Monitor and Review. Electrical Safety. Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council HSPD 009

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1 Electrical Safety Risk Assess and identify electrical in use within your department Devise a maintenance schedule for appropriate Educate and inform staff on inspecting their electrical Remove from use or dispose as appropriate of any unsafe electrical Ensure where required, a competent person inspects electrical Monitor and Review Issued by HSU R2 Revised 28/08/15 Page 1 of 9

2 Introduction This Directive forms part of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council's written health and safety policy. Departments may decide to add specific guidance and systems of work relevant to departmental activities. Where additional guidance or systems of work will have an impact on health, safety and welfare, there must first be consultation with Trade Union Safety Representatives via Health Safety and Welfare Committee. If you have any questions, would like further information or would like this Directive in another format please contact the Health and Safety Advisor. Manager s Checklist 1. Risk Assess: You have identified all electrical in your department 2. You have identified any requiring inspection by an electrician 3. You have devised a maintenance schedule where required 4. You have educated staff on safe use of electrical, inspection of all their before each use and the need to report any faults 5. You carry out routine checks of all electrical 6. You have ensured any faulty has been removed from use and repaired or disposed of where repairs cannot be made Issued by HSU R2 Revised 28/08/15 Page 2 of 9

3 Electrical Safety Electricity is a familiar and necessary part of everyday life, but electricity can kill or severely injure people and cause damage to property. Electric shocks do not always cause lasting injury but in certain circumstances can result in death, known as electrocution. The sudden muscular contraction during the shock can result in injuries from, as an example, falling. Electric current flowing through the body can cause deep burns. There are simple precautions when working with, or near electricity that can be taken to significantly reduce the risk of electrical injury. The most common voltage involved in electrical accidents is 230 volts (normal mains voltage). A large proportion of electrical accidents happen to persons who are electrically skilled working on falsely thought to be dead. Electricity at Work Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1991 The above regulations require that any electrical that has the potential to cause injury is maintained in a safe condition. However, the regulations do not specify what needs to be done, by whom, or how frequently (i.e. they don t make inspection or testing of electrical appliances a legal requirement, nor do they make it a legal requirement to undertake this annually.) Identifying how often needs to be tested is a very important aspect in ensuring the safety of employees who are working with electrical every day. Risk assessments must be completed where employees are using electrical and adequate control procedures and training where required put in place. Decisions on maintenance levels and the frequency of checks should be made then in consultation with users, based on the risk of electrical items becoming faulty. There is an increased risk of this happening if the isn t used correctly, isn t suitable for the job or is used in a harsh environment. An appropriate system of maintenance must be in place. This can include: User checks by employees, e.g. a pre-use check for loose cables or signs of fire damage A visual inspection by someone with more knowledge, e.g. checking inside the plug for internal damage, bare wires and the correct fuse Where necessary, a portable appliance test (PAT) Issued by HSU R2 Revised 28/08/15 Page 3 of 9

4 Use and Maintenance of Portable Electrical Equipment Failure to maintain is a major cause of electrical accidents involving portable electrical. The likelihood of accidents occurring and their severity will vary depending on the type of electrical, the way in which it is used and the environment it is used in. Portable appliance testing (PAT) is the term used to describe the examination of electrical appliances and to ensure they are safe to use. Portable electrical is pieces of electrical apparatus not permanently electrically installed. They are connected to socket outlets by flexible cables and plugs. This includes microwave ovens, hot plates, vacuum cleaners and floor polishers. All these items of require to be checked periodically for defects. This requirement includes items of personal which are used at work. Most electrical safety defects can be found by visual examination but some types of defect can only be found by testing. However, it is essential to understand that visual examination is an essential part of the process because some types of electrical safety defects can't be detected by testing alone. A relatively brief user check by line managers and members of staff can be a very useful part of any electrical maintenance regime. However, more formal visual inspection and testing by a competent person may also be required at appropriate intervals, depending upon the type of and the environment in which it is used (see Appendix 1 Inspection Intervals). Risk Assessment Risk assessments for electrical safety should consider all aspects of where electricity is involved within the building and activities carried out in your department. The risk of injury from electricity is strongly linked to where and how it is used. The risks are greatest in harsh conditions, for example: In wet surroundings unsuitable can easily become live and can make its surroundings live Outdoors may not only become wet but may be at greater risk of damage; and In cramped spaces with a lot of earth metalwork such as inside a tank if an electrical fault developed it could be very difficult to avoid a shock Some items of can also involve greater risk than others. Extension leads are particularly liable to damage to their plugs, sockets, connections and the cable itself. Other flexible leads, particularly those connected to which is often moved, can suffer from similar problems. Once you have completed the risk assessment, you can use your findings to reduce unacceptable risks from the electrical in your department. Issued by HSU R2 Revised 28/08/15 Page 4 of 9

5 Portable appliances Control of risks arising from the use of portable electrical should be based on a risk assessment. All line managers should identify what electrical is used in their department and decipher how often maintenance checks are required. The below factors should be considered during this process: Type of the vast majority of which will be either earthed or double insulated, ensuring it is suitable for the working environment in which it will be used Electrical risks can sometimes be eliminated by using air, hydraulic or hand powered tools which are especially useful in harsh conditions Make sure that is safe when supplied and maintained in a safe condition Whether it is hand-held or not. Equipment that is held by hand or handled when switched on will present a greater degree of risk because, if it does develop a dangerous fault, the person holding it will almost certainly receive an electric shock; Manufacturer s recommendations; Initial integrity and soundness of the ; Age of the ; Working environment in which the is used (e.g. wet or dusty) or likelihood of mechanical damage; Frequency of use and duty cycle of the ; Foreseeable misuse of the ; Effects of any modifications or repairs to the ; Analysis of previous records of maintenance, formal visual inspection and combined inspection and testing Socket outlets used should be close by so that can be easily disconnected in an emergency Replace damaged sections of cable immediately The ends of flexible cables should always have the outer sheath of the cable firmly clamped to stop the wires (particularly the earth) pulling out of the terminals Use proper connectors or cable couplers to join lengths of cable. Do not use strip connector blocks covered in insulating tape Some types of are double insulated, These are often marked with a double-square symbol. The supply leads have only two wires live (brown) and neutral (blue). Make sure they are properly connected if the plug is not moulded. Issued by HSU R2 Revised 28/08/15 Page 5 of 9

6 Protect light bulbs and other which could easily be damaged in use In potentially flammable or explosive atmospheres, only special electrical designed for these areas should be used. You may need specialist advice. Consult with the health and safety advisor if in doubt Where fixed electrical is provided, there should be a clearly identified switch nearby (should be within arms reach of the hazardous part of the machinery) to cut off power in an emergency Main hazards Electric shock due to incorrect or damaged wiring, or broken casing Electric shock from appliances sited where they can become wet or damp through rain, cleaning or spilt liquids. Fires can be started through incorrect wiring. Tripping hazards can result from trailing leads between sockets and appliances. Safety considerations Where electrical is provided, you must ensure that new electrical systems are installed to a suitable standard, e.g. BS 7671 Requirements for electrical installations and then maintained them in a safe condition. Existing installations must also be kept in a safe condition. One of the best ways of reducing the risk of injury when using electrical is to limit the supply voltage to the lowest needed to get the job done, such as: Temporary lighting can be run at lower voltages e.g. 12,15, 50 or 110 volts Where electrically powered tools are used, battery-operated ones are safest; or Portable tools designed to be run from a 110 volt centre-tapped-to-earth supply are readily available Provide a safety device If operating at 230 volts or higher is used, an RCD (residual current device) can provide additional safety. An RCD is a device which detects some, but not all faults in the electrical system and rapidly switches off the supply. The best place for an RCD is built into the main switchboard or the socket outlet, as this means that the supply cables are permanently protected. If this is not possible, a plug incorporating an RCD or a plug in RCD adaptor can also provide additional safety. RCDs for protecting people have a rated tripping current (sensitivity) of not more than 30 milliamps (ma). Remember: Issued by HSU R2 Revised 28/08/15 Page 6 of 9

7 An RCD is a valuable safety device, never bypass it If it trips, it is a sign there is a fault check the system before using it again If it trips frequently and no fault can be found in the system, consult the manufacturer of the RCD; and The RCD has a test button to check that its mechanism is free and functioning you should use this regularly Underground and overhead power cables Always assume cables will be present when digging in the street, pavement or near buildings. Use up to date service plans, cable avoidance tools and safe digging practices to avoid danger. As well as the council, service plans should be available from regional electricity companies, NI Water, Road Service etc. Over half of the fatal electrical accidents each year are caused by contact with overhead lines. When working near overhead lines, it may be possible to have them switched off if the owners are given enough notice. If this cannot be done, consult the owners about the safe working distance from the cables. Remember that electricity can flash over from overhead lines even though plant and do not touch them. Portable Equipment Precautions 1. Encourage employees to carry out checks on. All should be checked for the following by the operative before each use: that the is fitted with the correct plug and that the plug is sound; that the lead is not cut or frayed and that it is effectively clamped at the entry to the tool and plug; that there are no cracks or pieces missing from the casing; that all the screws are in place and secure; where appropriate, that only an extension cable suitably rated for the electrical current of the is to be used. Socket outlets should never be overloaded as overloading with adaptors can cause fires. 2. All should be in a safe condition. This should be ensured by periodic inspections and corrective action, where appropriate. Items found to be unsafe for use should be segregated and NOT used, until made serviceable by an authorised person. 3. Inspections by supervisor. The checks listed at (1) above should also be carried out at 2 monthly intervals, (or as amended in the light of experience), by the supervisor. Issued by HSU R2 Revised 28/08/15 Page 7 of 9

8 5. Test procedures and records must be held by a competent person - A register should be compiled to record what electrical there is, giving ALL appliances and an identification number, and results of the tests. These should be carried out as required in the light of experience. A competent person will carry out the following observations/tests to ensure that the is safe to use (see following page) 6. Observations Power Cable - The cable must be checked along its entire length to ensure that no mechanical damage has occurred. No taped joint or joint of any kind should be used unless it is a proprietary cable joint. Plug - The plug must be examined for signs of damage or exposed wiring and the cable grip or gland must retain the outer sheath of the power cable. Fuses/Protective Mechanisms - The fuses or other protective mechanisms must be of the correct type and value. (Refer to manufacturers instructions for details/tests). Any discrepancy must be rectified or, where not possible, taken out of service for repair by a qualified person. Training A Competent person must have been instructed on how to carry out the observations/tests and should maintain the Register, which should show when the tests were done, the results observed and any remedial work undertaken. A competent person means someone with suitable training, skill, and knowledge for the task to prevent injury to themselves and others. Please note: Where work is carried out by a third party i.e. Hire Company or Electrical contractor the Department should satisfy itself that they are competent to do the work and are maintaining the appropriate records. References The Electricity at Work Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1991 HSE. (2012) Electrical safety at work: A brief guide. INDG231. Available online at: _a_brief_guide.pdf Issued by HSU R2 Revised 28/08/15 Page 8 of 9

9 Appendix 1 - Suggested Maintenance Plan Intervals Equipment/ environment Battery-operated: (less than 40 volts Extra low voltage: (less than 50 volts AC): Telephone, low-voltage desklights Desktop computers, VDU screens Photocopiers, fax machines: Not hand-held. Rarely moved Double insulated (Class II) : Not hand-held. Moved occasionally, eg fans, table lamps Double insulated (Class II) : Hand-held, eg some floor cleaners, some kitchen Earthed (Class I): Electric kettles, some floor cleaners, some kitchen and irons Cables (leads and plugs connected to the above) and mains voltage extension leads and battery-charging User Formal visual Combined inspection and checks inspection testing No No No No No No No Yes, 2 4 years No if double insulated, otherwise up to 5 years No Yes, 2 4 years No if double insulated, otherwise up to 5 years No Yes, 2 4 years No Yes Yes, 6 months 1 year Yes Yes, 6 months 1 year Yes Yes, 6 months 4 years depending on the type of it is connected to No Yes, 1 2 years Yes, 1 5 years depending on the type of it is connected to Issued by HSU R2 Revised 28/08/15 Page 9 of 9

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