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WEEK 2 – ELEMENT 4

Electrical Hazards and Control

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Electricity: Introduction
Each year in the UK there are: 30 workplace deaths 30 domestic deaths • • • • • Electric shock Electric burns Electrical arcing Fires Explosions

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Electrical Terms (1)
Volt (Pressure difference):
The unit of measurement of electrical pressure

Ampere (Current):
The unit of measurement of electric current flow

Ohm (Resistance):
The unit of measurement of electrical resistance

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Electrical Terms (2)
Direct Current (DC):
The current flows in one direction between positive and negative terminals

Alternating Current (AC):
The electric current is constantly reversing its direction of flow at a given frequency

Frequency:
Measured in cycles per second is expressed in Hertz in UK 50 cycles per second

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Electrical Terms (3)
Conductors:
A material that allows electricity to flow easily :- e.g. copper, steel, water

Insulators:
Materials that have a high resistance to electrical current:- e.g. plastic, rubber, wood

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Nature of Electricity
Ohms Law
The higher the electrical pressure (V) or the lower the circuit resistance (R), the higher is the current that flows in an electrical circuit:

I = V/R I is measured in amps (A), which is the electron flow
or current

V is measured in volts (V), potential difference or
pressure

R the resistance is measured in ohms (Ω),

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Ohms Law Example
If the applied voltage is 230V and circuit resistance is 1,000 ohms then the current flow will be 0.23A or 230 mA
230 V/I=R 1,000 = 0.23

If we have two values then we are able to work out the third !

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Electrical Power
Another useful expression enables the electrical power (P), represented by the flow of electrical current in a circuit, to be determined.

Power(P) = Voltage (V) x Current (I)
When:

V is measured in volts (V)

W V I

I

is measured in amperes (A)

W is given in watts (W)

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Main Dangers of Electricity
1) Electric Shock: Contact with live parts
Direct Contact: Coming in to contact with a conductor that is supposed to be live Indirect Contact: Coming into contact with a conductor that is not live in normal conditions but has become live due to a fault

2) Arcing

3) Fire & Explosion
4) Burns

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Severity of Electric Shock
• • • • • • • • Current in amperes Length of contact time Path through the body Conductivity/resistance of the body The voltage Conductivity of the environment Nature of the contact Age and health status of victim

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If a Person has received an Electric Shock
a) Do not touch injured person until the current is switched off. b) If the current cannot be switched off, stand on some dry insulating material and use a wooden or plastic implement to remove the injured person from the electrical source. c) Administer first aid if qualified d) Call professional help

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Main Dangers of Electricity
Arcing: Electricity can jump an air gap causing
shock effects to persons not in contact with conductor

Fire & Explosion: Flow of electricity
generates heat. If large flow passes through unsuitable conductor heat can lead to fire

Burns: Heat of arcing or excessive flow
through body causes tissue damage

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Causes of Electrical Fire
• Inadequate circuits for the current

• Overloaded circuits
• Incorrect fuses (e.g. nails) • Damaged wiring and insulation • Loose connections • Overheating of cables • Overheating due to thermal insulation • Overheating due to lack of ventilation • Flammable materials to close to electrical equipment

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Effects on Body of Electricity
• Damage to the nervous system
• Fibrillation (irregular heartbeat) • Tissue burns at entry and exit

• Damage to internal organs
• Muscular contractions • Physical trauma • Stopping breathing (respiratory paralysis) • Stopping the heart (cardiac arrest)

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Secondary Effects of Electrical Shock
• Falls from height • Unintentional movement of machinery • Failure of control measures & security systems • Loss of information • Corporate reputation • Throw off – sudden movement of the body

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Electricity Protection Devices
• • • • • • • • Fuses Circuit breaker Earthing Isolation Reduced voltage Battery operated tools Residual Current Devices (RCD) Double insulation

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Fuse
A specially designed weak link which is designed to melt at a predetermined value of current

Advantages
• • cheap and readily available protects equipment • • • • • •

Disadvantages
will not protect individuals slow to operate inaccurate unsuitable or wrong fuse may be used easy to override needs tool to replace

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Circuit Breakers
Electromagnetic devices which perform the same function as fuses but operate faster

Advantages
• automatically trip under fault conditions • no tools required to reset • not easy to defeat • Protects equipment from overload • •

Disadvantages
may be mistaken for an RCD do not protect the individual

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Earthing (Earth Leakage Protectors)
Electricity will always try to reach earth and earthing is a means of providing a low resistance path to earth

Advantages
• Prevent indirect electric shock • Readily identified •

Disadvantages
specialist testing and maintenance, professional installation No protection if removed

Earth lead and spike

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Isolation
Shutting off the electricity supply to an item of equipment and preventing the system from being mistakenly reconnected

Advantages
• • safest option as it eliminates electricity may be physically locked off • • •

Disadvantages
may isolate other equipment may be reconnected without lock off prevents live fault finding

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Reduced Voltage Systems (1)

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Reduced Voltage Systems (2)
Reducing the mains voltage by means of a transformer to a lower safer voltage e.g. 110volts or 55 volts

Advantages

Disadvantages

at 55V - injury is highly unlikely
colour coded cabling system for easy recognition

specialist equipment e.g. Transformer required
lead from supply to transformer at higher voltages, needing protection with RCD

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Battery Operated Tools
Advantages

• •

Disadvantages
• • • limited use low power output Constant charging required

little risk during normal use Not restricted by cable No trailing cable

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Residual Current Devices (RCD)
Compares the electricity flow to the equipment with the return flow and if a difference is detected the equipment is isolated

Advantages
• • • • rapid and sensitive difficult to defeat easy to use, test and reset can not be reset with a fault on the circuit •

Disadvantages
may isolate crucial equipment if one RCD covers a number of distribution points e.g. freezers and computers mechanical device which could fail No overload protection

• •

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Double Insulation
Two separate layers of insulation are provided which allows for fault detection where one layer has failed the other still provides protection

Advantages
• two layers of insulation prevent user contact with any live parts no earth required • •

Disadvantages
physical damage may defeat double insulation No earth therefore no protection if used with equipment that requires earth

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Portable Electrical Equipment
Accidents caused by:
• Using unsuitable apparatus • Inadequate maintenance or misuse

• Using defective apparatus
• Modifications by unauthorised personnel • Modifications whilst the appliance is live

• Using equipment in unsuitable environments
• No system of inspection or removal of damaged equipment

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Hazards of Portable Electrical Equipment
Areas to look at for hazards
Plug
No fuse Damage to plug casing Incorrect wiring Earth wire detached

Cable
Run over Dragged Trapped

Joints
Makeshift Leads pulled out of cord grip Incorrect wiring

Appliance
Casing Worn Connections

Heat/corrosive Poor earth chemicals connections Flexing Insulation Wrong connections

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Precautions using Portable Equipment
           Reduced voltage operation Use of residual current circuit breakers Protected against overload Cables insulated Correct sheathing Sufficient socket outlets Use of cable drums Correct maintenance and repair Reduced voltage operation Regular inspections and checks Properly trained staff

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Types of Inspection
1) User checks 2) Formal visual inspection 3) Combined inspection and test (PAT testing)

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Frequency of Inspection & Test
• • • • • • • • • • Manufacturer’s recommendations Age of equipment Robustness of equipment Double insulated or earthed Type of cable (e.g. armoured) Extent of use Users of equipment Environment Abuse or misuse History of equipment

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Reason to keep records of inspection and testing of electrical equipment
a) Inspection by authorised person b) In case test label removed c) Test frequencies maintained d) Record actions of faults rectified

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Electrical Safety in Office Environments
1) 2) 3) 4) 5) 6) 7) 8) 9) 10) 11) 12) Equipment of approved standard Maintenance of fixed electrical installations There is a means of isolation Connections, wiring free from defects Correct fuses Plugs correctly wired No overloading of sockets Appliances switched off when not in use PAT testing in date Cables correctly routed RCDs used System for reporting of defects

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Precautions for on Working Live Equipment
 Trained and Competent Staff  Accompanied by another person  Adequate Information about the risks

 Suitable insulated tools
 Insulated barriers or screens  Suitable instruments and test probes

 Personal protective equipment/rubber mats
 Permit to work  Restricted access

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