Electrical Safety Rules

Electrical Safety Rules

24 May 2021

Horizon Engineering Solutions

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This informal CPD article Electrical Safety Rules was provided by Horizon Engineering Solutions, established in 2015 to fill the gaps in the marketplace within Northern Ireland for the provision of specialist Electrical and Mechanical Engineering support services to major industrial clients.

Health & Safety at Work

Every company has a duty under the Health & Safety at Work Act to prepare and issue a general policy statement on Health & Safety at Work, including the organisation and arrangements for carrying out that policy so far as is reasonably practicable, to ensure the health, safety and welfare of employees, and visitors to their premises.

Electrical Safety Rules are written to ensure compliance with UK statutory requirements and to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, danger arising from working on or near electrical equipment and systems. To implement and maintain statutory compliance all electrical safety rules systems require a competent management structure to be in place, suitable processes to follow and defined roles and responsibilities for everyone working within that system.

The required competency for each role, in terms of qualifications, experience and training, must be clearly defined as does the specific duties and responsibilities each person will be required to carry out. There must also be suitable processes in place to select, interview and appoint suitable candidates for each role by way of written appointment certificates and a system of auditing to ensure ongoing compliance. 

Scope of Electrical Safety rules

Scope: Electrical safety rules apply to all sites where a company has responsibility for the installation, testing, commissioning, operation, maintenance and or management of electrical systems operating at Low Voltage and High Voltage and should cover:

  • The control of Electrical Danger
  • The appointment of suitably qualified and experienced Authorising Engineers, Authorised Persons and Competent Persons
  • The maintenance of all records associated with the Rules
  • The preparation and application of Risk Assessments
  • The preparation and application of Method Statements
  • The carrying out of Safety Review Meetings
  • The preparation and application of Switching Programmes
  • The implementation of a Permit to Work System including the procedures for issuing, receiving, clearing, and cancelling of all permits within that system
  • The Auditing procedures required to ensure continuing compliance with the Rules 

Safe Working Practices, Procedures & Rules: The Electricity at Work Regulations require properly formulated and regulated safety procedures to be in place to ensure a safe system of working when working on or near electrical systems. The writing of instructions or rules helps those involved when carrying out electrical work to decide on the best way to carry out that work and the precautions they need to take to prevent danger and or injury. Typical safe working practices, procedures and rules which should be covered includes:

Safe Working Practices

  • Security and Admittance to Sub-Stations
  • Work on Low Voltage Equipment and cables
  • Precautions to be taken before Working on Associated Electrical Systems
  • Working on or near High Voltage Equipment, Overhead Lines or Buried Cables
  • Working on Battery Installations
  • Precautions to be Taken Before Working on Generators
  • New Installations before the Installation is accepted from a Contractor
  • Distribution Network Operator (DNO): Incoming Supply requiring Isolation
  • Distribution Network Operator (DNO): Network Supply
  • Electrical equipment which can be made live from the Client’s System
  • Work on Remotely and Automatically Controlled Electrical Equipment 

Electrical Safety Procedures

  • Working on and Testing Low Voltage Equipment
  • Working on and Testing High Voltage Equipment
  • Diagnostic and Functional testing of Low Voltage Systems
  • First Aid and Treatment for Electrical Shock
  • Control of Safety Locks, Key Safes and Lock Boxes
  • Inspection and Maintenance of Fire Extinguishing Installations and Equipment
  • Inspection and Maintenance of PPE
  • Inspection and Maintenance of Test Equipment
  • Inspection and Maintenance of Earthing Equipment

Rules

  • Working on and Testing High Voltage Equipment
  • Safe Isolation of Low-Risk Single Source Low Voltage Electrical Supplies and their Reconnection
  • Live Working on Low Voltage Systems 

Typical Documentary Evidence: The supporting documentation which provides proof that the safety procedures have been followed which may be vital in any subsequent enquiry following a dangerous occurrence should include the following:

  • Risk Assessments
  • Method Statements
  • Records of Safety Review Meetings
  • Switching Programmes
  • Limitation of Access Permits
  • HV Permits to Work
  • Sanctions for Test on High Voltage Systems
  • Certificates of Isolation and Earthing on High Voltage Systems
  • Certificates of Isolation on Low Voltage Systems
  • Certificates of Live Working on Low Voltage Systems
  • Logbook Records
  • Site Emergency Procedures
  • Operating restrictions
  • Up to date drawings including Single Line Drawings
  • Maintenance records and schedules
  • Commissioning records
  • Manufacturer’s instructions
  • Data relating to site Fault level and Relay co-ordination and protection i.e. Protection and co-ordination studies
  • Standing Instructions
  • Training Records including Certificates of Appointment (AE, AP and CP)
  • Audit schedules
  • Inspection reports 

Servicing & Maintenance: Because of the widely varying age and conditions of operation of the electrical apparatus incorporated in individual installations, the person responsible for the maintenance and servicing of the electrical system should produce a maintenance and inspection schedule in conjunction with the Authorised Person which reflects the individual requirements of that apparatus. The schedule should incorporate:

  • Routine maintenance proposals, based on periodic inspections supplemented at more extended intervals with operational checks and examination as required
  • Post-fault maintenance, which should be determined by consulting the manufacturer's handbook and by past experience 

Electrical Safety Implementation

Implementation on Construction Projects: At the Tender Stage of a project Electrical Contractors are normally asked to prove that they will be able to comply with all Tender conditions and thus establish that they are a “bona fide” contractor, i.e., they are real, genuine and will always act in good faith. This proof may entail submission of:

  • Relevant Track Record
  • Statements of Financial Security
  • Details of Insurances
  • Health, Safety and Environmental Policies
  • Accident and Incidence Records
  • Certification against relevant ISO Standards

With regard to electrical safety, it is vitally important that the electrical contractor can prove that they are Competent to carry out the required work If a main contractor does not have “in-house” professional electrical engineering resources or competences within their organisation it is important that they engage a professionally competent electrical contractor who can foremost manage electrical safety, and deliver the design, installation, commissioning, and operational services for a particular project as required As a starting point in that process a copy of the Electrical Contractor’s Electrical Safety Rules/Safe System of Working should be requested and reviewed From that review Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) in relation to electrical safety could be established. Suggested KPI’s could include:

Provision of an effective Management Structure to support the project to include:

  • Who will be the person with overall Management Responsibility?
  • Who will be the person with overall Site Responsibility?
  • What knowledge, training, and experience, do they have?
  • What will be their specific responsibilities?
  • Who will be the person or persons Supervising the Works?
  • What knowledge, training, and experience, do they have?
  • What will be their specific responsibilities?
  • Who will be the person or persons carrying out the Works? (this must also include any specialist sub-contractors they intend to use)
  • What knowledge, training, and experience, do they have?
  • What will be their specific responsibilities? 

Safe Working Practices - As applicable, how will they implement the Safe Working Practices as outlined in their Electrical Safety Rules?

Documentation and Records - As applicable, what Documentation will they use and what Records will they keep to prove compliance as outlined in their Safety Rules? Where will they store Documentation and Records on site? How will they make them available for inspection? 

Instruction and Training - How will they convey Instruction and Training to all their Site Personnel?

Inspection and Audit - How will they demonstrate ongoing compliance in terms of regular Inspections and Audits? 

Communications and Co-operation - How do they intend to communicate with the Main Contractor and other Contractors on site? How do they intend to co-operate with the Main Contractor and other Contractors on site? 

Implementation on Occupied Sites - When working on a Client occupied site it is essential that the following is documented and agreed in writing prior to work commencing:

  • Scope of Service to be provided to the Client
  • The Electrical Safety Rules which will be applied to control danger, i.e. Client or Contractor
  • Clearly defined Demarcation Boundaries
  • Interface arrangements required with the Client and others who have responsibility for the safe operation of electrical systems on the Client’s site
  • The Client’s Electrical Authorised Person (AP) for the site who will be acting as the Clients Representative on electrical matters
  • The Contractors Electrical Authorised Person (AP) for the site who will be acting as the Contractor’s Representative on electrical matters
  • Site specific documentation system requirements  Site specific operational Standing Instruction requirements 

We hope this article was helpful. For more information from Horizon Engineering Solutions, please visit their CPD Member Directory page. Alternatively please visit the CPD Industry Hubs for more CPD articles, courses and events relevant to your Continuing Professional Development requirements.



Horizon Engineering Solutions

Horizon Engineering Solutions

For more information from Horizon Engineering Solutions, please visit their CPD Member Directory page. Alternatively please visit the CPD Industry Hubs for more CPD articles, courses and events relevant to your Continuing Professional Development requirements.

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