Regulatory Notice from Technical Safety BC: Requirement to De-Energize Electrical Equipment Before Carrying out Work on Electrical Equipment

EIN Technical Safety BC 400

July 17, 2020

In British Columbia, the design, construction, and installation of electrical equipment must be in accordance with the BC Electrical Code. The completed installation must have live parts guarded or protected against accidental contact – through safety provisions such as cabinets, enclosures, covers, insulation, or other guards or barriers (see Rules 2‐200 and 2‐202). BC Electrical Code rules 2‐300 and 2‐304 require that equipment shall be maintained in a safe and proper working condition, and that safety provisions of the installed equipment shall not be bypassed or removed unless the equipment has been de‐energized. Work on electrical equipment often requires removal of covers, or other guards or barriers, which defeats the purpose of these safety features by exposing live parts.

The BC Electrical Code requires that electrical equipment must be deenergized before working on electrical equipment. The only exception is where complete disconnection is not feasible. Examples of possible exceptions include work involving testing, or circumstances where disconnection could create a greater hazard. Inconvenience or additional costs are not considered acceptable grounds for removing or bypassing the protective safety provisions of electrical equipment.

Directive No. D‐EL 2016-02 interprets Rule 2‐304 as meaning that electrical work may only be carried out in a de‐energized state, unless it can be demonstrated that the task to be performed is not possible in a de‐energized state.

Examples of circumstances where a person may be able to demonstrate that complete disconnection is not feasible may include:

  • installations where equipment design prohibits complete disconnection;
  • performance of work such as troubleshooting of control circuits, or testing and diagnostics, where complete disconnection is not possible due to operational limitations; or
  • conditions in which de‐energizing the equipment introduces additional or increased hazards.

Go HERE for more information

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