Electrical Safety Training and Electrical Consulting

A&E Training and Technical Solutions

A&E Training and Technical Solutions announces the launch of our E-Learning Centre.

A&E Training and Technical Solutions, E-Learning is the fastest growing way of keeping your employees trained and up to date with continuing education. Most of our E-Learning courses are sanctioned by the Engineering Institue of Canada and qualify for Continuing Education Unit Credits. Look to the course description to see which courses qualify.

In our E-Learning centre you will find our popular Electrical Safety Course, Arc Flash Hazard Awareness, Hydraulic Safety, Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment, Backing Fundamentals, Lithium Battery Safety, Whmis, Sexual Harassment and many more. Each of these programs are available as an individual purchase or by bulk purchase for all of your employees. For bulk purchases please contact AETS at 778-403-1785 to discuss bulk purchase discounts that may apply.

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The Dangers of Electric Shock

The Dangers of Electric Shock

Electric power, when installed and used correctly, does a tremendous amount of work. The dangers of electric shock are increased because electricity cannot be seen and it’s such a powerful force, we need to be very careful when using it.

People are injured or killed every year by electricity. The reasons for injury or death are almost always carelessness, a faulty appliance or tool, or a lack of knowledge about how electricity works. You can reduce electrical injuries and death by doing three things:

  1. Understanding how electricity works,
  2. Recognizing potential electrical hazards, and
  3. Learning about safety devices and mitigation methods that prevent shock.

Electricity naturally flows to the earth, or to ground, through anything that will conduct electrical current.  Electricity will pass through the human body, sometimes with fatal results, trying to get to ground. If an appliance or tool is faulty or has a shorted wire, the electric current may try to find another path to ground. That’s why electrical systems should always be installed correctly and be grounded.

Three-Prong Plugs. The installation of electrical outlets in residential establishments have changed considerably.  We now have ground fault circuit interrupters, arc fault breakers for bedrooms and, you may have noticed that the electrical outlets in most homes now have three-wire receptacles that accommodate electrical cords with three-prong plugs. The third prong provides a continued path to ground along which the electric current travels. Most major appliances, such as stoves, refrigerators, and computers, have three-prong plugs, meaning they are grounded. Most older homes do not have three-wire receptacles. If yours does not, you should consider having an electrician rewire the home to upgrade your electrical system to meet with the new standards. Although three-prong adapters can be purchased, they are not recommended for permanent use. Also remember never to remove the third prong of a plug to make it fit a two-hole outlet.

GFCI. Another device that’s commonly used to prevent shocks in the home is a ground fault circuit interrupter. These are usually installed in wall-mounted receptacles in areas where electricity and water are most likely to come in contact, such as bathrooms, laundry rooms, kitchens, and outdoors. They have buttons that are marked TEST and RESET. GFCIs monitor electric current and can switch a circuit off before injury occurs. It is advisable to consult a qualified licensed electrician about installing these safety devices, although many newer homes have them already.

It’s advisable to use tools and appliances with three-prong grounding plugs, even if you have a GFCI. Portable, or temporary, GFCIs are available, but they should not be used as a permanent alternative to wall-mounted, receptacle-type GFCIs.

Overloaded receptacles. Avoid overloading a receptacle or an electrical circuit. The electrical system has been designed and installed to accommodate an electrical current at a rated value.  Most residential installations for electrical outlets are protected at 15 amps.  Plugging in to many devices to one outlet by using power bars or outlet multipliers can or may cause fires to occur due to overloaded wires becoming hot. Most receptacles are designed for two plugs only.

Double-insulated tools. Double-insulated tools help protect against electrical shock. An electrical short in a tool can occur, because of worn wiring that lets a bare wire touch the frame of an appliance or tool.  These tools should only be used when plugged into a GFCI.  Double-insulated tools have an outer casing of plastic or some other nonconductive material and tools with two-wire plugs.  Some tools, that have been modified and refitted with two prong plugs may not be double insulated and should be considered dangerous.

In the workshop. Ungrounded faulty tools are always hazardous. Make sure power tools are grounded, or are double-insulated. Wear rubber-soled shoes, stand on a rubber mat, and keep work floors dry. Receptacles in basements and garages must have a ground fault circuit interrupter.

In the bathroom. Never touch electrical equipment while in the bathtub. Keep all electrical appliances far enough away from water in tubs, showers, and sinks so you can’t touch them, and so that they can’t fall into the water.  If this happens, the electricity could and possibly will flow through the water—and through you. Receptacles in bathrooms must be a ground fault circuit interrupter.

Throughout the house. It’s a good idea to cover electrical outlets so that objects like, pins, nails, and other foreign objects can’t be inserted into the outlets.  New rules require the use of tamper proof outlets be installed in all common areas of the home.

In the laundry room. An ungrounded faulty appliance anywhere can be a hazard because you could become part of the electrical circuit. For example, handling an ungrounded clothes iron while touching an operating washing machine could be dangerous because you could become a path for current to flow. In this example, the washing machine is grounded, but the iron is not. Because electricity is constantly seeking a path to ground,when you touch the washing machine while using the ungrounded iron, the electricity from the iron will travel through you as it tries to get to ground, which in this case would be through the washing machine.

In the kitchen. An ungrounded faulty appliance, such as an electric toaster, used near a grounded kitchen sink can be dangerous. Do not handle or operate appliances when your hands are wet or when the appliances are on wet surfaces, such as a countertop that has water on it. Receptacles within six feet of a kitchen sink must have a ground fault circuit interrupter.  In addition, new rules identify the installation and use of 20 amp t-slot receptacles be installed in the kitchen.  You are not required to upgrade your electrical system to meet the new codes, but if you plan any renovations to the kitchen, you may be required to upgrade the electrical system.  Check with the local authorities prior to your renovation project.

Check equipment. It’s advisable to check the condition of cords, plugs, and insulation on all tools for signs of fraying or other damage.  Do not use a tool that has been damaged.  Repair of replace the tool prior to use.  Never use electrical tape to make a temporary repair to the cord of an electrical tool.  If the cord is damaged, have it replaced.

In swimming pools. Pool lights and pumps may become faulty and create hazards. Make sure your pool has only properly installed lighting and equipment. Receptacles near pools must have ground fault circuit interrupters.

If you have questions about your electrical system or appliances and tools, you may wish to consult an electrician about the best way to ensure your safety.

Summary;  Electricity is a very powerful force, which we cannot see, hear or taste.  Electricity is a utility that we take for granted.  We always expect it to be there.  When we turn on a switch or plug in an appliance, we expect the electricity to flow and the lights to come on or the appliance to do our cooking.  If electrical circuits are installed correctly and according to local codes and jurisdictions and maintained in good order the use of electricity is safe.  It is when we do not follow these simple rules that electricity can get out of control and cause damage to our homes, injury or even death.  It only takes a very small amount of electrical current to pass through your heart and chest area to cause severe injury or even death.  Be safe with your electrical equipment, use it for its intended purpose and if in doubt, check with a qualified electrical person.

Safety is a personal responsibility.

Download a copy of this article here; The Dangers of Electricity

Electrical Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment

Electrical Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment

A&E Training and Technical Solutions is proud to offer an Electrical Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment training program to our comprehensive course portfolio.

Electrical Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment

Working with electricity is one of the most dangerous jobs in our industry.  There are 600 to 800 electrical accidents in Canada every year – not to mention related deaths. To help reduce that number, the Canadian Standards Association has come out with a new standard that deals with electrical safety.

The Z462 and the NFPA 70E standard, Workplace Electrical Safety, applies to contractors and electrical workers, and provides guidance to employers on what qualifications are required for electrical work – and cautions against allowing non-qualified people inside hazard boundaries.

Electricity is toxic energy. It takes about 10 milliamps (mA) for your skin to start burning and blistering. At about 20 mA, your breathing becomes laboured and you can’t let go of the tool giving you the shock, while 75 mA will cause ventricular fibrillation, which is a rapid, irregular heartbeat that can cause death in minutes. Above that, you’ll suffer severe burns and muscular damage – a few amps will cause irreversible body damage. While human beings are only designed to handle 5 or 6 mA, the lowest over-current at which a typical fuse or circuit breaker opens a circuit is 15,000 mA.

New to our industry, but not so new to the use of electricity is the presence of an Arc Flash and Arc Blast during and electrical accident.  This ever so dangerous event can cause temperatures surrounding the arc event to rise as high as 35,000 deg. F.  Radiant heat energy can reach 6,000 deg. F and cause damage to unprotected workers many feet away from the arc flash.  The blast pressures can reach dramatic levels that can cause immediate danger to live and health.

To be successful in our job or task we must perform a Hazard Assessment and Risk evaluation for every task, document the results and communicate through training. The standard provides a template for electrical safe work planning, and steps including, identification of all hazards, quantification of those hazards, selection of personal protective equipment and tooling based on the assessment, and documentation and communication through training.

This training program will focus on the requirements to perform a Hazard Assessment and Risk Analysis using the CSA Z462 and or the NFPA 70E Workplace Electrical Safety Standard as our guide and reference manual.

From this training session you will learn;

  • What is Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment
  • Who has the responsibility to perform the Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment
  • Hazard Identification Process
  • Risk Assessment Process
  • Initial Risk Estimation
  • Parameters used in Risk Estimation, (Severity, Frequency,Likelihood of Occurrence of Harm, Likelihood of Avoiding or Limiting Harm)
  • Risk Reduction Strategies
  • Risk Evaluation
  • Risk Reduction Verification
  • Documentation and Communication Process

 

Reference Materials, CSA Z462 Workplace Electrical Safety,

                                        NFPA 70E Electrical Safety in the Workplace.

This course is now offered in our E-Learing CBT environment and through our open enrolment courses this fall.

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Use of Test Equipment

Use of Test Equipment

The use of electricity in the workplace today present many challenges.  Among these challenges we are faced with the hazards associated with working on or near energized electrical systems.  Testing of electrical conductors and circuit parts is a task that is done by electrical workers often, sometimes many times a day.  When establishing an electrical safe work condition, you need to verify the absence of voltage by testing the electrical conductors or circuit part using a multimeter or some kind of voltage detector.  This task will take you inside the limited approach boundary and the arc flash boundary.

This post is an excerpt from the CSA Z462 and or the NFPA 70E Workplace Electrical Safety and includes a video presentation by the Electrical Safety Authority.

From the Standard

Use of equipment/Test instruments and equipment

Testing

Only qualified persons shall perform tasks such as testing, troubleshooting, voltage measuring, etc., within the limited approach boundary or arc flash boundary of energized electrical conductors or circuit parts operating at 50 V or more, or where an electrical hazard exists.

Rating

Test instruments, equipment, and their accessories shall be rated for the circuits and equipment to which they will be connected.

Note: See CAN/CSA-C22.2 No. 61010-1 for rating and design requirements for voltage measurement and test instruments intended for use on electrical systems operating at 1000 V and below.

Design

Test instruments, equipment, and their accessories shall be:

  1. (a) designed for the environment to which they will be exposed;
  2. (b) designed for the manner in which they will be used; and
  3. (c) where applicable, proven compliant with the appropriate Canadian Standard.

Visual inspection

Test instruments and equipment and all associated test leads, cables, power cords, probes, and connectors shall be visually inspected for external defects and damage before each use. If there is a defect or evidence of damage that might expose a worker to injury, the defective or damaged item shall be removed from service and workers shall not use it until repairs and tests necessary to render the item safe have been conducted.

Operation verification

When test instruments are used to test for the absence of voltage on conductors or circuit parts operating at 50 V or more, the operation of the test instrument shall be verified before and after an absence of voltage test is performed.

End standard quote.

Testing of electrical conductors and circuit parts is live work and considered to be hazardous in nature.  It is extremely important that your company or organization develop a Use of Equipment Program to be instituted and followed by all electrical workers when performing testing of electrical conductors or circuit parts.

For assistance in the development of this program, contact A&E Training and Technical Solutions.

Watch a short video presented by the Electrical Safety Authority

Consulting

Consulting Services

A&E Training and Technical Solutions offers a wide range of consulting services.  With over 35 years of combined experience in the electrical industry we bring to you, our clients, a well rounded product tailored to suit your needs.

Our consulting services are;

To speak to one of our specialists call;

905-933-3130