What Electrical Regulations Should My Business Know About?
The Electricity at Work Regulations are applicable to all workplaces and have far reaching implications for employers. According to safety standards mentioned in the regulations, employers have to maintain a duty of care when it comes to maintaining electrical systems and products at work. This includes systems that can be hazardous for workers. Unless specified otherwise, the following are some electrical regulations that you should be aware of as an employer:
- All employers and employees have to adhere to the electrical regulations in so far as they relate to matters that are within their control
- Every employee that you hire should cooperate with you when it comes to complying with these regulations.
- Any electrical equipment that is damaged, has been exposed to the elements, natural hazards, pressure or temperature, exposed to corrosive, dry, dusty conditions and exposed to flammable substances such as vapors and gas should be made from materials that can prevent hazards due to such exposures.
- All system conductors which may be hazardous when exposed should be covered with strong insulating material as well as additional protection to prevent exposure. Plus, they should be placed in a location which can prevent danger in case of exposure.
- The material that is used for electrical systems should be capable of protecting them from the environmental stressors they are subject to. For instance, in hot conditions, insulation has to be resistant to heat. Similarly, in damp locations, it has to be waterproof.
- Electrical systems and insulations have to withstand high voltages to prevent short circuits and fires.
Importance of multiple RCDsThe aforementioned regulations are applicable to a number of different businesses. However, in case yours has equipment that operates on 230 volts or more, you need a residual current device (RCD) for safety. These devices are able to limit the shock duration by disconnecting electrical supply when the voltage gets too high. According to electrical regulations, RCDs are essential on all circuit supply portable equipment and on circuits that are near water. This device is able to detect most faults in an electrical system and switches it off quickly when needed. The best location for this device is the main switchboard to ensure that your supply cables are protected at all times. In case this is not possible, you can make do with a plug with a built-in RCD adaptor for safety purposes. Here are some things you need to be aware of regarding RCDs:
- Never overlook installing a RCD. It can prove to be invaluable when it comes to electrical safety
- Get an RCD that has a sensitivity of no more than 30 mA to protect employees
- A RCD that trips is faulty. Check it before using it again
- Consult the manufacturer of the RCD if it trips regularly and you cannot find a fault.
Preventative maintenanceAccording to electrical safety requirements for businesses, all electrical equipment and installations have to be maintained on a regular basis. This includes the following:
- All electrical systems should be easily accessible and viewable for testing and inspections. Visible signs of damage or faults can prevent electrical risks that can otherwise prove hazardous.
- All fixed installations should be examined and tested regularly by a professional. The number of times this is done should depend on the installation type, how much it is used and the environment it is used in.
- Users should be encouraged to report damage or any defects if they find any.
- Ensure that the workers who work with electricity on the job are trained to do so. Even something as simple as wiring a plug can prove dangerous in unskilled hands.