What has happened in
Canada with respect to energized electrical work practices?
Emerging potential (national voluntary standard of
Canada, not regulation yet) regulatory change related to electrical safe work practices for energized electrical work will impact all electrical workers in
Canada. Any company employing the services of an electrical worker (i.e. journeyman electrician, electrical testing and commissioning, power linesman, etc…) either as staff or on a contract basis will be impacted at some level. The changes will also impact non-electrical workers.
Significant changes in Provincial and Federal standards in
Canada related to energized electrical work have increased business related risks to employers to ensure that adequate controls are in place to protect workers who are exposed to shock and arc flash/blast while working on or near energized or potentially energized electrical equipment. These changes will also require that employers focus on ensuring that un-qualified personnel are not exposed to these hazards.
For example in
Alberta in 2004 the
Alberta added new language to the Alberta Occupational Health & Safety Act, in Part 18:
Flame Resistant Clothing:
Use of flame resistant clothing:
“If a worker may be exposed to a flash fire or electrical equipment flashover, an employer must ensure that the worker wears flame resistant outerwear and uses other protective equipment appropriate to the hazard.”
“A worker must ensure that clothing worn beneath flame resistant outerwear and against the skin is made of flame resistant fabrics or natural fibers that will not melt when exposed to heat.”
As well in CSA’s, 2006 Canadian Electrical Code (CEC), Part 1, C22.1-06, a new rule has been added:
2006 Canadian Electrical Code Part 1, Rule 2-306:
(1) Electrical equipment such as switchboards, panel boards, industrial control panels, meter socket enclosures, and motor control centers that are installed in other than dwelling units and are likely to require examination, adjustment, servicing, or maintenance while energized shall be field marked to warn persons of potential electric shock and arc flash hazards.
(2) The marking referred to in Subrule (1) shall be located so that it is clearly visible to persons before examination, adjustment, servicing, or maintenance of the equipment.
The owner of newly installed electrical distribution equipment will have to ensure that this warning label is field applied. This code rule is enforceable as law under Provincial legislation as the CEC Part 1 is adopted into law in every Province and Territory.
With the label applied to electrical distribution equipment, the level of due diligence on the owner and operator of the equipment will increase to ensure they have adequate electrical specific PPE and safe work procedures for energized electrical work in use by the electrical worker will be required.
Appendix B of the 2006 CEC, Part 1 also lists two documents that can be referenced with respect to the electrical hazards of arc flash and shock, IEEE 1584 “Guide for Performing Arc-Flash Hazard Calculations” and NFPA 70E “Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace.”
As well effective on
July 1st, 2007 the OESC (Ontario Electrical Safety Code) Amendments were issued that brings in the same Rule in
Ontario for an example of the way this Rule is being applied across
Additionally, the CSA in 2006 established, the CSA Standard, CAN/CSA-Z1000-06, Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems (OHSMS) as a National voluntary Standard of Canada. CSA Z1000 “specifies requirements for an Occupational Health and Safety Management System (OHSMS).” It provides specific direction with respect to the OHSMS that it must have commitment of leadership, planning, implementation, evaluation and corrective action elements. Specifically in Section 4.4.2 Preventive and protective measures it advises that:
CAN/CSA – Z1000-06, Occupational health and safety management:
Preventive and protective measures shall be implemented according to the following priority:
- eliminate the hazard
- substitute with other materials, processes, or equipment;
- use engineering controls;
- use safer work systems that increase awareness of potential hazards (e.g. lights, signage, beepers, etc.);
- provide administrative controls, such as training and procedures; and
- provide personal protective equipment, including measures to ensure its appropriate use and maintenance.
- The application of these preventive and protective measures shall take into account:
- the nature and extent of the hazards and risk identified;
- the degree of hazard and risk reduction required;
- applicable legal requirements;
- recognized standards, codes, and best practices in the industry sector, where applicable;
- the availability of suitable technology; and
- other relevant considerations.”
CSA Z1000, besides Provincially regulated obligations related to occupational health and safety provides direct guidance on what you would be held accountable to demonstrate due diligence to with respect to energized electrical work, more than in the past.
Lastly the Canadian Standards Association has signed a historic MOU agreement with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) to work jointly on harmonizing safety standards in
North America. CSA in January of 2006 decided to leverage this agreement and has initiated a project to adapt/adopt NFPA 70E to a National voluntary Standard of Canada called CSA Z462 “Workplace Electrical Safety Standard.”
CSA Z462 will be available as a 1st Edition in late 2008 or the 1st quarter 2009, and will be issued in unison with the 7th Edition, NFPA 70E (2009).
An integral part of managing the associated regulatory risk is to establish revised electrical safe work practices that are consistent with the industry accepted best practices or standards.
Integrating your current work practices and revised work practices into a comprehensive Electrical Safety Program is the optimized approach to mitigating the risk to your workers and business as well as adherence to regulations and standards.
How does an Electrical Safety Program fit in?
An integral part of managing the associated regulatory risk is to establish revised electrical safe work practices that are consistent with the industry accepted best practices or “standards.” Integrating your current work practices and revised work practices into a comprehensive Electrical Safety Program is one approach to mitigating the risk to your workers and the regulations. If you currently don’t have anything in writing or what you have isn’t consistent with the new upcoming standards of practice for
Canada, you should create an Electrical Safety Program for your company that addresses the hazards of energized electrical work and how to mitigate the risk.
When will CSA Z462 be available?
The CSA Z462 Workplace Electrical Safety Standard will most likely be approved and in print by late 2008 or the 1st quarter of 2009.
How can ESPS help you?
ESPS is a consulting services company that can provide you with specialized electrical safety services e.g. Electrical Safety Program (ESP) Audits, consulting services for Electrical Safety Program development, and complete training services related to Electrical Safety Programs.