by Ken Robinson on 02 August 2010
Every year electricians suffer electric shock and burn injuries, some of which are fatal. A significantly larger number of 'near misses' also occur and are not recorded. These incidents are a direct consequence of safe isolation procedures not being employed.
The law requires employers to provide their employees with safe systems of work and the necessary suitable tools, test equipment and personal protective equipment appropriate for the work to be carried out. Employees are required by law to follow these safe working instructions.
For all work on low voltage electrical equipment or circuits, the correct point of isolation must be identified, an appropriate means of isolation used and the supply secured against reconnection. Conductors must be proved dead at the point of work before they are touched and where necessary caution notices applied at the isolation point(s).
The requirements for identification and notices are given in Section 514 of BS 7671:2008 and Table 53.2 gives guidance on the selection of protective, isolation and switching devices. HSE Guidance Note GS38 gives guidance on Electrical test equipment for use by electricians and recommends the use of proprietary voltage detector. GS38 also advises that a multimeter should NOT be used for the purpose of proving dead.
Following these simple rules could significantly reduce electrical accidents associated with electricians.
For more information on the importance of safe isolation click here