Accident prevention is a concern when working with electricity. In Canada, it is only in 2008 that a standard on occupational electrical safety at work at been created. This standard focuses primarily on arc flash and electrical shock risks and provides preventive measures that should be taken to avoid damages that generally occur when working in hazardous conditions. This is based on the U.S. standard NFPA 70E 2018.
The standard CSA Z462 specifies the electrical safety requirements in the workplace that are necessary to protect workers during the installation, inspection, use, maintenance and demolition of electrical conductors and electrical equipment, as well as for the work performed close to energized electrical equipment. The standard also helps organizations to upgrade or implement in-house electrical safety, but also offers benefits to electricians. The compliance of the standard CSA Z462 could make the difference between winning and losing contracts with customers who have electrical safety programs in place or give priority to the recruitment of vendors that have proven health and safety performances.Revised first in 2012, and then in 2015, the standard CSA Z462 – Workplace Electrical Safety has been updated again in January 2018. This new edition is characterised by a risk analysis approach. Moreover, a pyramid describing the periodization of corrective actions is shown on the main page. The first step of the process is trying to eliminate the potential source of danger. If the risk persists, alternatives and technical control measures must be put in place. And lastly, administrative control tools, awareness and PPE are considered last resort risk reduction measures. Electrical installation tasks must be performed after locking out the equipment. However, if a lockout procedure is impossible, risk analysis is to be conducted to find an alternative.
Significant changes compared to the 2015 edition include mainly:
- A greater clarification of the risk assessment procedures for hazardous electrical systems
- A control hierarchy applied to risk mitigation
- Revision of the consideration on the state of the equipment
- A new requirement for fieldwork audits
- A new section on human performance and electrical safety
More specifically, here are a few of the changes found in the 2018 edition of the standard CSA Z462 on electrical safety published in January 2018.
15 changes to remember about the 2018 edition of the standard CSA Z462
- The low-voltage threshold will be lowered to comply with the Canadian Electrical Code.
- The risk assessment procedure has been modified and made mandatory for the advance work planning.
- The possibility of human error is now part of the advance work planning process.
- The planning requirements concerning work safety were modified.
- The assessment of electric shock risk has been modified to comply with the objective of risk assessment and is a mandatory requirement in the task planning process.
- The upper limit in case of arc flash and blast exposure has increased.
- The arc flash risk assessment has been modified.
- The chart has been revised for the arc flash risk assessment and probability of occurrence, to be aligned with the risk analysis.
- The charts about categories of PPE against arc flash have been modified and renumbered.
- A number of updates and new definitions were added.
- Implement electrically safe work conditions. This clause has been rearranged.
- Work tasks involving electrical risks have been modified and some requirements were relaxed due to ongoing research on arc flash and the effects on workers.
- Arc flash studies on PPE have modified the level of safety clothing to be worn.
Apart from the safety approach based on risk, the 2018 version of the standard CSA Z462 on electrical safety provides details on acknowledged methods to identify electrical risks and defines the best safety practices for work on or around electrical equipment. More specifically:
- Requirements concerning the state of maintenance, periodic inspections and program audits were added to the section on electrical safety programs.
- The control hierarchy is now mandatory with this new requirement that makes elimination of dangers the first priority when implementing safe work practices.
- The electrical safety programs must now include the investigation of emergency incidents.
- The minimum threshold of potentially dangerous energy has been reduced from 50V to 30V. The process of electric shock risk assessment is now aligned with the risk assessment process related to arc flash.
- Arc flashes are now recognized as a category of electrical risks. The grid about the selection of clothing and other PPE items has been transferred from the Annex H to the risk assessment criteria related to arc flash, which is part of the mandatory requirements.
- The grid about the identification of arc flash hazards is now associated with the risk assessment of arc flashes.
- All requirements for training and audits were transferred to the section 4.1, after the implementation of the electrical safety program.
You need the help of electrical safety experts to make sure your protection program complies with the new requirements of the standard? Don’t hesitate to contact us.