Prevent electrical injuries: new CSA Z462 standard and one-day course

Jan 12, 2015

Electrical safetyIf anyone in your workplace may be exposed to electrical hazards, CSA's newly revised standard Z462 - Workplace Electrical Safety can help you upgrade or set up an electrical safety program, “something many workplaces lack even though electrical incidents and injuries are often serious," says Francis Hardy, a senior safety specialist with the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) and a member of the CSA Z462-15 Technical Committee.

"One in five critical workplace injuries involving electricity results in a fatality," says Hardy, "and one in 18 non-critical injuries results in a fatality. Compare this to one in 760 for other types of injuries."

"I can't think of a reason why an employer would want to engage in anything other than safe work practices where electrical equipment is involved," says Robert Mitchell, ESA's training development specialist. "In the absence of superior safe work practices, implementing the CSA Z462 standard reduces the risks that exist for employers and workers in the event of an electrical incident. Adopting safe electrical work practices is the only reasonable approach when the potential harm of an electrical incident is considered."

Fully up to date with the 2015 edition of the Canadian Electrical Code, this third edition of CSA Z462 provides:

  • greater emphasis on integrating an electrical safety program into your occupational health and safety management system (OHSMS),
  • using a hierarchy of risk control when working on and around electrical equipment,
  • a major shift towards risk assessment and mitigation,
  • the need to field audit to ensure compliance as part of policy and training.

For workplaces already familiar with earlier editions, this version offers:

  • improved direction on identifying hazards and assessing risk,
  • revised safety procedures and assessment tables for working around electrical systems,
  • improved tables for determining risk and selecting personal protective equipment,
  • more guidance on safe procedures and training.

Robert Mitchell describes the updated standard as "scalable to any workplace. If you have a complex electrical installation, you can apply many of the requirements; alternatively, you can adopt only those practices relevant to your workplace. The responsibility to assess the suitability of the standard is for the user to determine."

New one-day course helps speed up implementation

ESA and WSPS have collaboratively offered a full-day Z462 training course for the past five years and are already working together to bring you an updated course to reflect the changes in the just released standard. The one-day course will help participants develop or improve an electrical safety program appropriate to their operation. The course will be facilitated by a qualified ESA inspector.

"This course creates a broad understanding of the standard," says Mitchell. "It offers value to every member of the workplace including the owners, plant managers and maintenance personnel who interact with electrical equipment. The course can help all workplace parties maximize the standard's value as a prevention and productivity tool, and fulfill their electrical safety responsibilities. Senior management is responsible for establishing an electrical safety policy; supervisors, for establishing safe working procedures; and maintenance personnel, for executing the electrical work. When all of these responsibilities are in play, the standard's audit process provides feedback to senior management - encouraging continuous improvement and ensuring the work meets the overarching goals of the safety management system."

How we can help

  • Learn more about electrical hazards and WSPS' comprehensive list of prevention resources.