mandated actions for electrical hazards

Discussion in 'Electronics & Electrics' started by fR33z3, Oct 25, 2015.

  1. fR33z3

    fR33z3 Member

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    Hoping one of the experienced electrical guys can respond to this.

    Traditionally, I've worked in the IT environment, where from an electrical hazard perspective, I am considered an uneducated untrained person, and unless I stick a screwdriver into a power cord, its pretty impossible to come in contact with hazardous electrical energy.

    Now, I am having to provide support for equipment in control rooms that are AC powered, but terminated in terminal blocks. This does not provide as much protection as an AS3112 plug/socket or C13/C14 coupling. Grabbing the connector or a stray screwdriver could easily result in contact with 240v AC.

    I would expect a cover to some IP level to be required wherever the outer jacket of the power cable has been stripped back (ie you can see brown or blue cables). I would also expect an electrical hazard label to be placed on the cover, or maybe on the cabinet, or maybe on the facility door, depending on how granular the environment needs to be set.

    is there something official in aust standards, or state (wa) or federal requirements that say if/how terminal blocks should be covered and what warnings should be provided?
     
  2. RobRoySyd

    RobRoySyd Member

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    This kind of gear falls into a grey area as it's professional equipment. It's not a unique issue either, you should see what goes on in theatres around dimmer racks etc.


    Just because you can see the brown or blue wires of the stripped back 240V cable isn't a hazard in itself. Anything live though should be covered and there are ways to terminated cables while preserving the double insulation. Sounds like sloppy workmanship or the use of the wrong kinds of terminals to me.

    Either way same labelling is in order. All the server and Telco rooms I've worked in / been responsible for had locked doors that only "authorised" people had access to. As far as I'm aware the responsibility rests with the employer to determine if those with the keys are competent to been in that room or not.
     
  3. Symon

    Symon Castigat ridendo mores

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    It falls under workplace health and safety and the associated electrical safety acts for your state.

    Exposed live terminals that are accessible is not acceptable for untrained persons. They need to be covered and labelled.
     
  4. OP
    OP
    fR33z3

    fR33z3 Member

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    I think we're talking about similar things. The problem is the comms rack in a comms shelter has been built the same as a comms rack in a motor control shelter, and while the motor control shelter is now restricted to electrical workers, the comms shelter is not.

    As you said, the gear is probably considered professional grade, hence doesn't have to meet normal consumer standards. The terminal block is part of the appliance, so that part can't be substituted. What do you mean about preserving the double insulation? You thinking of heatshrinking, or forming a boot of some sort?

    So is there a mandatory definition of "trained personnel"? Or could it be internal company training ie a couple of powerpoints (no pun intended) and she'll be right?

    And the covering - any formal definitions for that? I'm thinking probably IP20 or better? I think that is informally known as "finger protection".

    And the labelling - anything specific for that?
     
  5. RobRoySyd

    RobRoySyd Member

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    I think I know the ones you're talking about. I've seen them used on "power distribution units". They have three studs and a thin clear plastic cover over them. There's no cable clamp and they wouldn't pass the "finger test".


    Yes, heat shrink, boot, whatever. As I hinted at above though if it's possible to get a finger under the cover and into contact with a live terminal it's really not good enough for somewhere where untrained people are expected to work regularly. If it's high up in the rack where it's less likely to be kicked or have things fall into it could be OK.


    The whole "competent" issues comes down to not just formal qualifications.
    I was responsible for a number of people whose day to day tasks included working with things live. Some of those people held higher qualifications than me and others. I had to sack one of the most qualified because he had turned up for work in a state that made him unfit for the task several times. Not drunk, not affected by drugs but so sleep deprived that he was falling asleep.

    In your case and regarding what you've described if you're aware of the hazard and can complete your tasks with a reasonable margin of safely then all is well. On the other hand if you don't feel safe doing your tasks then you should make a complaint and have the issue addressed. If everyone has access to this space then yes, it needs warning signs and really access should be restricted.

    You don't need a fork lift drivers licence to be in an area where fork lifts are operating. That doesn't mean that an employer should be just letting anyone work or be in that that area.
     
  6. Code_Nerd

    Code_Nerd Member

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    The exposed terminals need to be shrouded to IP2X and labelled. i.e. "Warning 240V inside", "Test before Touch", "Authorised Personnel Only", "Isolate elsewhere before removing Cover" etc
     

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