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What is the protocol for working near electrical systems or equipment?

February 19, 20232 min read

According to WorkSafeBC, the protocol for working near electrical systems or equipment includes the following:

  1. Conduct a hazard assessment before starting any work.

  2. Use lockout and tagout procedures to de-energize electrical systems or equipment before working on them.
    Use appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), such as insulated gloves, eye protection, and hearing protection.

  3. Keep a safe distance from electrical systems or equipment, and never touch electrical equipment with wet or damp hands.

  4. Use tools and equipment specifically designed for use around electrical systems or equipment.

  5. Follow safe work practices and procedures, such as maintaining three points of contact when climbing ladders and always keeping your feet on the ground when working with electricity.

  6. Receive adequate training and instruction on working safely around electrical systems or equipment.

It is important to note that these guidelines may vary depending on the specific type of electrical system or equipment being worked on and the level of training and experience of the worker. It is essential to consult with the appropriate resources and experts to ensure compliance with all relevant regulations and standards.

The limits of approach refer to the minimum safe distance that a worker must maintain from an energized electrical conductor or equipment to prevent electrical shock or injury.

According to WorkSafeBC, the limits of approach
for low voltage electrical systems (below 750 volts):

Approach limit: The closest distance a worker can get to an exposed energized conductor or circuit part. For voltages below 300 volts, the approach limit is 0.9 meters (3 feet). For voltages above 300 volts, the approach limit is calculated using a formula that takes into account the voltage, conductor configuration, and other factors.

Flash protection boundary: the closest distance from an exposed energized conductor or circuit part at which a worker could receive a second-degree burn if an electrical arc flash occurred. This distance is calculated using a formula that takes into account the voltage, available fault current, and clearing time of the overcurrent protective device.

For high voltage electrical systems (750 volts and above), the limits of approach are more stringent, and workers must have specialized training and personal protective equipment.

It is essential to follow these limits of approach and other safety procedures to prevent electrical accidents in the workplace.

You can find more information about working near electrical systems or equipment, including the limits of approach, on the WorkSafeBC website under the "Electricity" section.

Working Safely Around Electricity, click here.

Electrical HazardsElectrical SafetyOHSOccupational Health and SafetyHealth and SafetyHealth and Safety ProgramElectrical Safety PolicySafety PolicyWorkplace SafeyJob Site SafetyWorkSafeBCWCBOccupational SafetyPowerlines

Erwin Caguiat

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