Worker Safety

Occupational electrical fatalities and incidents occur from shock and electrocution associated with repair and maintenance and powerline contact.  They are most commonly occur when individuals do not de-energize and test electrical systems they plan to work on, and when they don’t check for overhead powerlines.

Understand the Risk

In 2012 Ontario’s Electrical Safety Authority produced a safety supplement to increase awareness of the greatest electrical risks to workers. Learn to identify the risks, know your rights, and as yourself “Are you willing to take the risk?” (ESA Supplement FA Spreads)

Overhead Powerline Contact

Electrical contact with overhead powerlines can be avoided by:

  • Always locate overhead powerlines and equipment
  • Ensure you have a spotter to warn you when you are in close proximity to overhead powerlines
  • Maintain a recommended clearance of 3 meters between you, any vehicle you are operating and any equipment you are using (ladders, landscape tools, construction materials, etc.)
  • Research and follow safe work requirements

Improper Procedure

It has been reported that more than 60% of electrical worker incidents occur from improper workplace procedure.  Electrical incidents occur when electricians and maintenance workers work live, don’t test circuits before working, or don’t follow recommended workplace electrical safety standards. Electrical risks can be associated with your facility, your policies and work practices, and with your worker skills and training.  To reduce the risk of electrical incidents:

  • Use qualified and licensed electrical contractors when arranging electrical installations.
  • Ensure you have processes in place to identify and address potential electrical risks to protect electrical maintenance workers.
    • Introduce an electrical safety program that includes safety procedures and practices in your workplace.
    • Identify and post safe limits of approach for electric equipment, and identify Personal Protective Equipment requirements (PPE) for electrical maintenance work.
    • Review and implement requirements defined in the CSA Z462 “Workplace Electrical Safety” standard.

Follow Canadian Workplace Electrical Safety Standards

Recommendations for safe work practices in CSA’s “Workplace Electrical Safety” can protect workers. CSA Z462 is the Canadian standard that addresses electrical safety requirements for employees. It provides guidance on the assessment of electrical hazards and design of safe work spaces around electrical power systems.

Follow Canadian Standards for Electrical Utility Workplace Electrical Safety for Generation, Transmission and Distribution – S801

Guidelines in ULC’s S801 provides electric utilities with a foundation for safe working environments for their employees across Canada with a complete safety guide that addresses workplace safety concerns that include:

    • Fundamental requirements
    • Minimum approach distances for working near or on energized electrical lines or equipment
    • Protective tools, equipment and devices
    • Working on energized electrical lines and equipment
    • Arc flash protection
    • Radio frequency hazards
    • Working on isolated electric utility systems
    • Working near electric utility systems

This standard can be order for $144.00 CAN (Hardcopy).  For information on options for ordering this standard, click here.

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