material’.

Training and test

Registration requests for work leaders

Course material

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