Health & Safety Executive

Where greater guidance is deemed necessary, the HSE issue notes to assist. The following are relevant but not comprehensive:

a) GS 50 (2014) - It is recommended that sockets being used by entertainers be RCD protected.

b) PM 32 (Nov 1990) - Safe Use of Portable Electrical Apparatus allows the use of RCD protection for portable electrical apparatus.

c) HSG 261 (2009) - Health and safety in motor vehicle repair and associated industries*-

Sockets for equipment in wet or damp environments must be protected by a residual current device (RCD) of 30 mA/40 ms specification or an earth-monitoring device in the electrical supply to the device. The RCD must be trip-tested at appropriate intervals.

d) HSG220 (2014) - Health and Safety in Care Homes* - Calls for outdoor portable equipment to be protected by RCDs.

e) HS(G) 55 (1991) - Health and Safety in Kitchens and Food Preparation Areas*

Calls for RCD protection for pressure washing units and steam cleaners

f) HSE PM 29 I1995) - Electrical Risks from Steam/Water Pressure Cleaners*

Calls for portable equipment to be protected by an RCD g) HS(G) 41 - Petrol Filling Stations*

174: Protective multiple earthing suggests that where part of a larger installation, a filling station should be provided with its own earth (TT installation). It should then have its own RCD protection.

200: Portable and transportable equipment. Where voltages above 10 volts are supplied an RCD rated 30mA should be provided.

216: General (Protection against electrical shock). All circuits feeding equipment on the forecourt must be disconnected in a time not exceeding 200mS in event of the occurrence of an earth fault.

*Note. As these are areas of increased risk, please refer to BS7671 (17th Edition) Regulation 411

Department of Education (In Building Bulletin 76)

Maintenance of Electrical Services (1992) suggests:

• A higher standard of electrical protection can be achieved through the use of RCDs

• Safety features, such as RCDs are of paramount importance

• A policy of fitting RCDs in all halls in educational premises should be adopted, if to be used for public performances, etc.

• All external socket outlets and outlets which will supply equipment to be used outdoors should be protected by an RCD. • Socket outlets in plant areas should be protected by RCDs

In areas used for drama performance: The entire power systems and stage lighting system (potentially one of the greatest sources of danger

of electrical shock in educational premises) should be protected by RCDs

BS 6396 Electrical Systems in Office Furniture and Office Screens "It is preferred that multiple socket outlets are protected by an RCD”

BS 7036 Provision and Installation of Safety Devices for Automatic Power Operated Pedestrian Door Systems

"RCD protection should be provided so as to minimise electrical faults developing the risk of electrical shock and fires".

Brewers Society - guidance for licensees

While the guidance refers the reader to compliance with the Electricity at Work Regulations, it is relevant to point out that parts of licensed premises are areas of increased risk and reference should be made to BS 7671 (17th Edition), Regulation 411. The HSE document GS 50 may also be relevant.

Consumer Safety Unit

Business Innovation & Skills recognise that RCDs are an essential contribution to home safety. In previous consumer research with RCDs, it was estimated that 200 hospital related injuries and 25 deaths each year were caused by electrical currents. Combine this with the 5,000 fires that are started due to electrical fault, resulting in 20 deaths and 500 casualties, and the new regulations demonstrate the full potential of RCD protection.

IET Codes of practice for in-service inspections and testing of electrical equipment

The length of extension leads should not exceed the following:

Extension leads exceeding the above lengths should be fitted with a 30mA RCD manufactured to BS 7071.

Core area 1.25mm2

1.5mm2 2.5mm2

Maximum length 12 metres 15 metres 25 metres

Cable reels must be used within their reeled or unreeled ratings as appropriate.

Product Liability

Manufacturers are required to ensure that their products are virtually foolproof to install and use. This takes particularly strong demands on electrical equipment manufacturers.

Most electrical accidents are caused by damaged or worn cables, or loose connections, and many electric appliances are now double- insulated, giving a limited degree of protection. The careless use of some equipment, such as lawnmowers, hedgetrimmers and power tools, however, can result in damage to their own cables. Appliances using water as a cleaning medium (e.g. floor scrubbers, washing machines and dish washers) can become live as a result of water spillage or leaks.

The increase in product liability legislation has already convinced some manufacturers to fit RCDs to their equipment as standard, or to offer them as accessories. This practice is likely to grow and companies which ignore the trend will do so at risk to the future of their business.


The use of RCDs in the UK is already widespread and is set to increase as installations are refurbished and designed to comply with the 17th Wiring Regulations and other relevant legislation. Having foreseen these trends some years ago, GreenBrook Electrical has developed new generation technology to secure its position as the leading UK supplier of RCDs. Not only does GreenBrook Electrical have a comprehensive range of RCDs, but several items present unique and innovative solutions to satisfy the users requirements.

Manufactured to the highest standards with strict quality control procedures, PowerBreaker© RCDs are designed for long, reliable life. Supported by a nationwide network of electrical wholesalers and unparalleled marketing programmes, these top quality products satisfy the needs of virtually every type of application.

In its commitment to the highest levels of customer service and user safety, GreenBrook Electrical continues to provide specialist advice regarding the installation and application of RCDs across the broad spectrum of industrial, commercial and domestic installations. 19 

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