This rigorous test of reasonableness even refers to diagnostic testing of live conductors.
Contrast this against the requirements of US legislation expressed in OSHA 1910.333 (a) which states that the employer cannot allow work to proceed “energized” or “live” except when it can be demonstrated that:
- De-energizing introduces additional or increased hazards.
- Infeasible due to equipment design or operational limitations.
16.3.1 UK Corporate Manslaughter Act
The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act (2007) introduces a new offence for prosecuting companies and other organizations where there has been a gross failing throughout the organization in the management of health and safety with fatal consequences. Although not a European Directive and only enforceable in the UK, the penalties for those convicted under the new legislation are extremely severe. The fines have no upper limit and there is also a publicity order which means that the company will have to publicise the details of the conviction. The former damages the company balance sheet but the latter damages the company brand which, in many cases is PRICELESS.
The new offence came into force in 2008 and complements the existing law where individuals can be prosecuted for gross negligence manslaughter/culpable homicide and for health and safety offences. The Act does not change this and prosecutions against individuals will continue to be taken where there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest to do so. The new offence applies to all companies and other corporate bodies operating in the UK, whether incorporated in the UK or abroad.
16.4 Examples of specific legislative requirements satisfied by arc flash analysis.
The following are some examples of where an arc flash hazard analysis as part of a risk assessment can help to comply with the above legislation.
- Satisfy legal requirements for risk assessment which is embodied in law through Directive 89/391 (EU Workplace Health and Safety Directive) and how this directive is interpreted in secondary legislation in member countries such as Regulation 3 of the UK Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. Analysing the risks requires some measure of severity of the arc flash hazard. In both the Directive and the Regulations mentioned, an evaluation of risks that cannot be avoided is required by the Principles of Prevention.
- Any interactions which may be perceived as live work, including diagnostic testing need to be justified in Great Britain and Northern Ireland separately under regulation 14 of the Electricity at work regulations. Safety Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 2007 Part 3 – Electricity apply in the Republic of Ireland.
- By doing the hazard severity calculations, the onset of a second-degree burn, or partial thickness burn can be predicted at a distance from the possible arcing source. The distance at which the onset of a second-degree burn is calculated is called the arc flash boundary and is used within US and Canadian safety standards to determine the measures that will be required to protect workers. In the UK, Designers may find that this information will help with a quantifiable approach to working space requirements of regulation 15 of the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989. (NI 1991) and 87 of the Irish Safety Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations.
- The determination of prospective short circuit current levels is required by regulation four and five of the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989. (NI 1991)
- Technical knowledge about the system to be worked on or near is a key ingredient in the
competence of the individual undertaking that work. HSR25 Memorandum of guidance on
the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 states “The scope of technical knowledge or
experience may include:
- adequate knowledge of electricity;
- adequate experience of electrical work;
- adequate understanding of the system to be worked on and practical experience of that class of system;
- understanding of the hazards which may arise during the work and the precautions that need to be taken;
- ability to recognise at all times whether it is safe for work to continue.”
- To be able to comply with the Electricity at Work Regulations 4 and 14 and 86 (1d) and (2a) of the Irish Safety Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations, the selection of control measures including PPE would be very difficult to achieve without a measure of the actual hazard.
- Ensure compliance with European Council PPE Directive 89/656/EEC and UK Personal
Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 (NI 1993) in carrying out a risk assessment.
“PPE can only be prescribed after the employer has analysed the risks which cannot be
avoided by other means.” In addition, by following the 4P steps in this guide, this will help
to ensure that measures can be taken to reduce incident energy levels and therefore
remove some of the issues to do with sensory deprivation. Before choosing personal
protective equipment, Article 5 of 89/656/EEC asks us to assess whether the PPE that we
intend to use will satisfy the following requirements.
- be appropriate for the risks involved, without itself leading to any increased risk;
- correspond to existing conditions at the workplace;
- take account of ergonomic requirements and the worker's state of health;
- fit the wearer correctly after any necessary adjustment.