10 common compliance failures in electrical installations in the workplace

Risk analyses of electrical installations in the workplace demonstrate that regulations, best practices and hazard prevention measures are often overlooked. Prevention advisor Patrick Jooken lists the most common compliance failures.

The minimum requirements for the safety of electrical installations at workplaces are described in the Codex, Book III, Title 2 - Electrical Installations. "The aim is to bring old installations - older than 1983 - up to the same safety level as the General Regulations on Electrical Installations (AREI)," Patrick Jooken explains. "Until that date, there was no pre-commissioning inspection and no periodic checks were done. This equalises the requirements for old and newer installations. In addition, there are minimum regulations with which older installations must comply."

Risk analysis is a team effort

The employer is responsible for conducting the risk analysis and for implementing the necessary prevention measures. “A risk analysis goes much further than a maintenance check. It is specifically designed to identify the risks and hazards for workers who operate this type of electrical equipment. In addition, the risk analysis can be modified at any time and should essentially be reviewed whenever an electrical installation is altered or expanded or when changes are made to the operating instructions. It is therefore important to monitor everything, take action when needed, and ensure continuous improvement. The risk analysis needs to be reviewed at least every five years.”

A successful risk analysis requires input from not only the employer but several other people as well:

  • the internal prevention advisor as a safety expert
  • the electrotechnician or electrician with experience and knowledge of equipment
  • the person directly in charge of the installation and any other heads of operations
  • the external department for prevention and protection as an expert in risk assessments
  • any installers or engineering agencies for practical advice

Top 10 hazards

There are still several issues to be resolved. A sample survey of 100 risk analyses revealed the following most common compliance failures:

  1. No BA4/BA5 certification provided by the employer (79%)
  2. No response plan for external factors that may affect electrical installations (74%)
  3. Direct risk of contact (68%)
  4. No conformity certificate (63%)
  5. No grounding plan for earth electrodes (62%)
  6. No equipotential bonding system (60%)
  7. Inadequate identification/safety signage for power boards, nominal voltage and electrical hazards (58%)
  8. Openings in housings and caps (52%)
  9. No procedures, instructions or risk analysis in place prior to operations (50%)
  10. No quarterly inspection of the HV installation (47%)

Work to be done

“Many companies still have a lot of work ahead of them. Not only in terms of the actual installations, but also the focus on technical details, contact hazards and adequate enclosures, which often leave a lot to be desired. There are other aspects that need to be addressed as well, such as the organisation of user and operating methods, certification requirements for personnel, and the electrical documentation of installations.”

Questions about risk analyses of electrical installations?

Our prevention advisers will be pleased to help you.  Please contact us at veiligheid@mensura.be.