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Electricity at Work

Basic Principles of Electricity


Volt = Electrical pressure
Ampere = Electric current flow
Ohm = Electrical resistance (or impedance)
Power (watts) = voltage x current

Electrical Hazards
Electric shocks
Electric burns
Electrical fires
Electric arcing
Explosion
Portable Electrical equipment

Electrical Control Measures

Insulation/Enclosure of live parts


Low Voltages
Earthing
Fuse
Circuit Breaker
RCD
Equipotential bonding
Isolation

Insulation/Enclosure of Live Parts


Live parts cannot be touched
If equipment has a metal enclosure,
precautions must be taken to prevent
metalwork becoming live. This is achieved
by double insulation in which live parts are
covered by 2 layers of insulator.
Each layer is capable of adequate
insulation

Low Voltages
For hand tools, the 100 volt centre-tapped
(CTE) system is recommended.
System relies on the mid-point of the
reduced voltage transformer to be earthed
Maximum shock voltage is 55 volts, but full
110 volt supply powers the equipment

Earthing
By connecting exposed metal parts to
earth, any fault current is provided with low
impedance path to earth I.e. one with little
resistance so that fault current will operate
protective devices and cut off the supply by
breaking the circuit
If all exposed metalwork is properly
bonded to earth, it cannot be made live by a
fault and the risk of shock is eliminated.

Fuses
Forms a weak link in a circuit by
overheating and melting by design if the
current exceeds the safe limit
Rating should be above operating current
required by equipment but less than the
current rating of the cable in the circuit

Circuit Breakers
A mechanical switch which automatically
opens if the circuit is overloaded
Rating should be above operating current
required by equipment but less than the
current rating of the cable in the circuit

RCDs
Interrupt supply in event of a small leak of
current to earth
Sensitivity can be adjusted so that shocks
are not lethal
Determine when a current flows to earth by
comparing current in live and neutral
conductors
Test buttons should be regularly checked

Equipotential Bonding
All extraneous metalwork is is connected
by a common bonding conductor which
ensures that all the metalwork is at the
same potential
Current will not flow between two points at
the same potential
A common connection to earth is usually
made

Isolation
Isolation means depriving something of
power, AND ensuring that tit cannot be reenergised
Establishes an effective barrier between
equipment and supply and ensures that no
unauthorised person is able to remove the
barrier
Should be clearly labelled

Other Control Measures


Insulating gloves
Insulating mats
FR clothing
Insulated tools
Face shields
Shrouding
Distance

Portable Electrical Equipment


Control Measures
Regular checks/maintenance
Roll out leads
Do not use in harsh conditions
Manufacturers instructions
110v CTE system

Electricity at Work Regs 1989

Require that all electrical systems should be:


Constructed & maintained to prevent danger
Regularly checked & tested by a competent person
Suitable & sufficient for the environment in which they are to be
used
Protected by earthing, double earthing, double insulation and/or
RCDs
Capable of being made dead (isolated)

Live working should only be used as a last resort and then


with all due precautions to prevent/minimise injury
Systems should normally be made dead, checked and
isolated so that they cannot accidentally become energised
may require PtW systems

Maintaining Electrical Equipment


User checks
Formal visual inspections
Combined Inspections and tests
Maintenance and test records
Frequency of maintenance

User Checks

Check for:

Damage to cable sheath


Damage to plug, casing or pins
Inadequate joints or taped joints
Coloured internal cables showing
Wet or contamination
Damage to external casing or loose parts or
screws

Equipment should be taken out of use and


reported immediately

Formal Visual Inspections


Carried out by competent person
Most faults can be picked up this way
Include removal of plug cover and checking
fuse
Provide simple written guidance
Faulty equipment should be taken out of
service and not used until properly repaired
Data should be kept and can be used to
identify trends

Combined Inspection & Test

Likely to be justified when:

Reason to suspect equipment may be faulty


After repair or modification
At periods appropriate to the equipment

PAT testing

Maintenance & Test Records


Useful for reviewing & monitoring
effectiveness of maintenance regime
Can be used as inventory of equipment and
a check on use of unauthorised equipment
Can be used to identify trends
Useful to label equipment

Frequency of Inspections

Factors to consider:

Type of equipment e.g. portable or hand held


Manufacturers recommendations
Initial integrity and soundness
Age of equipment
Working environment e.g. wet , hot, dusty
Frequency and duration of use
Foreseeable abuse of equipment
Effects of any modifications or repairs
Analysis of records of previous maintenance

Effects of Electric Shock


Muscular contractions
Respiratory failure
Fibrillation of the heart
Cardiac arrest
Burns
Can result in secondary injuries e.g. falls
from height or muscle tears

First Aid for Electric Shock


Break contact between current and victim
either by switching off or removing victim
Ensure rescuer does not come into contact
with anything live e.g. victims skin
Artificial respiration should commence
immediately and continue until the victim
recovers or qualified medical aid
intervenes