a free copy

a free copy
Health and Safety
Executive
The Electricity at Work
Regulations 1989
Subtitle H6
Guidance on Regulations
Health and Safety
Executive
The Electricity at Work
Regulations 1989
Subtitle H6
This new edition of HSR25 will help dutyholders meet the requirements of the
Electricity at Work Regulations 1989. It will be of interest and practical help to all
dutyholders, particularly engineers (including those involved in the design,
construction, operation or maintenance of electrical systems), technicians and their
managers.
It sets out the Regulations and gives technical and legal guidance on them. The
purpose of this guidance is to highlight the nature of the precautions in general
terms to help dutyholders achieve high standards of electrical safety in compliance
with the duties imposed.
Guidance on Regulations
HSR25 (Third edition)
Published 2015
This third edition removes reference to regulations 17–28 and Schedule 1, which
applied only to mines and were revoked in April 2015 by the Mines Regulations
2014, and shows changes made to regulations 3 and 29. This document applies to
all electrical systems and there is additional guidance for mines in Electrical safety in
mines (HSE publication HSG278).
The publication also contains references to HSE guidance and codes of practice
from other standards-making bodies and trade associations.
HSE Books
Health and Safety
Executive
The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989
© Crown copyright 2015
First published 1989
Second edition 2007
Third edition 2015
ISBN 978 0 7176 6636 2
You may reuse this information (excluding logos) free of charge in any format or
medium, under the terms of the Open Government Licence. To view the licence
visit www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/, write to the
Information Policy Team, The National Archives, Kew, London TW9 4DU, or email
[email protected]
Some images and illustrations may not be owned by the Crown so cannot be
reproduced without permission of the copyright owner. Enquiries should be sent to
[email protected]
Guidance
This guidance is issued by the Health and Safety Executive. Following the guidance
is not compulsory, unless specifically stated, and you are free to take other action.
But if you do follow the guidance you will normally be doing enough to comply with
the law. Health and safety inspectors seek to secure compliance with the law and
may refer to this guidance.
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Health and Safety
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The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989
Contents
Introduction
5
The Regulations
7
Regulation 1 Citation and commencement
Regulation 2 Interpretation
Regulation 3 Persons on whom duties are imposed by these Regulations
13
Regulation 4 Systems, work activities and protective equipment
Regulation 5 Strength and capability of electrical equipment
Regulation 6 Adverse or hazardous environments
Regulation 7 Insulation, protection and placing of conductors
Regulation 8 Earthing or other suitable precautions
Regulation 9 Integrity of referenced conductors
Regulation 10 Connections
7
7
15
18
19
22
25
29
30
Regulation 11 Means for protecting from excess of current
31
Regulation 12 Means for cutting off the supply and for isolation
Regulation 13 Precautions for work on equipment made dead
Regulation 14 Work on or near live conductors
33
35
37
Regulation 15 Working space, access and lighting
41
Regulation 16 Persons to be competent to prevent danger and injury
Regulations 17–28
43
Regulation 29 Defence
43
Regulation 30 Exemption certificates
44
Regulation 31 Extension outside Great Britain
Regulation 32 Disapplication of duties
45
Regulation 33 Revocations and modifications
Appendix 1
46
References and further reading
Further information
48
52
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The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989
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Health and Safety
Executive
The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989
Introduction
About this book
1 This book gives guidance on and sets out the Electricity at Work Regulations
1989. The guidance is relevant to all work activities and premises except certain
offshore workplaces and certain ships. Additional guidance specific to mines is
given in Electrical safety in mines.1
2 The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 (SI 1989/635) (as amended) (the
Regulations) came into force on 1 April 1990. The purpose of the Regulations is to
require precautions to be taken against the risk of death or personal injury from
electricity in work activities. The text of the Regulations is available free to download
from legislation.gov.uk or to purchase from The Stationery Office.
3 The Regulations are made under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974
(the HSW Act).2 The HSW Act applies principally to employers, the self-employed
and to employees, including certain classes of trainees. Duties are imposed on
people (referred to in this guidance as ‘dutyholders’) in respect of systems,
electrical equipment and conductors, and in respect of work activities on or near
electrical equipment. Words in bold (above and in extracts from the Regulations)
are defined in regulation 2. The duties are in addition to those imposed by the HSW
Act. The 1989 Regulations pre-date the risk assessment process brought in with
the 1992 version of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations.
However, the risk assessment process is still required. Further information can be
found in Managing for health and safety.3
What are the differences between this edition and the previous
edition?
4 This third edition notes that regulations 17–28 and Schedule 1, which applied
only to mines, were revoked in April 2015 by the Mines Regulations 2014. These
Regulations also modified regulations 3 and 29.
Who should read this book?
5 The guidance is primarily for dutyholders (including those involved in the
design, construction, operation or maintenance of electrical systems and
equipment), engineers, technicians and their managers. It sets out the Regulations
and gives technical and legal guidance on them. While it reflects the Health and
Safety Executive’s (HSE’s) view of the meaning of terms used in the Regulations,
only the Courts can provide a binding interpretation. The text of the Regulations is
set out in italics, the accompanying guidance is in normal type. Coloured borders
also indicate each section clearly.
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Scope
6
This guidance applies to all operational voltages.
7 The Regulations apply to all electrical systems and equipment (as defined)
whenever manufactured, purchased, installed or taken into use even if its
manufacture or installation pre-dates the Regulations. Where electrical equipment
pre-dates the Regulations this does not of itself mean that the continued use of the
equipment would be in contravention of the Regulations. For example, some of the
equipment to which the Regulations apply may have been made to a standard,
such as a British Standard, which has since been modified or superseded.
Standards such as BS 76714 can provide assistance but, ultimately, compliance
with the Regulations is required. It is likely to be reasonably practicable to replace it
with equipment made to a more recent standard when, but only when, it becomes
unsafe or falls due for replacement for other than safety reasons, whichever occurs
sooner.
British Standard BS 7671 Requirements for Electrical
Installations (also known as the IET Wiring Regulations)
8 BS 7671 Requirements for electrical installations is also known as the IET
Wiring Regulations. They are non-statutory regulations which ‘relate principally to
the design, selection, erection, inspection and testing of electrical installations,
whether permanent or temporary, in and about buildings generally and to
agricultural and horticultural premises, construction sites and caravans and their
sites’.
9 BS 7671 is a code of practice which is widely recognised and accepted in the
UK and compliance with it is likely to achieve compliance with relevant aspects of
the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989.
10 There are, however, many types of system, equipment and hazard to which
BS 7671 is not applicable; for example, certain installations at mines and quarries,
equipment on vehicles, systems for public electricity supply and explosion
protection. Furthermore, BS 7671 applies only to installations operating at up to
1000 V ac or 1500 V dc.
11 Installations to which BS 7671 is relevant may have been installed in
accordance with an earlier edition, now superseded but then current. That, in itself,
would not mean that the installation would fail to comply with the Regulations.
Electricity Safety, Quality and Continuity Regulations
12 The Electricity Safety, Quality and Continuity Regulations 2002 (ESQCR)5
impose requirements in respect of the generation, distribution and supply of
electricity, including supply networks and electrical equipment. The Department of
Energy and Climate Change (DECC) leads on ESQCR matters, though HSE
performs some functions on DECC’s behalf, in particular with regards to public
safety and incident notifications. Some ESQCR obligations – such as requirements
for connection with earth – overlap with the Regulations, but others provide
additional requirements.
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The Regulations
Regulation 1 Citation and commencement
Regulation1
These Regulations may be cited as the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 and
shall come into force on 1st April 1990.
Regulation 2 Interpretation
Regulation2
(1) In these Regulations, unless the context otherwise requires –
“circuit conductor” means any conductor in a system which is intended to carry
electric current in normal conditions, or to be energised in normal conditions, and
includes a combined neutral and earth conductor, but does not include a
conductor provided solely to perform a protective function by connection to earth
or other reference point;
“conductor” means a conductor of electrical energy;
“danger” means risk of injury;
“electrical equipment” includes anything used, intended to be used or installed for
use, to generate, provide, transmit, transform, rectify, convert, conduct, distribute,
control, store, measure or use electrical energy;
“injury” means death or personal injury from electric shock, electric burn, electrical
explosion or arcing, or from fire or explosion initiated by electrical energy, where any
such death or injury is associated with the generation, provision, transmission,
transformation, rectification, conversion, conduction, distribution, control, storage,
measurement or use of electrical energy;
“system” means an electrical system in which all the electrical equipment is, or may
be, electrically connected to a common source of electrical energy, and includes
such source and such equipment.
Guidance 2
13 Words and phrases which are in bold type in the text of the regulation
preceding the guidance are those which have been assigned a special meaning by
being defined in regulation 2.
Systems
14 The term ‘system’ includes all parts of a system, eg conductors and electrical
equipment in it, and is not a reference solely to the functional circuit as a whole. It
follows that something required of a system is required both of the system as a
whole and of the equipment and conductors in it.
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15 The definition refers to electrical systems. In the case of each system this will
include all of the electrical equipment connected together and the various electrical
energy sources in that system. In the case of transformers, even though there may
be galvanic separation between the various windings of the transformers, where the
energy is transmitted through these from one part of the electrical system to
another, the transformer and all of its windings are part of the same system.
16 The definition of ‘system’ includes equipment which, although not energised,
may be electrically connected to a common source of electrical energy. Equipment
which is readily capable of being made live by a system is therefore considered to
be part of that system. For example, a lighting circuit which has been disconnected
from its source of electrical energy by means of removable links or fuses is still part
of that system, as is such a circuit which has been switched off even though the
switch might be a double pole switch.
17 Equipment which is in any way connected to a source of electrical energy, eg
a test instrument containing a source and the equipment containing or connected
to that source, becomes part of a system and the Regulations apply to that system.
Electrical equipment which is not connected, and cannot be readily connected, to a
source of electrical energy is not part of a system. Protective conductors, if they are
connected to a source, are part of that system.
18 The reference in the definition to a common source of electrical energy does
not exclude systems fed by several generators or transformers. The word
‘common’ is included in the definition so that completely independent electrical
installations are regarded as separate systems. If, however, they are electrically
connected in any way they are part of the same system for the purposes of the
Regulations. This may mean that the system may be an extensive electrical network
covering large geographical areas over which several or even many people have
control of various parts. The Regulations place duties on these people only in
respect of those provisions of the Regulations which relate to matters which are
within their control (see regulation 3).
19 Self-contained portable systems, such as portable generating sets, are
electrical systems for the purpose of the Regulations, as are transportable systems
and systems on vehicles etc.
Electrical equipment
20 ‘Electrical equipment’ as defined in the Regulations includes every type of
electrical equipment from, for example, a high-voltage transmission overhead line to
a battery-powered hand lamp. There are no voltage limits in the Regulations; the
criteria are whether danger (as defined) may arise. It is appropriate for the
Regulations to apply even at the very lowest end of the voltage or power spectrum
because the Regulations are concerned with, for example, explosion risks, which
may be caused by very low levels of energy igniting flammable gases even though
there may be no risk of electric shock or burn.
21 Electrical equipment (as defined) includes conductors used to distribute
electrical energy such as cables, wires and leads and those used in the
transmission at high voltage of bulk electrical energy, as in the national grid.
Conductors
22 Regulation 2 defines a conductor as ‘a conductor of electrical energy’. This
means any material which is capable of conducting electricity (electricity is
synonymous with electrical energy) and therefore includes both metals and all other
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conducting materials. The definition is not limited to conductors intended to carry
current and so includes, for example, metal structures, salt water, ionised gases
and conducting particles. The conductance of most materials varies with
parameters such as temperature, eg glass is conducting when molten (and is then
a conductor, as defined) whereas in its normal, solid, state it is a good insulator
and finds many applications as such. For the purposes of the Regulations, while
such materials conduct electricity, they are ‘conductors’.
Figure 1 Types of conductor
L1
These conductors
enclosed by this
dotted line are
circuit conductors
(by definition)
L2
L3
N
E
Within these dotted
linesthe conductors are
conductors in a system
since they are electrically
connected to a common
source of electrical energy
3 Phase system – separate neutral and earth
These are conductors in a system
But not circuit conductors
L
N
Protective
conductor
The combined neutral/earth conductor serves as both a neutral and
a protective conductorand is therefore a circuit conductor as well as
a conductor in a system
System including both combined and separate
neutral and earth conductors (single phase only shown)
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Circuit conductor
23 This definition is used in regulations 8 and 9 only. It distinguishes from all
other conductors those conductors whose normal function is to carry load current
or to be energised (see Figure 1).
Danger
24 The Regulations use the two defined terms, ‘danger’ and ‘injury’. ‘Danger’ is
defined as ‘risk of injury’. ‘Injury’ is defined in terms of certain classes of potential
harm to people.
25 Where the term ‘prevent danger’ is used it should therefore be read as
‘prevent the risk of injury’.
26 The Regulations make requirements to ‘prevent danger’ or ‘prevent injury’ – or
in the case of regulation 16 – ‘to prevent danger or, where appropriate, injury’. The
purpose of the distinction between ‘injury’ and ‘danger’ is to accommodate those
circumstances when people must work on or so near live equipment that there is a
risk of ‘injury’, ie where ‘danger’ is present and cannot be prevented. In these
circumstances, under regulation 14, danger may be present but injury must be
prevented.
27 The type of injuries with which the Regulations are concerned are detailed in
the definition of ‘injury’ in the regulation (see paragraphs 29 and 30). The scope of
the Regulations does not include consequential dangers such as crushing injuries
caused by a machine going out of control following an electrical malfunction. Such
other dangers are subject to other legal requirements under, for example, the HSW
Act, the Factories Act 1961 and the Office, Shops and Railway Premises Act 1963.
28 If no danger arises from a particular system, item of electrical equipment or
conductor and will not arise, then the Regulations, although applying to it, do not
require any precautions to be taken. However, in order for there to be no danger,
there would have to be no risk of electric shock, electric burn, fire, arcing or explosion.
Injury
29 The purpose of the Regulations is to prevent death or personal injury to any
person from electrical causes in connection with work activities.
30 ‘Injury’ means death or injury to any person from:
(a)
(b)
(c)
(d)
(e)
electric shock;
electric burn;
fires of electrical origin;
electric arcing;
explosions initiated or caused by electricity.
Electric shock
31 The human body responds in several ways to electrical current flowing
through it. The sensation of shock is only one such effect and this can be extremely
painful. When a shock is received, the electric current may take multiple paths
through the body and its intensity at any one point is difficult or impossible to
predict. The passage of electric current may cause muscular contractions,
respiratory failure, fibrillation of the heart, cardiac arrest or injury from internal burns.
Any of these can be fatal.
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32 The nature and severity of injury depends upon the magnitude, duration and
path of the current through the body and, in the case of alternating current (ac), on
its frequency. It is not possible to identify precise thresholds for the existence of
hazard because a judgement has to be made in each case taking all the
circumstances into account, such as body weight, physical condition of the victim
and so forth. Nevertheless, a guide to the sort of current magnitudes which mark
the occurrence of various dangerous effects is given in the International
Electrotechnical Commission’s (IEC’s) publication Guide to effects of current on
human beings and livestock. Special aspects relating to human beings.6 Quite low
currents, of the order of only a few milliamps (mA), can cause fatal electric shock.
33 The likely effects of shock current are mainly influenced by:
(a)
(b)
(c)
(d)
voltage;
frequency;
duration;
any impedance in the current path.
34 The effects of electric shock are most acute at around the public electricity
supply frequency of 50 hertz. Susceptibility to electric shock is increased if a
person is in:
(a) good electrical contact with earth, such as in damp or wet conditions or in
conducting locations such as inside a metal tank;
(b) hot environments where people may become damp due to perspiration or
humidity, thus reducing the insulation protection offered by clothing.
35 The variability of conditions makes it impossible to specify a voltage which is
guaranteed to be safe in all situations. In any situation, you should consider the risk
of injury from electric shock against published guidance as to the voltages and
other factors which have been found by extensive experience to be safe. This
includes national and international standards and technical publications. However,
these documents should be interpreted carefully and with a view to the limitations
of their various scopes and assumptions. You should always consider the
conventional public electricity supply voltage of 230 V ac as potentially fatally
dangerous. Many fatal electric shock accidents have occurred from contact with
conductors live at this voltage and possibly the most dangerous situation is where
contact is made with conductors by each hand, current then flowing ‘hand to
hand’ across the heart region.
36 The following documents give some guidance (see References):
(a) Guide to effects of current on human beings and livestock (IEC TS 60479);
(b) Requirements for electrical installations (BS 7671);
(c) Safety of equipment electrically connected to a telecommunications network
(IEC 62151).7
Electric burn
37 Electric burns are different from burns due to fire (see paragraphs 39–40),
arcing (see paragraphs 41–42) or explosion (see paragraphs 44–46). They are due
to the heating effect caused by the passage of electric current through body
tissues. They are most commonly associated with electric shock and often occur in
and on the skin layers at the point of contact with the electrical conductors which
gave rise to the electric shock. Electrical arcs jump across gaps and can cause
burns.
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38 At high frequencies, eg radio frequencies (RF), which include microwaves, it
may not even be necessary for contact to be made with live conductors for an
electric burn to be received. In the case of RF, the heating is by absorption of the
electromagnetic wave energy by a dielectric loss process in the body of the victim.
RF burns can thus be extremely deep within the body. RF burning can occur
without the sensation of shock, particularly if no contact is made with the RF
conductors, and can therefore cause severe injury before the victim is aware of
their occurrence. Electric burns are usually painful and very slow to heal.
Permanent scarring is common.
Fires of an electrical origin
39 Fires may be started by electricity in a number of ways. The main causes are:
(a) overheating of cables and electrical equipment due to overloading of
conductors;
(b) leakage currents due to poor or inadequate insulation;
(c) overheating of flammable materials placed too close to electrical equipment
which is otherwise operating normally;
(d) the ignition of flammable materials by arcing or sparking of electrical
equipment, including the scattering of hot particles from electrical equipment.
40 The injuries associated with fire are usually burns but may include other
injuries such as smoke inhalation, each with the potential to kill.
Arcing
41 Arcing causes a particular type of burn injury which is distinct from other
types. Arcing generates ultraviolet radiation which causes damage similar to severe
sunburn. Molten metal particles from the arc itself can penetrate burn and lodge in
the flesh. These effects are additional to any radiated heat damage caused by the arc.
42 On its own, ultraviolet radiation can cause damage; sensitive skin and eyes
are especially vulnerable to arc flash. (‘Arc eye’ is commonly encountered with
electric arc welding if the proper precautions are not adopted.)
43 Arcing faults can occur if the energy available at a piece of electrical
equipment is sufficient to maintain a conductive path through the air or insulation
between two conductors which are at different potentials. Under fault flashover
conditions, currents many times the nominal rating or setting of a protective device
may flow before those devices operate to clear the fault. Much energy is dissipated
in the arc and, depending on the electrical protection, may continue long enough to
inflict very serious arcing burns or to initiate a fire. These periods can be as short as
0.2 seconds. Arc flashovers caused during work on live circuit conductors are likely
to be particularly hazardous because the worker is likely to be very near to or even
enveloped by the arc. Such cases often lead to very serious, sometimes fatal, burn
injuries.
Explosion
44 This category includes those injuries caused by explosions either of an
electrical nature or those ignited by an electrical source.
45 Electrical explosions include the violent and catastrophic rupture of any
electrical equipment. Switchgear, motors and power cables are liable to explode if
they are subjected to excessive currents, which release violent electromagnetic
forces and dissipate heat energy, or if they suffer prolonged internal arcing faults.
46 Explosions caused by ignition from an electrical source include ignition of
flammable vapours, gases, liquids and dusts by electrostatic discharge, electric
sparks, arcs or the high surface temperature of electrical equipment.
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Other words used in the Regulations
Charged/live (as used in regulations 8, 13 and 14)
47 The terms ‘charged’ and ‘live’ have different meanings; they are not defined in
the Regulations so they take their ordinary meaning. ‘Live’ means equipment that is
at a voltage by being connected to a source of electricity. ‘Charged’ means that the
item has acquired a charge either because it is live or because it has become
charged by other means, such as static or induction charging, or has retained or
regained a charge due to capacitance effects even though it may be disconnected
from the rest of the system.
Dead (as used in regulations 13 and 14)
48 The term ‘dead’ is not defined in the Regulations so it takes its ordinary
meaning. Thus, in the context of the Regulations, for a conductor to be ‘dead’
means that it is neither ‘live’ nor ‘charged’.
Other words used in the guidance
High voltage, low voltage
49 High voltage is a voltage in excess of 1000 V ac or 1500 V dc (direct
current). Low voltage is a voltage up to and including 1000 V ac or 1500 V dc. Live work
50 Live work is work on or near conductors that are accessible and ‘live’ or ‘charged’.
Note that testing of live exposed conductors using a test instrument is live work.
Regulation 3 Persons on whom duties are imposed by
these Regulations
Regulation3
(1) Except where otherwise expressly provided in these Regulations, it shall
be the duty of every –
(a) employer and self-employed person to comply with the provisions of
these Regulations in so far as they relate to matters which are within his
control; and
(b) [(i) mine operator, in relation to a mine within the meaning of regulation 3
of the Mines Regulations 2014, and]*
(ii) operator, in relation to a quarry within the meaning of regulation 3
of the Quarries Regulations 1999,
to ensure that all requirements or prohibitions imposed by or under these Regulations are complied with in so far as they relate to the mine of which he is the [mine operator]* or quarry of which he is the operator and to matters which are within his control.
(2) It shall be the duty of every employee while at work –
(a) to co-operate with his employer so far as is necessary to enable any duty
placed on that employer by the provisions of these Regulations to be
complied with; and
(b) to comply with the provisions of these Regulations in so far as they relate
to matters which are within his control.
[(3) In this regulation, “mine operator” has the meaning given by regulation
2(1) of the Mines Regulations 2014.]*
* Amended by the Mines Regulations 2014, SI 2014/3248.
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Employer
51 For the purposes of the Regulations, an employer is any person or body who:
(a) employs one or more individuals under a contract of employment or
apprenticeship; or
(b) provides training under the schemes to which the HSW Act applies through
the Health and Safety (Training for Employment) Regulations 1990
(SI 1990/1380).
Self-employed
52 A self-employed person is an individual who works for gain or reward other
than under a contract of employment, whether or not they employ others. They
encounter the same risks as employed people.
Employee
53 Regulation 3(2)(a) reiterates the duty placed on employees by section 7(b) of
the HSW Act.
54 Regulation 3(2)(b) places duties on employees equivalent to those placed on
employers and self-employed people where these are matters within their control.
This will include those trainees who will be considered as employees under the
Regulations described in paragraph 51.
55 This arrangement recognises the level of responsibility which many employees
in the electrical trades and professions are expected to take on as part of their job.
The ‘control’ which they exercise over the electrical safety in any particular
circumstances will determine to what extent they hold responsibilities under the
Regulations to ensure that the Regulations are complied with.
56 A person may find themselves responsible for causing danger to arise
elsewhere in an electrical system, at a point beyond their own installation. This
situation may arise, for example, due to unauthorised or unscheduled back feeding
from their installation onto the system, or to raising the fault power level on the
system above rated and agreed maximum levels due to connecting extra
generation capacity etc. Because such circumstances are within their control, the
effect of regulation 3 is to bring responsibilities for compliance with the rest of the
Regulations to that person, thus making them a dutyholder.
Absolute/reasonably practicable
57 Duties in some of the Regulations are subject to the qualifying term
‘reasonably practicable’. Where qualifying terms are absent the requirement in the
regulation is said to be absolute. The meaning of reasonably practicable has been
well established in law. The interpretations in paragraphs 59–60 are given only as a
guide to dutyholders.
Absolute
58 If the requirement in a regulation is ‘absolute’, for example if the requirement
is not qualified by the words ‘so far as is reasonably practicable’, the requirement
must be met regardless of cost or any other consideration. Regulations making
such absolute requirements are subject to the defence provision of regulation 29.
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Reasonably practicable
59 Generally, you should do everything ‘reasonably practicable’ to protect people
from harm. This means balancing the level of risk against the measures needed to
control the real risk in terms of money, time or trouble. However, you do not need
to take action if it would be grossly disproportionate to the level of risk.
60 In the context of the Regulations, where the risk is very often that of death, eg
from electrocution, and where the nature of the precautions which can be taken are
so often very simple and cheap, eg insulation, the level of duty to prevent that
danger approaches that of an absolute duty.
Regulation 4 Systems, work activities and protective
equipment
Regulation4
(1) All systems shall at all times be of such construction as to prevent, so
far as is reasonably practicable, danger.
(2) As may be necessary to prevent danger, all systems shall be
maintained so as to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, such danger.
(3) Every work activity, including operation, use and maintenance of a
system and work near a system, shall be carried out in such a manner as not to
give rise, so far as is reasonably practicable, to danger.
(4) Any equipment provided under these Regulations for the purpose of
protecting persons at work on or near electrical equipment shall be suitable for
the use for which it is provided, be maintained in a condition suitable for that use,
and be properly used.
Guidance 4
61 Regulation 4 covers, in a general way, those aspects of electrical systems and
equipment, and work on or near these, which are fundamental to electrical safety.
Regulation 4(1)
62 The word ‘construction’ in the regulation has a wide application. It may be
considered to cover the physical condition and arrangement of the components of
a system at any time during its life. It will include aspects such as the design of the
system and the equipment comprising that system.
63 In assessing the suitability of the construction of electrical systems,
consideration should be given to all likely or reasonably foreseeable conditions of
actual application or use of the electrical equipment in the system. This will include
the testing, commissioning, operation and maintenance of the equipment
throughout the life of the system.
64
In particular, you should consider:
(a)
(b)
(c)
(d)
the manufacturer’s assigned or other certified rating of the equipment;
the likely load and fault conditions;
the need for suitable electrical protective devices;
the fault level at the point of supply and the ability of the equipment and the
protective devices to handle likely fault conditions;
(e) any contribution to the fault level from the connected loads such as from
motors;
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(f)
the environmental conditions which will have a bearing on the mechanical
strength and protection required of the equipment;
(g) the user’s requirements of the installation;
(h) the risks that a system may create to adjacent work activities and the public;
(i) the manner in which commissioning, testing and subsequent maintenance or
other work may need to be carried out.
65 The safety of a system depends upon the proper selection of all the electrical
equipment in the system and the proper consideration of the inter-relationship
between the individual items of equipment. For example, electrical protection
against overloads and earth faults etc may need to be provided in one part of a
system to protect another, possibly remote, part of the system. Also, where
electrical energy is transformed or converted from one voltage to another, you
should take precautions to prevent danger arising from the lower-voltage
conductors becoming charged above their normal voltage.
Regulation 4(2)
66 Regulation 4(2) is concerned with the need for maintenance to be done to
ensure safety of the system, rather than with the activity of doing the maintenance
in a safe manner (which is required by regulation 4(3)).
67 The obligation to maintain arises only if danger would otherwise result. The
maintenance should be sufficient to prevent danger so far as is reasonably
practicable.
68 Inspection and, where necessary, testing of equipment is an essential part of
any preventive maintenance programme. Practical experience of use may indicate
an adjustment to the frequency at which preventive maintenance needs to be
carried out. This is a matter for the judgement of the dutyholder, who should seek
all the information they need to make this judgement including reference to the
equipment manufacturer’s guidance.
69 Records can aid demonstration of compliance and allow useful analysis of
equipment condition, although keeping records is not a legal requirement.
Maintenance records (including test results), preferably kept throughout the working
life of an electrical system, will allow the condition of the equipment and the
effectiveness of maintenance policies to be monitored. Without effective monitoring,
dutyholders cannot be certain that the requirement for maintenance has been
complied with.
70 British Standard Codes of Practice offering guidance on maintenance are
referred to in Further reading. Advice on inspection and testing of some fixed
installations is given in BS 7671.
Regulation 4(3)
71 Regulation 4(3) requires that work activities of any sort, whether directly or
indirectly associated with an electrical system, must be carried out in a way which,
as far as is reasonably practicable, does not give rise to danger. Regulations 12 to
16 provide more specific requirements in connection with work of an electrical
nature on or near electrical systems. See Electricity at work: Safe working
practices8 for more information
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Work activities associated with electrical systems
72 In the case of electrical work, it is preferable that the conductors are made
dead before work starts (see regulations 12, 13 and 14). In such cases, it is
essential that the equipment is isolated (note that ‘isolation’ is defined in regulation
12(2), which will include securing by locking off etc; see also paragraph 75) and the
conductors proved dead at the point of work before the work starts. Where a test
instrument or voltage indicator is used for this purpose, this device should itself be
proved immediately before and immediately after testing the conductors.
73 Safe systems of work incorporating safety isolation procedures are important
for work on equipment which is to be made dead before work starts. Particular
consideration is needed where multiple sources of supply can exist, eg connection
of alternative generation. These are also discussed under regulations 12 and 13.
Some work, such as fault finding and testing or live jointing by the electricity supply
industry, may require electrical equipment to remain energised during the work. In
these cases, regulation 14 makes particular requirements and regulation 4(4) is also
likely to be relevant in terms of the protective equipment which may need to be
provided. Electricity at work: Safe working practices gives further guidance.
74 The operation, maintenance and testing of electrical systems and equipment
must only be carried out by those people who are competent for that work (see
also regulation 16).
Disused electrical equipment and systems
75 Before electrical equipment or systems are decommissioned they must be
disconnected from all sources of supply and isolated. Similarly, electrical equipment
or systems which are disused, or no longer required or abandoned for any reason,
should be disconnected from all sources of supply and isolated. Isolation (as
defined in regulation 12(2)) requires taking effective steps to ensure that it is dead
and cannot become inadvertently re-energised or charged by induction or
capacitance effects. (Regulations 12, 13 and 14 are also likely to be relevant.)
Suitable labels or notices to bring people’s attention to the state of the equipment
are likely to be necessary in preventing inadvertent re-energisation.
Other work near electrical systems
76 Regulation 4(3) is wide in its application and includes work of a non-electrical
nature where there is a risk of electrical injury. A common example is excavation
near to live electric power cables and work near live overhead power lines, where
the risks can be severe. Advice on these matters is given in HSE publications listed
in References and further reading. You must also consider the requirements of
regulation 14.
Regulation 4(4)
77 The defence (regulation 29) is available in any proceedings for an offence
under this part of regulation 4.
78 The term ‘protective equipment’ can be of wide application but typically
includes those special tools, protective clothing and insulating screening materials
etc necessary to do work safely on live electrical equipment. The requirement for
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suitable precautions to prevent injury may arise under regulation 14. The regulation
requires the protective equipment to be:
(a) suitable for use;
(b) maintained in that condition;
(c) properly used.
79 Regulation 4(4) is not qualified by ‘so far as is reasonably practicable’, nor
does the regulation refer either to injury or the risk of injury, ie electrical danger. The
impact of the regulation is that, where protective equipment is provided in order to
comply with any of the other regulations, the equipment must conform to the
requirements of regulation 4(4). Advice on safe working practices is given in HSE
guidance. Specifications for certain types of protective equipment such as
insulating gloves and floor mats are listed in relevant standards in References and
further reading.
Regulation 5 Strength and capability of electrical
equipment
Regulation5
No electrical equipment shall be put into use where its strength and capability
may be exceeded in such a way as may give rise to danger.
Guidance 80 The defence (regulation 29) is available in any proceedings for an offence
under this regulation.
5
81 Before equipment is energised, the characteristics of the system to which the
equipment is connected must be taken into account. This should include those
existing under normal conditions, possible transient conditions and prospective
fault conditions, so that the equipment is not subjected to stress which it is not
capable of handling without giving rise to danger. The effects to be considered
include voltage stress and the heating and electromagnetic effects of current.
Strength and capability
82 The term ‘strength and capability’ of electrical equipment refers to the ability
of the equipment to withstand the thermal, electromagnetic, electrochemical or
other effects of the electrical currents which might be expected to flow when the
equipment is part of a system. These currents include, for example, load currents,
transient overloads, fault currents, pulses of current and, for alternating current
circuits, currents at various power factors and frequencies. Insulation must be
effective to enable the equipment to withstand the applied voltage and any likely
transient over-voltages.
83 A knowledge of the electrical specification and the tests, usually based on the
requirements of national or international standards, will assist the user in identifying
the withstand properties of the equipment so that it may be selected and installed
to comply with this regulation. Such tests are normally carried out either by the
manufacturer or by an accredited testing organisation.
Rating
84 The strength and capability of electrical equipment is not necessarily the same
as its rating. Usually the rating is that which has been assigned by the manufacturer
following a number of agreed tests.
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85 Electrical equipment should be used within the manufacturer’s rating
(continuous, intermittent or fault rating as appropriate) and in accordance with any
instructions supplied with the equipment.
Fault conditions
86 So that equipment remains safe under prospective fault conditions, you must
select equipment that takes account of the fault levels and the characteristics of the
electrical protection which has been provided for the purpose of interrupting or
reducing fault current (excess current protection is required by regulation 11). Most
electrical equipment will be able to withstand short-circuit currents safely for limited
periods only. The considerations also extend to conductors and equipment
provided solely for protective purposes, eg earthing conductors must be adequately
rated to survive beyond fault clearance times to ensure satisfactory protective gear
operation and fault clearance.
Regulation 6 Adverse or hazardous environments
Regulation6
Electrical equipment which may reasonably foreseeably be exposed to –
(a)
(b)
(c)
(d)
mechanical damage;
the effects of the weather, natural hazards, temperature or pressure;
the effects of wet, dirty, dusty or corrosive conditions; or
any flammable or explosive substance, including dusts, vapours or
gases,
shall be of such construction or as necessary protected as to prevent, so far as is
reasonably practicable, danger arising from such exposure.
Guidance 6
87 The regulation draws attention to the kinds of adverse conditions where
danger could arise if equipment is not constructed and protected to withstand such
exposure. Electrical equipment must be suitable for the environment and conditions
of use to which it may reasonably foreseeably be exposed so that danger which
may arise from such exposure will be prevented so far as is reasonably practicable.
The following paragraphs detail some of the conditions to which electrical
equipment may be subjected. Guidance is given in these paragraphs and additional
guidance may be found in the documents listed in References and further reading.
Particular attention should be paid to the IP rating (Index of Protection) of
equipment (see paragraph 108). Guidance is also given under regulation 8 on the
use of reduced voltage systems on construction sites and elsewhere where
particularly arduous or conducting locations may exist (see paragraphs 142–144).
Effects
88 The conditions at which the regulation is directed are those occurring naturally
as well as those resulting from human activities, including the following:
(a) mechanical damage including impact, stress, strain, abrasion, wear, vibration
and hydraulic and pneumatic pressure;
(b) effects of the weather, which include both short-term (eg wind, ice and snow,
lightning) and long-term (eg temperature cycling) effects;
(c) natural hazards, which are those resulting from other than man’s activities and
include animals, trees and plants, tides and solar radiation etc;
(d) temperature and pressure;
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(e) liquids which include water and other liquids and their effects, including
humidity, condensation, flooding, splashing, or immersion in these, cleaning
with liquids, hosing down and solvent and solvent vapour action (electrically
conducting and non-conducting liquids may present different aspects of
electrical danger);
(f) dirty conditions which include all contamination as a result of liquids or solids
(electrically conducting and non-conducting dusts may present different
aspects of electrical danger);
(g) corrosive conditions which include all chemical actions and reactions and
electrochemical effects;
(h) flammable substances, including flammable dusts and flammable vapours;
(i) explosive substances which include both any mixture of solids, liquids or
gases which is capable of exploding and substances intended to be explosive
(ie explosives).
89 When determining the suitability of equipment for particular environments or
conditions of use, you only need to consider exposure or effects which are
reasonably foreseeable.
Mechanical damage
90 The mechanical damage to which electrical equipment may be subjected
varies considerably from one environment to another. For example, equipment
designed for use in an office is unlikely to be suitable, without further protection or
careful siting, in a workshop or farm environment.
91 The effects covered by regulation 6(b), (c) and (d) may also impose mechanical
stresses on electrical equipment. For example, ice and wind loading, or loss of
mechanical strength due to expansion and contraction resulting from temperature
changes, can give rise to mechanical damage.
92 This regulation requires the mechanical protection, if necessary, of the
insulation which is required under regulation 7(a). For example, to protect against
impact damage, steel wire armouring of a cable may be necessary. Further suitable
protection in addition to basic insulation may be required to form the physical
protection necessary to ensure the continuing integrity of basic insulation, eg
conduits or a trunking for single-insulated conductors or the armouring or tough
external sheathing of composite or multi-core electric cable.
Weather, natural hazards and extreme conditions
93 Precautions taken to protect a site, structure or building from natural hazards
and extreme weather conditions may give some protection to the associated
electrical installation, but additional protection or precautions may also be
necessary.
94 Extremes of temperature, pressure or humidity may result either from climatic
conditions or from adjacent plant or from the use of the electrical equipment itself.
Standards frequently quote the range of service conditions for electrical equipment,
including temperature limits, and users should consider these when selecting
equipment.
95 Guidance on assessing the need for lightning protection of structures and
buildings etc, the design and provision of systems and their inspection, testing and
maintenance is given in publications listed in References and further reading.
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Corrosive effects
96 If substances are present in the environment that accelerate corrosion of
metallic enclosures or fittings, special materials or surface treatments may be
necessary. In these cases, the electrical equipment must be protected, eg motors,
and be of a type which is totally enclosed by an appropriate corrosion-resistant
housing, ie not ventilated to the atmosphere.
97 Insulating materials and other materials used in electrical equipment may be
affected by chemical agents or solvents. Cubicles housing electrical control
equipment in hostile environments may need to be kept purged or pressurised with
clean air or, in special cases, inert gas. See Further reading for details of relevant
standards.
Dirt and dusts
98 Most industrial enclosures for electrical equipment do not resist the entry of
fine dusts. Equipment must be constructed to resist the entry of dust and dirt
where this may give rise to electrical and mechanical failures. Appropriate regular
inspection and cleaning are recommended where dirt and dusts are likely to
accumulate, eg portable motor-driven equipment incorporating ventilation slots
which can cause the accumulation of potentially hazardous layers of dirt and dust.
Combustible dusts
99 In cloud form, some dusts create an explosion hazard, while layers of
combustible dust on electrical equipment can give rise to fire hazards. The
selection, construction or installation of equipment exposed to combustible dust
must guard against the possibility of ignition. The maximum temperature attainable
on the surface of any electrical equipment where these dusts may be deposited
should always be below the temperature at which any ignition, charring or smoking
of dust takes place. However, appropriate dust control measures and general
cleanliness which minimise the problem at source are recommended. See
References and further reading for details of relevant standards.
Potentially explosive atmospheres
100 If electrical equipment is used where a flammable or explosive atmosphere is
likely to occur, the equipment must be constructed so that it is not liable to ignite
that atmosphere. Further information is available in the Dangerous Substances and
Explosive Atmospheres Regulations.9
101 The selection and installation of equipment for use in potentially explosive
atmospheres should be guided by the recommendations contained in the HSE
guidance and British Standards on the subject. Existing installations complying with
the recommendations of earlier standards should be acceptable for continuing
service, subject to proper maintenance.
102 Such electrical equipment must be chosen from that which has been certified
as conforming to an appropriate standard.
103 Uncertified electrical equipment must not be used unless it will provide at least
an equivalent level of safety to that provided by appropriately certified equipment.
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104 Some manufacturing processes, eg electrostatic paint spraying, make use of
the characteristics of static electricity and the design of electrical equipment should
be such that the ignition of solvents, vapours or particulate substances is
prevented. See References and further reading for details of relevant standards.
105 The maintenance and repair of explosion-protected equipment is a specialised
field of work and must only be carried out by those who have the necessary training
and experience.
Other flammable substances
106 Electrical equipment that generates heat or produces sparks must not be
placed where either the heat emitted or sparking could lead to the uncontrolled
ignition of any substance.
107 The construction of the equipment should either exclude the substances from
any part of the equipment which may be a source of ignition (eg by suitable
enclosure) or should ensure that the equipment operates at sufficiently low
temperature and energy levels as not to be a source of ignition under likely
conditions of use and fault.
Classification system of ingress protection (IP rating)
108 There is an internationally recognised system of classifying the degree of
protection provided by enclosures against the ingress of solid objects and moisture,
and the protection afforded against contact with any live parts within the enclosure
for all types of electrical equipment. The system is commonly known as the IP
rating system and is detailed in a number of standards which are listed in Further
reading.
Regulation 7 Insulation, protection and placing of
conductors
Regulation7
All conductors in a system which may give rise to danger shall either –
(a) be suitably covered with insulating material and as necessary protected
so as to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, danger; or have
such precautions taken in respect of them (including, where appropriate,
their being suitably placed) as will prevent, so far as is reasonably
practicable, danger.
Guidance 7
109 The danger to be protected against generally arises from differences in
electrical potential (voltage) between circuit conductors or between such
conductors and other conductors in a system – usually conductors at earth
potential. The conventional approach is either to insulate the conductors or place
them so people are unable to receive an electric shock or burn from them.
110 Some form of basic insulation, or physical separation, of conductors in a
system is necessary for the system to function. That functional minimum, however,
may not be sufficient to comply with the requirements of regulation 7. Factors
which must be taken into account are:
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(a) the nature and severity of the probable danger;
(b) the functions to be performed by the equipment;
(c) the location of the equipment, its environment and the conditions to which it
will be subjected;
(d) any work which is likely to be done on, with or near the equipment.
Insulation
111 Regulation 7(a) states that conductors must be insulated. Suitable insulation of
the conductors in an electrical system is, in the majority of cases, the primary and
necessary safeguard to prevent danger from electric shock, either between live
conductors or between a live conductor and earth. It will also prevent danger from
fire and explosion arising from contact of conductors either with each other or with
earth. Energy from quite low levels of voltage (and levels insufficient to create a
shock risk) can ignite a flammable atmosphere. The quality and effectiveness of
insulation therefore needs to be commensurate with the voltages applied to the
conductors and the conditions of use.
112 BS 7671 gives some advice on these matters for fixed electrical installations
up to 1000 V ac or 1500 V dc.
113 The regulation requires that the insulation be protected as necessary, so that
danger may be prevented so far as is reasonably practicable. Often, the protection
required is to prevent mechanical damage to the insulation but may include any of
the effects detailed under regulation 6. Examples of such protection would be the
use of steel trunking and conduits or the use of steel armoured cables.
Other precautions including placing
114 Regulation 7(b) permits the alternative of having such precautions taken in
respect of the conductors. These precautions may include the suitable placing of
conductors. They may comprise strictly controlled working practices reinforced by
measures such as written instructions, training and warning notices etc. The
precautions must prevent danger so far as is reasonably practicable. Examples
where bare conductors are used in conjunction with suitable precautions are to be
found in many applications including overhead electric power lines, down-shop
conductors for overhead travelling cranes in factories etc, railway electrification
using either separate conductor and running rails or overhead pick-up wires, and
certain large electrolytic and electrothermal plants.
115 The placing of overhead electric power lines is specified in ESQCR (see
Introduction for more information).
116 Electric railway and tramway operators, in conjunction with the Office of Rail
and Road, have developed standards and safety specifications for the construction
of those parts of their systems which use bare conductors at overhead and at track
level, together with safe systems of work.
117 Safety is ensured in electrochemical plants which use high current by such
means as the separation of conductors which are at different potentials, the use of
insulating working platforms and unearthed or isolated electrical supplies (see
paragraphs 121–123).
118 Suitable placing of the conductors may, on its own, go a considerable way
towards preventing danger, for example where the conductors are within a secure
enclosure or where they are placed overhead at such a height that contact with
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these conductors is not reasonably foreseeable. Guidance on the security and
protection of enclosures and the measure of their accessibility as determined by
standard (finger) tests is given in standards listed in Further reading.
119 However, if the placing of the conductors cannot alone be relied upon to
prevent danger, then additional precautions must be taken and rigorously applied.
For example, in the case of live railway conductor rails the precautions may include
warning notices, barriers and special training for railway staff. Electrolytic and
electrothermal processes are further examples and are covered in paragraphs
121–123.
120 Dutyholders should carefully consider the inherent risks that may still exist if
bare conductors are placed where they cannot normally be touched, eg
maintenance activities around the conductors of an electric overhead crane system.
Firstly, the protection of the equipment is required under regulation 6 for a range of
reasonably foreseeable effects and, secondly, there may be occasions when people
will require access to the area or enclosure where such conductors are located, eg
substations and test areas. Where work is to be done with the conductors live,
regulation 14 is relevant and the guidance under that regulation also applies.
Electrolytic and electrothermal processes
121 It is often necessary for industrial electrolytic and electrothermal processes,
including large secondary battery installations, to adopt a range of precautions. As
the work activity is likely to be near the live and uninsulated conductors, the
precautions adopted will go towards satisfying both part (b) of regulation 7 and
regulation 14.
122 Precautions may include:
(a) segregating the process area and limiting access to those people who are
trained and experienced in the process and to people who are supervised so
that injuries are prevented;
(b) ensuring a separation of conductors appropriate to the difference in potentials;
(c) use of insulating work platforms;
(d) use of electrical supplies which are isolated from earth together with protective
devices to ensure this isolation;
(e) exclusion of unnecessary conducting materials and implements from the
process area;
(f) use of protective clothing, eg in electric arc welding processes; such clothing
offers protection against both the hot welding process and against the electric
shock risk.
123 Details of advice on the safe use of electric induction furnaces and electric arc
welding are given in Further reading.
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Regulation 8 Earthing or other suitable precautions
Regulation8
Precautions shall be taken, either by earthing or by other suitable means, to prevent
danger arising when any conductor (other than a circuit conductor) which may
reasonably foreseeably become charged as a result of either the use of a system,
or a fault in a system, becomes so charged; and, for the purposes of ensuring
compliance with this regulation, a conductor shall be regarded as earthed when it
is connected to the general mass of earth by conductors of sufficient strength and
current-carrying capability to discharge electrical energy to earth.
Guidance 124 The defence (regulation 29) is available in any proceedings for an offence
under this regulation.
8
125 The regulation applies to any conductor (other than circuit conductors),
including the conductive parts of equipment, such as outer metallic casings, which
can be touched and, though not live, may become live under fault conditions.
126 Conductors which, although not part of a system, are within electrostatic or
electromagnetic fields created by a system may be subject to this regulation.
Appropriate precautions are necessary if the induced voltages or currents are large
enough to give rise to danger.
Dangers
127 Dangers which may arise as a result of failure to take the necessary
precautions include:
(a) risk of shock from conductors which are or may be exposed so that they may
be touched and which become charged at dangerous voltage relative to earth
or to other exposed conductors;
(b) risk of burns, fire, arcing or explosion due to currents of excessive magnitude
and/or duration in such conductors.
128 The requirements of the regulation may be met in several different ways,
depending on the circumstances, including:
(a) ensuring that such conductors do not become charged. This has the effect of
excluding the conductors from the scope of this regulation;
(b) ensuring that if such conductors do become charged the values of voltage
and current and the duration are such that danger will not arise;
(c) ensuring that if such conductors do become charged the environment is such
that danger will not arise.
129 Techniques employed for achieving the above include:
(a)
(b)
(c)
(d)
(e)
(f)
(g)
(h)
double insulation;
earthing;
connection to a common voltage reference point on the system;
equipotential bonding;
use of safe voltages;
earth-free, non-conducting environments;
current/energy limitation;
separated or isolated systems.
130 You may employ the above techniques singly or in combination.
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Double insulation
131 The principle of ‘double insulation’ is that the live conductors of the electrical
equipment are covered by two discrete layers or components of insulation, each of
which would adequately insulate the conductor but which together ensure an
improbability of danger arising from insulation failure. This arrangement avoids the
need for any external metalwork of the equipment to be connected to a protective
conductor or to earth. Double insulation has been found to be particularly suitable
for certain types of portable equipment, eg electric motor-driven tools etc. See
Further reading for details of relevant standards. However, the integrity of this safety
protection depends upon the layers of insulation remaining in sound condition and
this in turn requires the equipment to be properly constructed, used and
maintained.
Earthing
132 It is the practice in the UK for the public electricity supply system at the usual
distribution voltages of 230 V single-phase, 400 V three-phase, to be referenced to
earth by a deliberate electrical connection made at the distribution substations or
power transformers. It is the existence of this system earthing which enables earth
faults on electrical equipment to be detected and the electrical supply to faulty
equipment to be cut off automatically.
133 Many 230/400 V power installations are designed so that the automatic
interruption of the supply in the event of an earth fault is achieved by the operation
of fuses or automatic circuit breakers (MCBs etc). In most cases, these devices will
have been selected to provide the additional protective function of interrupting
excess current required under regulation 11. In these circumstances the earth fault
current must be large enough to rupture the fuse quickly. The magnitude of the
fault current under full earth fault conditions is governed mainly by the combined
impedance of the fault loop, which will include the impedance of the fault itself, that
of the earthing or protective conductors, the circuit conductors and that of the
source.
134 Tests must therefore be carried out on new installations and at appropriate
intervals thereafter to ascertain that the earth fault (loop) impedances are low
enough to ensure the electrical protective devices such as fuses, circuit breakers
etc will operate in the event of a breakdown of insulation leading to an ‘earth fault’.
This includes the temporary electrical system used at a construction site in the
process of carrying out construction activities.
135 Acceptable values of earth loop impedance and interruption times etc, for final
installations up to 1000 V, can be found in BS 7671. It is rarely sufficient to rely on
an earth rod or rods to provide sufficient conductance for return fault currents.
Separate protective earth cables or conductors connected to the neutral point of
the supply are usually necessary unless other measures, such as the use of
sensitive residual current protection equipment, are used to detect earth fault
currents.
136 For the duration of the fault, the electrical bonding of exposed conductive
parts and their connection to earth serves to limit the shock risk from the transient
voltages appearing between metallic enclosures of equipment in the system or
between a metallic enclosure and earth. Equipment earthing therefore includes the
bonding of metallic enclosures, cable armouring, conduits and trunking etc, so that
these conductors are electrically continuous and securely connected to the general
mass of earth at one or more points.
137 Earthing and bonding conductors must be suitable for the maximum current
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case fault (see paragraph 82). Their construction and strength must be adequate to
withstand likely wear and tear. Where it might otherwise be difficult to ensure the
continued effectiveness of earthing and bonding arrangements, it may be necessary
to provide supplementary protection such as protective earth conductor monitoring.
138 Accidents have been caused by the metalwork of portable or transportable
equipment becoming live as a result of the combined effects of a fault and highimpedance, protective conductor connections. The danger may be reduced by the
use of a residual current device (RCD) designed to operate rapidly at small leakage
currents (typically not exceeding 30 mA), although these devices do not eliminate
the risk of electric shock. RCDs should not be considered as the sole means of
protection but as an additional protective measure. They should be operated
regularly using the test trip button. This test trip procedure is important in
maintaining the effectiveness of most types of RCD.
139 Electric arc welding brings special problems associated with earthing
practices. Stray currents from electrical arc welding can damage the protective
earthing conductors of electrical installations. Information on earthing practice is
available in a number of publications, some of which are listed in References and
further reading.
Connection to a common voltage reference point on the system
140 In UK public electricity supply systems where transformer neutral points are
connected to earth, the voltage reference point is the general mass of earth. Other
reference points, to which systems may be referenced and to which bonding
conductors are connected, may be chosen to suit particular circumstances.
Equipotential bonding
141 Equipotential bonding is the electrical interconnection of all exposed and
extraneous conductors, which may become electrically charged, in such a way that
dangerous voltages between any of the conductors that may be simultaneously
touched are limited.
Use of reduced voltages
142 Reduced voltage systems are particularly appropriate for portable and
transportable equipment, and in highly conducting locations such as boilers and
tunnels where the risk of mechanical damage to equipment and trailing cables is
high, and/or the body may be damp and have large areas of contact with the
conducting location and on construction sites.
143 One example is a building or construction site supply system operating at
55-0-55 V ac single-phase, or at 110 V three-phase with a phase-earth voltage of
64 V ac. Another example is an extra-low-voltage system operating at or below
50 V ac or 120 V dc. Supply systems like these are referenced to earth and are
therefore a special case of systems operating at reduced voltage for which bonding
and earthing of all metallic enclosures are still recommended.
144 Further advice on reduced voltage systems is in Further reading.
Earth-free, non-conducting environments
145 If a system is supplied from a source which is earth-referenced, the path for
fault current and the existence of dangerous potentials to earth can be eliminated in
a defined area by ensuring that the area is ‘earth-free’. This does not necessarily
mean that metallic components or fittings need to be prohibited but rather that no
part of the defined area is earthed. It is easier to ensure the integrity of an ‘earthfree’ area by constructing it from non-metallic components, in which case it is more
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conducting’ areas are specialised applications and are used mainly in certain
testing of electrical equipment. Advice is available in the publications on electrical
testing listed in References and further reading.
Current limitation
146 If fault currents which could cause electric shock are inherently limited by
appropriate passive devices, eg high-integrity resistors, then protection by earthing
or other means may not be required. In a conventional, dry working environment,
for example, if the current is limited preferably to 1 mA but certainly to no more
than 3 mA, this will not usually present a risk of injury from electric shock to people
in good health who may be subjected to it only occasionally and for a short time.
However, even this low level of current may give perceptible shock which, although
by itself is unlikely to be physiologically dangerous, may give rise to a consequential
injury such as from a fall induced by the shock. See paragraphs 29–30 on ‘injury’
under regulation 2, and especially IEC publication Guide to effects of current on
human beings and livestock.
Separated or isolated systems
147 If safety depends on the supply system not being referenced to its immediate
environment, whether true earth or surrounding metalwork, no potential should
normally exist between live conductors and earth or exposed metallic parts.
However, all systems are to some extent referenced to their environment by
capacitive or inductive coupling or by leakage. That is why you cannot necessarily
rely on the circuit conductors of separated or isolated* systems being at zero
potential relative to their environment. Unless the isolated system is a very small
and localised one, the leakage current may be large enough to provide a path for a
fatal electric shock. Any difference in potential is likely to be greatest on extensive
systems but, in all cases when the voltages or currents could be dangerous,
precautions are needed. Examples of isolated systems are those supplied from the
secondary winding of an isolating transformer or the winding of an alternator where
there is no connection between them and any other source of electrical energy.
148 The isolation of a power system from earth may reduce the risks associated
with a single fault. However, if this first fault has the effect of referencing the system
to earth or other exposed conductor, subsequent faults may lead to very
destructive and hazardous short circuits so extra precautions will be necessary to
prevent this danger. These may include the bonding of metallic enclosures, earth
fault detection, insulation monitoring or the use of an earth-free non-conducting
environment. Regular inspection and testing to ensure that system isolation integrity
is maintained will also be necessary.
* ‘Isolated’ in this context means separate from all other systems and does not imply ‘isolation’ as
defined specifically for the purpose of regulation 12.
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Regulation 9 Integrity of referenced conductors
Regulation9
If a circuit conductor is connected to earth or to any other reference point,
nothing which might reasonably be expected to give rise to danger by breaking
the electrical continuity or introducing high impedance shall be placed in that
conductor unless suitable precautions are taken to prevent that danger.
Guidance 149 The defence (regulation 29) is available in any proceedings for an offence
under this regulation.
9
150 In many circumstances the reference point is earthed because the majority of
power distribution installations are so referenced by a deliberate connection to
earth at the generators or distribution transformers.
151 The object of the regulation is to prevent referenced circuit conductors which
should be at or about the same potential as the reference point from reaching
significantly different potentials, thereby giving rise to possible danger.
152 The most common situation in which this regulation is relevant is in systems
having a neutral point which is earthed. Such systems can be subdivided:
(a) systems or parts of systems in which the neutral and protective conductor are
combined (eg TN-C and the combined parts of TN-C-S systems);*
(b) systems or parts of systems in which the neutral and protective conductors
are separate (eg TN-S and the separate parts of TN-C-S systems).
Devices placed in the conductor
153 The regulation does not prohibit all electrical devices from being placed in
referenced conductors. For example, a proper joint or a bolted link or a bar primary
current transformer can be arranged to ensure the integrity of the conductor.
154 The regulation would also permit the inclusion of other devices such as a
removable link, or even a manually-operated knife switch, provided that suitable
precautions are adopted to ensure that these devices are not removed or operated
in such a way as to give rise to danger. However, a number of other devices, such
as fuses, thyristors, transistors etc, generally have the potential to give rise to
danger by becoming open circuit or introducing high impedance into the
conductor. The regulation prohibits such applications.
Combined neutral and protective conductors
155 Open circuit of, or high impedance in, combined neutral and protective
conductors will almost certainly result in the exposed and extraneous conductors
connected to the protective conductors, eg metal enclosures of switchgear, being
at a significant potential (up to phase-neutral volts) relative to earth. This could lead
to a risk of electric shock or burn, so the integrity of the combined neutral and
earth conductor is very important.
156 However, where the protective conductor is combined with the neutral
conductor over some part of their length, you should take precautions to prevent
people coming into simultaneous contact with the protective conductors and earth
(or conductors at earth potential). Equipotential bonding of all metalwork within a
building and the connection of this to the protective conductor or neutral is a
* This terminology is explained in BS 7671.
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commonly used approach. Generally, however, combined neutral earth (CNE)
systems should be confined to the public electricity supply network up to the point
of supply to consumers.
Separate neutral and protective conductors
157 In deciding whether danger may result where there are separate neutral and
protective conductors, consider not only the normal operation of the system but
also the situations that may arise when work is being carried out on or near the
system. If voltage rises on the neutral conductor could result in danger during the
work then observe the above restrictions on devices in the neutral. For example, a
fuse should not be placed in a neutral of a fixed power distribution installation
(typically 230 V) as this places people working on the installation at risk of electric
shock and burn if that fuse operates or otherwise becomes open circuit. Double
pole fusing (fuses in both the phase and neutral) is acceptable, if these are fitted
within self-contained electrical equipment which itself is not part of the fixed
electrical installation, and is connected to the fixed installation by a plug and
socket. This arrangement allows the equipment to be readily isolated from the
system before work is done on that equipment.
158 In general, if a neutral conductor is to be switched, a multipole switch or
circuit breaker should be used which also switches all of the related phase
conductors, the neutral breaking last and making first. Such switching should not
interrupt the protective conductor.
Regulation 10 Connections
Regulation10
Where necessary to prevent danger, every joint and connection in a system shall
be mechanically and electrically suitable for use.
Guidance 159 The defence (regulation 29) is available in any proceedings for an offence
under this regulation.
10
Suitability of connections
160 The regulation requires that all connections in circuit and protective
conductors, including connections to terminals, plugs and sockets, and any other
means of joining or connecting conductors, should be suitable for the purposes for
which they are used. This requirement applies equally to temporary and permanent
connections. The insulation and conductance of the connections must be suitable,
having regard to the conditions of use including likely fault conditions.
161 The mechanical protection and strength must be such as to ensure the
integrity of the insulation and conductance under all conditions of use including
likely fault conditions, subject to the need for any maintenance which may be
required by regulation 4(2).
162 Joints and connections in protective conductors must be made at least as
carefully as those in circuit conductors and they should be of sufficient strength and
conductance to allow for the passage of fault currents. Such connections may
need to be treated so they prevent corrosion. It is recommended that combinations
of metals liable to produce damaging electrolytic action be avoided.
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Plugs and sockets
163 Plug and socket connections and their use must be arranged so that
accidental contact with conductors live at dangerous voltages is prevented. This
should be achieved by selection of appropriate equipment but may involve some
degree of operator skill and/or training, depending on the circumstances.
164 In most applications, where a plug and socket type connector conveys a
protective conductor as well as the circuit conductors, the protective conductor
should be the first to be made and the last to be separated. The use of equipment
made to appropriate standards should ensure this principle is adhered to.
165 Where plug and socket connections are not rated for making or breaking the
maximum load current, effective arrangements should be made, eg by mechanical
interlocking with the switch that controls the power, to ensure that the connections
are made or broken only under no-load conditions.
Portable equipment
166 Special attention should be given to joints and connections in cables and
equipment which will be handled, eg flexible cables for portable equipment. Plugs
and sockets for portable equipment must be constructed in accordance with
appropriate standards and arranged so that, where necessary, earthing of any
metal casing of the equipment is automatically effected by the insertion of the plug.
HSE guidance (see Maintaining portable electric equipment in low-risk
environments10) and British Standards give further guidance on portable equipment.
Regulation 11 Means for protecting from excess of
current
Regulation11
Efficient means, suitably located, shall be provided for protecting from excess of
current every part of a system as may be necessary to prevent danger.
Guidance 167 The defence (regulation 29) is available in any proceedings for an offence
under this regulation (see paragraphs 177–179).
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168 It is recognised that faults and overloads may occur on electrical systems. The
regulation requires that systems and parts of systems be protected against the
effects of short circuits and overloads if these would result in currents which would
otherwise result in danger.
169 The means of protection is likely to be in the form of fuses or circuit breakers
controlled by relays etc, or it may be provided by some other means capable of
interrupting the current or reducing it to a safe value.
The need to anticipate abnormal conditions
170 The regulation requires the means of preventing danger to be provided in
anticipation of excess current; a fault or overload need not have occurred. Fault
currents arise as a result of short circuits between conductors caused either by
inherent failure of the electrical equipment or some outside influence, eg mechanical
damage to a cable. Overload currents can arise as a result of the inadequacy of a
system to supply the load and may be caused by an increased demand created by
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outside influence on the electrical equipment, eg mechanical overloading of an
electric motor.
The selection of excess current protection
171 In principle, every main circuit should be protected at its origin, ie at the
source end of the circuit. Where the rating of the conductors forming a branch
circuit is less than that of the conductors from which it is drawing power, it is
conventional for protection to be placed at this point. In practice, however, there
are exceptions to this principle and, depending on the nature of the system, a
technical judgement must be made as to where the protection should be placed.
Guidance on some aspects of this subject is given in BS 7671.
172 When selecting the means of protection, you must consider a number of
factors – the more important of these include:
(a)
(b)
(c)
(d)
the nature of the circuits and type of equipment to be protected;
the short-circuit energy available in the supply (the fault level);
the nature of the environment;
whether the system is earthed or not.
The nature of the circuits and type of equipment to be protected
173 The circuits to be dealt with may vary from high-power, high-voltage circuits,
eg for the inter-connection of substations or for the supply to large motors, down to
the smallest final circuit supplying a few low-power lamps at, say, 6 V. Over this
range lies a great diversity of equipment, each item of which will possess
characteristics which must be carefully considered in the selection of appropriate
devices to protect against excess current.
Fault level
174 The maximum short-circuit current in the protected circuit must be
considered. (The ability of circuit breakers and fuses to operate successfully and
without dangerous effects, serious arcing or, in the case of oil-filled equipment, the
liberation of oil, is implicit in the requirements of regulations 4 and 5.) The design of
the protective arrangement must also provide for sufficient current to be available to
operate the protective devices correctly in respect of all likely faults.
The nature of the environment
175 The nature of the environment may have a bearing on the choice of protective
devices and their settings, eg where the possibility of a fire being started may be
considerable. However, in all cases, the protection against excess current must be
effective so that short circuits and earth faults are cleared promptly to minimise
destructive arcing and heating. Protective devices, whether they are circuit breakers
or fuses, should therefore be set or selected for the minimum tripping currents and
times consistent with ensuring the reliable operation of the device and with the
need to discriminate between successive stages of protection.
Earthed system
176 Where a system is earthed, the nature and efficiency of the earthing system is
important in relation to the design and reliability of the protective devices. In earthed
systems, operation in the event of an earth fault of the protective device is
dependent on sufficient current passing to operate the excess current or earth
leakage tripping device or to blow the fuse. In many systems, the device provided
to comply with the requirements of this regulation in respect of excess of current
(very often a fuse) may also provide protection against earth faults – and thus be in
compliance with the requirements of regulation 8.
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Defence in criminal proceedings
177 The defence (regulation 29) is available in any proceedings for an offence
under this regulation.
178 In some circumstances it will be technically impossible to achieve total
compliance with the absolute requirement to prevent danger. If an excess of current
is drawn due to a fault or overload, eg due to an arcing fault, then whatever form of
electrical protection is provided, there will be some danger at the point of the fault
during the finite time taken for the detection and interruption of the fault current.
Nevertheless, electrical protection – whether by means of a simple fuse or another
method – must be properly chosen and installed in accordance with good electrical
engineering practice. The protection must be efficient and effective.
179 In some circumstances it is undesirable to interrupt the current in a circuit
because this may itself lead to a hazard. Examples include the excitation field
current of direct current motors, trip coil circuits, lifting electromagnets and the
secondary circuits of current transformers. In such cases, however, the circuit
should be rated or arranged so as not to give rise to danger from excess of current.
Regulation 12 Means for cutting off the supply and
for isolation
Regulation12
(1) Subject to paragraph (3), where necessary to prevent danger, suitable
means (including, where appropriate, methods of identifying circuits) shall be
available for –
(a) cutting off the supply of electrical energy to any electrical equipment;
and
(b) the isolation of any electrical equipment.
(2) In paragraph (1), “isolation” means the disconnection and separation of
the electrical equipment from every source of electrical energy in such a way that
this disconnection and separation is secure.
(3) Paragraph (1) shall not apply to electrical equipment which is itself a
source of electrical energy but, in such a case as is necessary, precautions shall be
taken to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, danger.
Guidance 12
180 The defence (regulation 29) is available in any proceedings for an offence
under this regulation.
Regulation 12(1)(a)
181 The objective of this part of the regulation is to ensure that, where necessary
to prevent danger, suitable means are available to switch off the electricity supply to
any piece of equipment. Switching can be, for example, by direct manual operation
or by indirect operation via ‘stop’ buttons in the control circuits of contactors or
circuit breakers. There may be a need to switch off electrical equipment for reasons
other than preventing electrical danger but these considerations are outside the
scope of the Regulations.
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Regulation 12(1)(b)
182 Whereas regulation 12(1)(a) requires means to be provided whereby the
supply of electrical energy can be switched off, 12(1)(b) requires that there will be
available suitable means of ensuring that the supply will remain switched off and
inadvertent reconnection prevented. This is isolation. This provision, in conjunction
with safe working practices, will enable work to be carried out on electrical
equipment without risk of it becoming live during the course of that work, eg if the
work is to be done under the terms of regulation 13.
183 In some cases, the equipment used to perform the requirement under
regulation 12(1)(a) may also serve to perform the requirement under 12(1)(b). The
two functions of switching off and isolation are not the same, even though in
some circumstances they are performed by the same action or by the same
equipment.
Regulation 12(3)
184 Regulation 12(3) recognises the impracticability in some cases of switching off
or isolating that equipment which is itself an integral part of a source of electrical
energy, eg the terminals of batteries, battery cells, photovoltaic systems, large
capacitors and the windings of generators. The regulation requires precautions to
be taken in these circumstances so that danger is prevented so far as is reasonably
practicable. See References and further reading for details of guidance on working
practices.
‘Where necessary to prevent danger’
185 The need for means to cut off the supply and effect isolation depends on
factors such as likely danger in normal and abnormal conditions. This assessment
may be influenced by environmental conditions and provisions to be made in case
of emergencies, such as a fire in premises. It includes consideration of which
electrical equipment could be a source of danger if such means were not provided
and of the installation, commissioning, operational and maintenance requirements
over the life of the equipment.
Suitable means for cutting off the supply
186 The suitable means for cutting off the supply (regulation 12(1)(a)) should:
(a) be capable of cutting off the supply under all likely conditions having regard to
the equipment, its normal operation conditions, any abnormal operating or
fault conditions, and the characteristics of the source(s) of electrical energy;
(b) be in a suitable location regarding the nature of the risks, the availability of
people to operate the means and the speed at which operation may be
necessary. Access to switches etc should be kept clear and unobstructed,
free of tripping and slipping hazards etc;
(c) be clearly marked to show its relationship to the equipment which it controls,
unless there could be no doubt that this would be obvious to any person who
may need to operate it;
(d) only be common to several items of electrical equipment where it is
appropriate for these to be energised and de-energised as a group.
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Suitable means of isolation
187 The suitable means of isolation of equipment (regulation 12(1)(b)) should:
(a) have the capability to positively establish an air gap or other effective dielectric
which, together with adequate creepage and clearance distances, will ensure
that there is no likely way in which the isolation gap can fail electrically;
(b) include, where necessary, means directed at preventing unauthorised
interference with or improper operation of the equipment, eg means of locking
off;
(c) be located so the accessibility and ease with which it may be employed is
appropriate for the application. The time and effort that must be expended to
effect isolation should be reasonable, depending on the nature of the
equipment and the circumstances under which isolation may be required. For
example, a very remote means of isolation may be acceptable if isolation is
only needed infrequently and any additional time taken to effect isolation does
not result in danger;
(d) be clearly marked to show which equipment it relates to, unless there could
be no doubt that this would be obvious to any person who may need to
operate it;
(e) only be common to several items of electrical equipment where it is
appropriate for these to be isolated as a group.
Selection of isolator switches
188 Isolator switches (or disconnectors) will often be used as the means of
disconnection and securing separation from the supply. When selecting appropriate
equipment, consider:
(a) the isolating distances between contacts or other means of isolation which
should meet an appropriate standard or be otherwise equally effective;
(b) the position of the contacts or other means of isolation, which should either be
externally visible or clearly and reliably indicated. An indication of the isolated
position, other than by direct observation of the isolating gap, should occur
when the specified isolating distance has been achieved in each pole;
(c) provision to enable the prevention of unauthorised, improper or unintentional
energisation, eg locking-off facilities.
189 For further information on the selection of isolators/disconnectors, refer to
appropriate standards (see Further reading).
Regulation 13 Precautions for work on equipment
made dead
Regulation13
Adequate precautions shall be taken to prevent electrical equipment, which has
been made dead in order to prevent danger while work is carried out on or near
that equipment, from becoming electrically charged during that work if danger may
thereby arise.
Guidance 190 The defence (regulation 29) is available in any proceedings for an offence
under this regulation.
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191 The regulation may apply during any work, be it electrical or non-electrical.
The regulation requires adequate precautions to be taken to prevent the electrical
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equipment that has been made dead from becoming electrically charged, from
whatever source, if this charging would give rise to danger. ‘Charged’ is discussed
under regulation 2.
192 The regulation uses the term ‘electrical equipment’, which is defined by
regulation 2 and explained in paragraphs 20–21.
The precautions
193 The precautions must be effective in preventing the electrical equipment from
becoming charged in any way which would give rise to danger.
194 In the first place, the procedures for making the equipment dead will probably
involve use of the means required by regulation 12(1)(a) for cutting off the supply of
electrical energy. Isolation of the electrical equipment will be necessary and the
means required by regulation 12(1)(b) will facilitate this. Ideally, a means of locking
off an isolator can be used. Where such facilities are not available, the removal of
fuses or links and their being held in safe keeping can provide a secure
arrangement if proper control procedures are used.
195 These precautions will prevent the equipment from becoming charged by
connection to its own or normal sources of electrical energy but may not, alone, be
sufficient to prevent charging. The presence of electrical energy as a result of
electromagnetic induction, mutual capacitance or stored electrical energy may have
to be guarded against, eg by applying earthing connections for the duration of the
work (temporary earths). The precautions may need to include means of preventing
further accumulation of electrical charge, following initial discharge, because latent
energy may be stored in the system, eg in the dielectric of high-voltage cables or
capacitors within equipment. For work on high-voltage power distribution circuits,
isolation procedures should include the application of circuit main earths (primary
earths) at points of isolation and additional earthing around the point of work.
196 Where work is to be done on or near conductors that have been isolated, the
conductors must be proved dead at the point of work before the task starts. Where
a test instrument or voltage indicator is used for this purpose, this should itself be
proved, preferably immediately before and immediately after testing the conductor
(see also regulation 4(3)).
197 The regulation does not prevent the application of a test voltage to equipment,
provided that this does not give rise to danger.
Written procedures
198 The safety isolation procedures should be formalised in written instructions or
house rules. Safety documentation, including ‘permits-to-work’, may form part of
the written procedures and their use is considered essential to ensuring a safe
system of work where this involves work on the conductors or equipment of highvoltage power distribution systems (typically where the working voltage exceeds
1000 V) or where the system is very complex. Properly formulated and regulated
‘permit-to-work’ procedures focus the minds of those issuing and of those
receiving the permits, both on the manner in which the work is to be done and on
how the equipment has been made safe. Further advice on these procedures and
precautions is in the guidance listed in References and further reading.
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Decommissioned equipment
199 Before electrical equipment is decommissioned, dismantled or abandoned for
any reason, it must be disconnected from all sources of supply and effective steps
taken to ensure that it is dead and cannot inadvertently become re-energised or
dangerously charged. It may be necessary to securely mark or otherwise suitably
label equipment, circuits, switches etc to guard against inadvertent re-energisation.
(See also the requirement for identifying circuits under regulation 12(1).)
Regulation 14 Work on or near live conductors
Regulation14
No person shall be engaged in any work activity on or so near any live conductor
(other than one suitably covered with insulating material so as to prevent danger)
that danger may arise unless –
(a) it is unreasonable in all the circumstances for it to be dead; and
(b) it is reasonable in all the circumstances for him to be at work on or near
it while it is live; and
(c) suitable precautions (including where necessary the provision of suitable
protective equipment) are taken to prevent injury.
Guidance 14
200 The defence (regulation 29) is available in any proceedings for an offence
under this regulation.
201 Regulation 14 addresses the situation where, either permanently or
temporarily, danger from conductors is not prevented by the precautions specified
in regulation 7(a).
202 The regulation is concerned only with those situations where people are at
work on or near live electrical conductors which may foreseeably give rise to
danger. Such work is permitted only if conditions (a), (b) and (c) are satisfied. ‘Work’
is not confined to electrical work but includes any work activity, eg electrical testing.
The need for the conductor to be live
203 If danger may otherwise arise it is always preferable that work on or near
electrical equipment should be carried out when that equipment is dead (see
regulation 13 and guidance). Regulation 14 recognises that there are
circumstances, however, in which it is unreasonable, having regard to all relevant
factors, for the equipment to be dead while work proceeds. An example of this
might be undertaking maintenance, checks or repairs on a busy section of electric
railway track where it would be disproportionately disruptive and costly for the live
conductors to be isolated for the period of the work. Other examples are in the
electrical supply industry, particularly live cable jointing, and in much of the work
done on telephone network connections.
204 When ordering, purchasing and installing plant, consider the manner of
operation, maintenance and repair of the electrical equipment which will be
necessary during its life.
205 The design of electrical equipment and of the installation should eliminate the
need for live work which puts people at risk of injury. This can often be done by
careful thought at the design stage of installations, for example by the provision of
alternative power infeeds; properly laid out distribution systems to allow parts to be
isolated for work to proceed; and by designing equipment housings etc which
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result in segregation of parts to be worked on and protect people from other parts
which may be live.
206 Equipment which combines power and control circuitry should be arranged so
that the power circuits are physically separate and segregated from logic and
control circuits, or so placed, recessed or otherwise arranged that the risk of
accidental contact is eliminated. Diagnostic work on the low-power/voltage circuits
may then proceed with less risk to personnel. Where regular measurements of, say,
voltage, current etc are to be made, consider appropriate test and measuring
equipment, eg voltmeters, ammeters etc, or test points being built into the
equipment.
207 Live work includes live testing, for example the use of a potential indicator on
mains power and control logic circuits (but see paragraph 218).
208 The factors which should be considered in deciding whether it was justifiable
for work to proceed with the conductors live should include the following:
(a) It is not practicable to carry out the work with the conductors dead, eg where
for the purposes of testing it is necessary for the conductors to be live.
(b) To make the conductors dead will create other hazards, such as to other
users of the system, or for continuously operating process plants etc.
(c) The need to comply with other statutory requirements.
(d) The level of risk involved in working live and the effectiveness of the
precautions available set against the economic need to perform that work.
The need to be near uninsulated live conductors
209 People at work are permitted to be near live conductors only if this is
reasonable in all the circumstances. If, for example, it would be reasonable for the
work to be carried out at a safe distance from the conductors then it would be
prohibited for that work to be done near the conductors.
210 People whose presence near the live conductors is not necessary should not
be so near the conductors that they are at risk of injury. However, there may be
occasions when people who do not normally need to be in the vicinity of live
conductors are required to be present, eg those assisting or recovering a casualty
after an incident. Appropriate measures must be put in place to protect them.
The need to take precautions to prevent injury
211 The precautions necessary to comply with regulation 14(c) should be
commensurate with the risk.
212 The system of work must:
(a) allow only people who are competent to do so to work on or near exposed,
live conductors (competence for these and other purposes is further dealt with
at regulation 16); and
(b) indicate within what limits the work is to be attempted; and
(c) indicate what levels of competence apply to each category of such work; and
(d) incorporate procedures under which the person attempting the work will
report back if the limits specified in the system are likely to be exceeded.
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213 This usually requires detailed planning before the work is started.
214 Suitable precautions should include, as appropriate:
(a) the use of people who are properly trained and competent to work on live
equipment safely (see also regulation 16);
(b) the provision of adequate information to the person carrying out the work
about the live conductors involved, the associated electrical system and the
foreseeable risks (NB: when excavation work is ongoing the insulation of a
cable is not an effective measure against damage to the cable or penetration
of it by a mechanical tool);
(c) the use of suitable tools, including insulated tools, equipment and protective
clothing (see also regulation 4(4));
(d) the use of suitable insulated barriers or screens (see also regulation 4(4));
(e) the use of suitable instruments and test probes;
(f) accompaniment by another person or people if the presence of such person
or people could contribute significantly to ensuring that injury is prevented;
(g) the restriction of routine live test work (eg product testing) to specific areas
and the use of special precautions within those areas, such as isolated power
supplies, non-conducting locations etc;
(h) effective control of any area where there is danger from live conductors.
Accompaniment
215 A dutyholder’s judgement as to whether someone carrying out work subject
to regulation 14 should be accompanied, should be based on considerations of
how injury is to be prevented. If an accompanying person can substantially
contribute towards the implementation of safe working practice, then they should
be present. They should be trained to recognise danger and, if necessary, to render
assistance in the event of an emergency.
216 Some examples of electrical work where it is likely that the person carrying out
the work should be accompanied are:
(a) electrical work involving manipulation of live, uninsulated power conductors at,
say, 230 V using insulated tools;
(b) other work on or near bare live conductors where someone working on their
own would not be capable of undertaking the work safely without assistance
in, for example, keeping other people from the work area.
Control of the area
217 Where there is danger from live conductors ensure that those who are not
competent to prevent the occurrence of injury, and those whose presence is
unnecessary, are not permitted into the area. If the person undertaking the work is
continuously present while danger exists from the live conductors, and the area is
small enough to be under their constant supervision and control, then further
precautions to control access may not be necessary. If, however, the area is too
large or they are not continuously present, then effective control should be secured
by other means, such as the provision of lockable enclosures or barriers and
warning notices indicating the presence of live conductors. (The above examples
are given without prejudice to the requirements of regulation 14, the criteria of
which must be followed in each case before live work is undertaken.)
Testing
218 Regulation 14 will often apply to electrical testing. Testing to establish whether
electrical conductors are live or dead should always be done on the assumption
that they may be live and, therefore, it should be assumed that this regulation is
applicable until such time as the conductors have been proved dead.
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219 When testing for confirmation of a ‘dead’ circuit, the test instrument or voltage
indicator used for this purpose must itself be proved, preferably immediately before
and immediately after testing the conductors.
220 Although live testing may be justifiable it does not follow that there will
necessarily be justification for subsequent repair work to be carried out live.
Suitable protective equipment
221 Protective equipment suitable for the work activity should only be used as a
last resort, ie when all other ways to eliminate or reduce risks have been
considered.
222 Examples of equipment that can protect someone from the effects of
electricity are:
(a) suitable clothing, including insulating helmets, goggles and gloves;
(b) insulating materials used as fixed or temporary screening to prevent:
(i) electric shock;
(ii) short circuit between live conductors;
(iii) short circuit between live conductors and earth;
(c) insulating mats and stands to prevent electric shock current via the feet;
(d) insulated tools;
(e) insulated test probes.
223 There must be procedures for the periodic examination and, where necessary,
testing and replacement of this protective equipment. See also the requirements of
regulation 4(4), and References and further reading for details of guidance on
working procedures, standards etc.
Emergency resuscitation and first aid
224 You should consider placing notices or placards giving details of emergency
resuscitation procedures in the event of electric shock at those locations where
people may be at greater risk of electric shock. Such places might include electrical
test areas, substations and laboratories but, for resuscitation techniques to be
effective, those required to exercise them must receive proper training and regular
practice. The Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 198111 make various
requirements for the provision of suitably trained first-aiders at places of work.
Work near underground cables
225 Serious injuries have occurred during excavation and other work near
underground power cables. This work comes within the scope of regulation 14 if
there is a risk of injury from these cables.
226 Underground power cables present a risk of serious or fatal injury during
excavation or similar work, particularly to people using hand tools (eg picks,
concrete breakers etc). Precautions should include:
(a) mapping, recording and marking on site of cable runs;
(b) use of cable-locating devices;
(c) safe digging practices.
227 Well-established advice on working near underground cables is given in
Avoiding danger from underground services.12
Work near overhead power lines
228 Every year workers are killed or injured while working near to overhead power
lines. They may be readily accessible to people working on elevated platforms,
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14
scaffolding or roofs. People working with tall vehicles such as cranes, tipper lorries
or farm machinery, or handling metal ladders, pipes or other long articles may also
be at risk from a flashover or contact with overhead power lines.
229 Well-established advice on work near overhead power lines is given in HSE
guidance notes Avoiding danger from overhead power lines13 and Working safely
near overhead electricity power lines.14
Regulation 15 Working space, access and lighting
Regulation15
For the purposes of enabling injury to be prevented, adequate working space,
adequate means of access, and adequate lighting shall be provided at all electrical
equipment on which or near which work is being done in circumstances which
may give rise to danger.
Guidance 230 The defence (regulation 29) is available in any proceedings for an offence
under this regulation.
15
231 The purpose of the regulation is to ensure that sufficient space, access and
adequate illumination are provided while people are working on, at or near electrical
equipment so that they may work safely. The requirement is not restricted to those
circumstances where live conductors are exposed, but applies where any work is
being done in circumstances which may give rise to danger. The regulation does
not require such space, access or illumination to be provided at times other than
when work is being done. (But see guidance under regulation 12(1)(a) (paragraph
186(b)) in respect of safe access to means of cutting off the supply.)
Working space
232 Where there are dangerous exposed live conductors within reach, the working
space dimensions should be adequate:
(a) to allow people to pull back away from the conductors without hazard;
(b) to allow people to pass one another with ease and without hazard.
233 Among the legal provisions revoked when these Regulations came into force
were the Electricity (Factories Act) Special Regulations 1908 and 1944. Regulation
17 of those Regulations specified minimum width and height dimensions of
switchboard passageways where there were bare conductors exposed or arranged
to be exposed when live so that they may be touched. That regulation and the
relevant definitions used are reproduced in Appendix 1. The dimensions specified
were arrived at after much consideration of the circumstances in a Public Inquiry
when those Regulations were being drafted. However, those dimensions can still
provide guidance for an appropriate level of safety in many circumstances and
where the voltages do not significantly exceed 3000 V. This does not condone the
use of equipment having normally bare and exposed conductors if a safe alternative
can reasonably be adopted.
Lighting
234 Natural light is preferable to artificial light, but where artificial light is necessary
it is preferable that this be from a permanent and properly designed installation – in
indoor switchrooms etc. However, there will always be exceptions and special
circumstances where these principles cannot be achieved, eg where handlamps or
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torches may be the sole or most important means of lighting. Whatever level of
lighting is used, it must be adequate to enable injury to be prevented. HSE
guidance Lighting at work15 refers.
Regulation 16 Persons to be competent to prevent
danger and injury
Regulation16
No person shall be engaged in any work activity where technical knowledge or
experience is necessary to prevent danger or, where appropriate, injury, unless he
possesses such knowledge or experience, or is under such degree of supervision
as may be appropriate having regard to the nature of the work.
Guidance 235 The defence (regulation 29) is available in any proceedings for an offence
under this regulation.
16
236 The object of the regulation is to ensure that people are not placed at risk due
to their own lack of competence in dealing with electrical equipment, or that of
others.
‘... prevent danger or, where appropriate, injury ...’
237 This regulation uses both terms: ‘injury’ and ‘danger’. The regulation therefore
applies to all work associated with electrical equipment where danger may arise
and whether or not danger (or the risk of injury) is actually present during the work.
It will include situations where the elimination of the risk of injury, ie the prevention
of danger, for the duration of the work is under the control of someone who must
therefore possess sufficient technical knowledge or experience – or be so
supervised etc – to be capable of ensuring that danger is prevented. For example,
where a person is to isolate some electrical equipment before undertaking work on
the equipment, they will require sufficient technical knowledge or experience to
prevent danger during the isolation. There will be no danger from the equipment
during the work, provided that the isolation has been carried out properly: danger
will have been prevented. However, the person doing the work must have sufficient
technical knowledge or experience so as to prevent danger during that work, eg by
knowing not to work on adjacent ‘live’ circuits.
238 The regulation also covers those circumstances where danger is present, ie
where there is a risk of injury, as for example where work is being done on live or
charged equipment using special techniques and under the terms of regulation 14.
In these circumstances, people must possess sufficient technical knowledge or
experience – or be so supervised etc – to be capable of ensuring that injury is
prevented.
Technical knowledge or experience
239 The scope of ‘technical knowledge or experience’ should include:
(a) adequate knowledge of electricity;
(b) adequate experience of the electrical work being carried out;
(c) adequate understanding of the system to be worked on and practical
experience of that class of system;
(d) understanding of the hazards which may arise during the work and the
precautions which need to be taken;
(e) the ability to recognise at all times whether it is safe for work to continue.
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Allocation of responsibilities
240 Employees must be trained and instructed to ensure that they understand the
safety procedures which are relevant to their work and must work in accordance
with any instructions or rules laid down by their employer and directed at ensuring
safety.
Supervision
241 The regulation recognises that, in many circumstances, people will require
some degree of supervision where they do not have sufficient technical knowledge
or experience to ensure that they can undertake the work safely. Dutyholders, when
allocating to supervisors responsibilities for supervision, should clearly state to the
supervisor exactly what their responsibilities are and consider stating these
responsibilities in writing. Where the risks involved are low, verbal instructions are
likely to be adequate but as the risk or complexity increase there comes a point
where the need for written procedures becomes important if instructions are to be
understood and supervised more rigorously. In this context, supervision does not
necessarily require continual attendance at the work site, but the degree of
supervision and the manner in which it is exercised is for the dutyholders to arrange
to ensure that danger, or as the case may be, injury, is prevented.
242 You should also refer to appropriate guidance, such as that in national,
international, reputable foreign and harmonised or industry standards and codes of
practice, or to HSE guidance, or seek expert advice.
Regulations 17–28
243 Regulations 17 to 28 and Schedule 1 inclusive were revoked by the Mines
Regulations 2014.
Regulation 29 Defence
Regulation29
In any proceedings for an offence consisting of a contravention of [regulations 4(4),
5, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 or 16,]* it shall be a defence for any person to prove
that he took all reasonable steps and exercised all due diligence to avoid the
commission of that offence.
* Amended by the Mines Regulations 2014, SI 2014/3248.
Guidance 29
244 Regulation 29 applies only in criminal proceedings. It provides a defence for a
dutyholder who can establish that they took all reasonable steps and exercised all
due diligence to avoid committing an offence under regulations 4(4), 5, 8, 9, 10, 11,
12, 13, 14, 15 or 16.
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Regulation 30 Exemption certificates
Regulation30
(1) Subject to paragraph (2), the Health and Safety Executive may, by a
certificate in writing, exempt –
(a)
(b)
(c)
(d)
(e)
(f)
any
any
any
any
any
any
person;
premises;
electrical equipment;
electrical system;
electrical process;
activity,
or any class of the above, from any requirement or prohibition imposed by these
Regulations and any such exemption may be granted subject to conditions and to
a limit of time and may be revoked by a certificate in writing at any time.
(2) The Executive shall not grant any such exemption unless, having regard
to the circumstances of the case, and in particular to –
(a) the conditions, if any, which it proposes to attach to the exemption; and
(b) any other requirements imposed by or under any enactment which apply
to the case,
it is satisfied that the health and safety of persons who are likely to be affected by
the exemption will not be prejudiced in consequence of it.
Guidance 30
245 HSE is given power to issue general or special exemptions and to impose
conditions and time limits on them. It is a standard power given to allow the
variation of legal duties where, in circumstances unforeseen by those drafting the
legislation, they are in practice unnecessary or inappropriate. Exemptions would be
granted only in very exceptional circumstances.
Regulation 31 Extension outside Great Britain
Regulation31
These Regulations shall apply –
(a) in Great Britain; and
(b) outside Great Britain as sections 1 to 59 and 80 to 82 of the Health and
Safety at Work etc Act 1974 apply by virtue of the provisions of the
Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (Application outside Great
Britain) Order 1995.
Guidance 31
246 Regulation 31 was modified by the Offshore Electricity and Noise Regulations
1997. Although the regulation refers to the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974
(Application outside Great Britain) Order 1995, this order has been revoked. The
regulation should be read as referring to the Health and Safety at Work etc Act
1974 (Application outside Great Britain) Order 2013 (SI 2013/240).16
247 The Electricity at Work Regulations apply to all work activities on offshore
installations, wells, pipelines and pipelines works and to certain connected activities
within the territorial waters of Great Britain, or in the designated areas of the UK
Continental Shelf. They also apply to certain other activities within territorial waters,
including the construction and operation of wind farms.
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Regulation 32 Disapplication of duties
Regulation32
The duties imposed by these Regulations shall not extend to –
(a) the master or crew of a sea-going ship or to the employer of such
persons, in relation to the normal ship-board activities of a ship’s crew
under the direction of the master; or
(b) any person, in relation to any aircraft or hovercraft which is moving under
its own power.
Guidance 32
Sea-going ships
248 Sea-going ships are subject to other electrical safety legislation which gives
protection to people on board. Regulation 32 disapplies the Electricity at Work
Regulations from these ships as far as the normal ship-board activities of a ship’s
crew under the direction of the master is concerned. It does not disapply them in
respect of other work activities however, eg where a shore-based electrical
contractor goes on board to carry out electrical work on the ship. That person’s
activities will be subject to the Regulations within the general applicability of the
Regulations. The Regulations will apply outside Great Britain only as provided for
under regulation 31.
Aircraft and hovercraft
249 The Regulations may apply only while an aircraft or hovercraft is not moving
under its own power.
Vehicles
250 The Regulations may apply to electrical equipment on vehicles if this
equipment may give rise to danger.
Regulation 33 Revocations and modifications
Regulation33
(1) The instruments specified in column 1 of Part I of Schedule 2 are
revoked to the extent specified in the corresponding entry in column 3 of that Part.
(2) The enactments and instruments specified in Part II of Schedule 2 shall
be modified to the extent specified in that Part.
(3) In the Mines and Quarries Act 1954, the Mines and Quarries (Tips) Act
1969 and the Mines Management Act 1971, and in regulations made under any of
those Acts, or in health and safety regulations, any reference to any of those Acts
shall be treated as including a reference to these Regulations.
Guidance 33
251 The Regulations replace or modify a number of statutory provisions in
accordance with the intention of the HSW Act section 1(2).
252 Systems and equipment which were subject to provisions which have been
revoked are now subject to these Regulations.
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Appendix 1
Working space and access: Historical comment on revoked
legislation (see regulation 15)
Among the legal provisions revoked upon the coming into force of the Electricity at
Work Regulations 1989 were the Electricity (Factories Act) Special Regulations
1908 and 1944. Regulation 17 of those Regulations specified minimum width and
height dimensions of ‘switchboard passage-ways’ if there were ‘bare conductors’
exposed or arranged to be exposed when ‘live’ so that they may be touched.
These related to what are commonly known as ‘open type’ switchboards which
had much exposed copper work, knife switches etc. That regulation (and the key
definitions used at that time) are reproduced below for information. The dimensions
which were specified by that regulation were arrived at after much consideration of
the circumstances at the time. A compromise was struck between the objective of
achieving the safety of those who had to work at and operate these ‘open type’
switchboards and the need to recognise the constraints imposed by the
installations existing and the nature of the technology in 1908. Even though the
dimensions were a compromise, it was widely recognised that they were a good
minimum standard which had been found necessary following a number of severe
and fatal accidents in factories and power stations due to inadequate space or
cluttered access in the vicinity of bare live conductors at these ‘open type’
switchboards. The dimensions chosen allowed workmen to operate or otherwise
work upon the switchboard in reasonable safety and allowed, for example, people
to pass one another in the switchboard passageway without being placed at
unacceptable risk of touching live conductors.
Where the need does arise to work on or near live conductors, the principles of
providing adequate working space and uncluttered access/egress, which were
expressed in regulation 17 of the Electricity (Factories Act) Special Regulations
1908 and 1944, should be given proper consideration.
Regulation 17 (of 1908 Regulations)
At the working platform of every switchboard and in every switchboard passageway, if there be bare conductors exposed or arranged to be exposed when live so
that they may be touched, there shall be a clear and unobstructed passage of
ample width and height, with a firm and even floor. Adequate means of access, free
from danger, shall be provided for every switchboard passage-way.
The following provisions shall apply to all such switchboard working platforms and
passage-ways constructed after January 1, 1909 unless the bare conductors,
whether overhead or at the sides of the passage-ways, are otherwise adequately
protected against danger by divisions or screens or other suitable means:
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(a) Those constructed for low pressure and medium pressure switchboards shall
have a clear height of not less than 7 ft and a clear width measured from bare
conductor of not less than 3 ft.
(b) Those constructed for high pressure and extra high pressure switchboards,
other than operating desks or panels working solely at low pressure, shall
have a clear height of not less than 8 ft and a clear width measured from bare
conductor of not less than 3 ft 6 in.
(c) Bare conductors shall not be exposed on both sides of the switchboard
passage-way unless either (i) the clear width of the passage is in the case of
low pressure and medium pressure not less than 4 ft 6 in and in the case of
high pressure and extra high pressure not less than 8 ft in each case
measured between bare conductors, or (ii) the conductors on one side are so
guarded that they cannot be accidentally touched.
Key definitions used in the 1908 Regulations
Switchboard means the collection of switches or fuses, conductors, and other
apparatus in connection therewith, used for the purpose of controlling the current
or pressure in any system or part of a system.
Switchboard passage-way means any passage-way or compartment large enough
for a person to enter, and used in connection with a switchboard when live.
Low pressure means a pressure in a system normally not exceeding 250 volts
where the electrical energy is used.
Medium pressure means a pressure in a system normally above 250 volts, but not
exceeding 650 volts, where the electrical energy is used.
High pressure means a pressure in a system normally above 650 volts, but not
exceeding 3000 volts, where the electrical energy is used or supplied.
Extra-high pressure means a pressure in a system normally exceeding 3000 volts
where the electrical energy is used or supplied.
Page 47 of 52
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References and further reading
References
1 Electrical safety in mines HSG278 HSE Books 2015
www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/books/hsg278.htm
2 The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (c37) The Stationery Office 1974
ISBN 978 0 10 543774 1
3 Managing for health and safety HSG65 (Third edition) HSE Books 2013
www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/books/hsg65.htm
4 BS 7671 Requirements for electrical installations. IET Wiring Regulations.
Seventeenth edition British Standards Institution
5 The Electricity Safety, Quality and Continuity Regulations 2002 (ESQCR)
SI 2002/2665 The Stationery Office www.legislation.gov.uk
6 Guide to effects of current on human beings and livestock. Special aspects
relating to human beings PD 60479-2:1987 IEC www.iec.ch
7 Safety of equipment electrically connected to a telecommunication network
62151:2000 IEC www.iec.ch
8 Electricity at work: Safe working practices HSG85 (Third edition)
HSE Books 2013 www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/books/hsg85.htm
9 Dangerous substances and explosive atmospheres: Dangerous Substances
and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002. Approved Code of Practice and
guidance L138 (Second edition) HSE Books 2013
www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/books/l138.htm
10 Maintaining portable electric equipment in low-risk environments Leaflet
INDG236(rev3) HSE Books 2013 www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg236.htm
11 First aid at work: The Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981.
Guidance on Regulations L74 (Third edition) HSE Books 2013
www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/books/l74.htm
12 Avoiding danger from underground services HSG47 (Third edition)
HSE Books 2013 www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/books/hsg47.htm
13 Avoiding danger from overhead power lines General Guidance Note GS6
(Fourth edition) HSE 2013 www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/gs6.htm
14 Working safely near overhead electricity power lines AIS8(rev3)
HSE Books 2012 www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/ais8.htm
Page 48 of 52
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15 Lighting at work HSG38 (Second edition) HSE Books 1998 www.hse.gov.uk/
pubns/books/hsg38.htm
16 The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (Application outside Great Britain)
Order 2013 SI 2013/240 The Stationery Office
Further reading
Guidance
Electrical safety and you: A brief guide Leaflet INDG231(rev1) HSE Books 2012
www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg231.htm
Electrical risks from steam/water pressure cleaners Plant and Machinery Guidance
Note PM29 (Second edition) HSE Books 1995 www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/pm29.htm
Selection and use of electric handlamps Plant and Machinery Guidance Note PM38
(web only) HSE Books 2007 www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/pm38.htm
Electrical test equipment for use by electricians General Guidance Note GS38
(Fourth edition) HSE Books 2015 www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/gs38.htm
Electrical safety at places of entertainment General Guidance Note GS50
(Third edition) HSE Books 2014 www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/gs50.htm
Keeping electrical switchgear safe HSG230 HSE Books 2015
www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/books/hsg230.htm
Listed below are standards, codes of practice and other publications which contain
guidance relevant to these Regulations and electrical safety – published by bodies
other than HSE. Most of these documents are the product of technical committees
on which HSE has been represented. This does not mean, however, that the
documents are concerned solely with safety and users should bear in mind the
scope of the safety content of these documents and the fact that they have largely
been arrived at through a process of consensus.
International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) publications
Guide to effects of current on human beings and livestock. Part 1: General aspects
TS 60479-1:2005 IEC www.iec.ch
Safety of equipment electrically connected to a telecommunication network
62151:2000 IEC www.iec.ch
Extra-low voltage (ELV) – Limit values 61201:ed 2.0 2007–08 IEC www.iec.ch
Effects of current on human beings and livestock. General aspects
DD IEC/TS 60479-1 www.iec.ch
Guide to effects of current on human beings and livestock. Special aspects relating
to human beings PD 6519-2:1998 IEC 60479-2 www.iec.ch
Safety of equipment electrically connected to a telecommunication network
IEC 62151 www.iec.ch
Extra-low voltage (ELV) – Limit values IEC 61201 ed 2.0 www.iec.ch
Page 49 of 52
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British Standards
The following British Standards are relevant to different aspects of electrical safety.
The up-to-date version of each standard is available from BSI on
http://shop.bsigroup.com (see Further information).
BS 4363 Specification for distribution assemblies for reduced low voltage electricity
supplies for construction and building sites
BS 4444 Guide to electrical earth monitoring and protective conductor proving
BS 6423 Code of practice for maintenance of low-voltage electrical switchgear and
controlgear
BS 6626 Maintenance of electrical switchgear and control gear for voltages above
1 kV and up to and including 36 kV. Code of practice
BS 6867 Maintenance of electrical switchgear for voltages above 36 kV. Code of
practice
BS 7375 Distribution of electricity on construction and building sites. Code of
practice
BS 7430 Code of practice for protective earthing of electrical installations
BS 7671 Requirements for Electrical Installations. IET Wiring Regulations.
Seventeenth edition
BS 7909 Code of practice for temporary electrical systems for entertainment and
related purposes
BS EN 50050 Electrostatic hand-held spraying equipment. Safety requirements
(50050 series, see Parts 1, 2 & 3)
BS EN 60034 Rotating electrical machines. Degrees of protection provided by the
internal design of rotating electrical machines (IP Code). Classification
BS EN 60079 Explosive atmospheres (60079 series, see Parts 0, 14, 17, 31)
BS EN 60204-1 Safety of machinery. Electrical equipment of machines. General
requirements
BS EN 60529 Degrees of protection provided by enclosures (IP Code)
BS EN 60903 Live working. Gloves of insulating material
BS EN 60947 Low-voltage switchgear and controlgear (60947 series, see Parts 1, 2)
BS EN 61111 Live working. Electrical insulating matting
BS EN 61439-1 Low-voltage switchgear and controlgear assemblies. General rules
BS EN 61439-2 High-voltage switchgear and controlgear. Alternating current circuit
breakers
BS EN 62271 High-voltage switchgear and controlgear (62771 series, see Parts
100, 102)
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BS EN 62305-1 Protection against lightning. General principles
BS EN 81-20 Safety rules for the construction and installation of lifts. Lifts for the
transportation of persons and goods. Passenger and goods passenger lifts
PD CLC/TR 50404 Electrostatics. Code of practice for the avoidance of hazards
due to static electricity
Useful web links
www.hse.gov.uk/construction/safetytopics/electricity.htm
International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) www.iec.ch
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Further information
For information about health and safety, or to report inconsistencies or inaccuracies
in this guidance, visit www.hse.gov.uk/. You can view HSE guidance online and
order priced publications from the website. HSE priced publications are also
available from bookshops.
British Standards can be obtained in PDF or hard copy formats from
BSI: http://shop.bsigroup.com or by contacting BSI Customer Services for hard
copies only Tel: 0845 086 9001 email: [email protected]
The Stationery Office publications are available from The Stationery Office,
PO Box 29, Norwich NR3 1GN Tel: 0870 600 5522 Fax: 0870 600 5533
email: [email protected] Website: www.tsoshop.co.uk. (They are also
available from bookshops.) Statutory Instruments can be viewed free of charge at
www.legislation.gov.uk where you can also search for changes to legislation.
This publication is available at www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/books/hsr25.htm.
Published by the Health and Safety Executive Page 52 of 52
10/15 HSR25
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