FEATURE ELECTRICAL SAFETY Common risk factors when working with electricity

People often underestimate the risks that simple factors play in electrical safety, from missing bolts in panel doors, un-blanked openings, corroded enclosures and ingress of liquids or dust. Electrical Safety UK explores some of the most common hazards

DAMAGED INSULATION Damaged insultation is a major risk factor, exposing people to electric shock risk, as well as burns, fire arcing and electrical explosions. Before using tools and equipment check for cracks, cuts or abrasions on cables, wires and cords. In the case of defects, equipment should not be used until it has been repaired.

WATER Electricity and water really do not mix. Wet locations greatly increased the risk of electrocution especially if the equipment is showing other signs of damage.

LIVE PANELS Working inside live electrical panels is not a good idea, even for those who are competent to do so. Live terminals present an electric shock hazard and the potential for an electrical flashover, also known as an arc flash incident. Only competent persons should work on electrical systems, and the priority is to

work on equipment that has been made dead, rather than working on or near live electrical systems.

COMPETENCE This plays a major part in designing and installing electrical wiring systems. Selecting the correct sized cable for a given load should take a number of factors into account and is a little more complicated than using a simple ‘look-up’ table. Selecting the correct size fuse or circuit breaker (correctly called a protective device) also requires skill in ensuring that circuits disconnect quickly, with minimal disruption caused. Only skilled individuals should undertake

electrical work; however, no-one should be complacent with regards to the harm that electricity can do. If it does not look or feel right, then it probably is not right. If in doubt - report it!

Electrical Safety UK

Martindale Electric has supplied Baxi Heating with testers for checking appliance wiring and earthing, together with locking off devices to ensure circuits can be safely isolated before carrying out any work. The tools keep their gas engineers safe when installing and servicing heating equipment and are essential for achieving compliance with the latest Gas Safe Register guidance TB118 2018 and ensure best practice for electrical safety. The changes to TB118 mean new test procedures

are now required to keep service engineers safe from electrical hazards. In addition to carrying out safe isolation procedures to prove that circuits are dead and locked off, the new guidance now requires verification of mains earthing.


Thermea, one of Europe’s largest manufacturers and distributors of domestic and commercial water and space heating systems. As an industry leader with more than 6,400 service engineers worldwide, Baxi Heating is at the forefront of improving gas service and installation engineers’ safety in the field, in accordance with the latest changes to TB118. After researching the market, Baxi Heating has

provided 250 of its trainers and engineers with a range of Martindale Electric equipment, which includes the EZ650 earth loop and polarity checker for socket and spur testing. The EZ650 simplifies the process for identifying a satisfactory earth, by combining a basic socket tester with an earth loop check that uses clear red / green LEDs, making it easy to interpret the results and see whether the earth loop value is within acceptable limits. The EZ650 socket and loop tester can be used on both 13A sockets and fused spurs to quickly identify a hazardous earth before starting work. This approach offers a simple solution to compliance and electrical safety for engineers and technicians working on and installing earthed appliances. An effective mains earth is essential for

appliances with earthed enclosures. Basic socket testers will not check the quality of the earth, to do this an earth loop impedance test is required. A low earth loop impedance measurement is important to ensure that fuses and miniature


circuit breakers achieve a fast enough disconnection time to avoid electrocution in the event of a fault. This approach of using an ‘Advanced Socket Tester’ offers a simple solution to earth loop checking and is common among service organisations. Engineers have also been supplied with a range

of equipment to securely lock off circuits such as the LOKFS1 universal fused spur locking off device; which offers a simple solution for safely isolating fixed wired appliances including cookers, boilers, hand dryers and water heaters; and the slim line LOK7, which is suitable for locking off MCBs, where there is restricted access. Locking off circuits and proving dead before

carrying out work on electrical equipment and systems is a requirement of the Electricity at Work Regulations HSG85 and TB118 to ensure the safety of workers on-site.

Martindale Electric 

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