The fundamental hazard is of electrocution. 25 volts can be fatal under certain circumstances. The voltage normally available at socket outlets and lighting points is 230 volts. Voltage on 3-phase equipment such as electric motors, etc. is 415 volts. Electrical shock can be caused by bodily contact between two conductors or between a conductor and earth. Electrical shock and high frequency burns can be sustained from equipment such as oscilloscopes and T.V. apparatus.
All precautions must be aimed at reducing the risk of contact with unprotected conductors of electricity at potentially hazardous voltages. The principle is to ensure that electrical equipment and wiring is safe by design, and remains safe throughout its use. All work with electricity must conform to the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989, which is based on this principle.
The University’s Code of Practice for Electrical Safety provides guidance on implementing the Regulations and on safe working practices in general. The introduction and Part A will be of universal application to Schools and Departments, whereas Parts B or C will be relevant to a very limited range of sections:
Part A deals with the safe use, maintenance, inspection and testing of commercial electrical equipment. This part covers guidance on frequency of inspection and testing for different types of electrical equipment in a variety of typical University environments.
Part B deals with electrical equipment and test rigs designed and/or constructed within the University.
Part C deals with live working situations. (Live working should be avoided if at all possible to do so.)
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