Electrical Regulations 2015

We would like to keep you informed with regard to the latest version of the Electrical Regulations that came into effect on the 1st of July this year.  One of the changes we would like to highlight in particular is on the grounds of Health & Safety, regarding the containment to cables in emergency exit corridors and the provision of fire resistant supports.

Please take a few moments to read the below article taken from the IET website;

 Fire resisting supports in escape routes

BS 7671:2011+A3:2015 (IET Wiring Regulations Seventeenth Edition), which was published in January 2015 and comes into effect on 1 July, will include a requirement that wiring systems in escape routes shall have fire-resisting supports. The requirement is included in a new regulation (Regulation 521.11.201), which is reproduced below.

521.11.201 Wiring systems in escape routes shall be supported such that they will not be liable to premature collapse in the event of fire. The requirements of Regulation 422.2.1 shall also apply, irrespective of the classification of the conditions for evacuation in an emergency.

NOTE 1: Non-metallic cable trunking or other non-metallic means of support can fail when subject to either direct flame or hot products of combustion. This may lead to wiring systems hanging across access or egress routes such that they hinder evacuation and firefighting activities.

NOTE 2: This precludes the use of non-metallic cable clips, cable ties or trunking as the sole means of support. For example, where non-metallic trunking is used, a suitable fire-resistant means of support/retention must be provided to prevent cables falling out in the event of fire.

The term ‘wiring system’, which is used in the regulation, is defined in BS 7671 as ‘an assembly made up of cable or busbars and parts which secure and, if necessary, enclose the cable or busbars.’  Thus the term covers cables (and busbars) together with any containment system for them, such as conduit, trunking and cable tray.

Reason for the new regulation

The purpose of Regulation 512.11.201 is to improve the safety of firefighters and others in escape routes under fire conditions.  Wiring systems that drop and hang across escape routes due to failure of a means of support in fire conditions have the potential to entangle persons.  In recent years, a number of firefighters have died as a result of being entangled in this way.

Non-metallic cable clips, cable ties, conduit or cable trunking

As pointed out in Note 2 to Regulation 521.11.201, the requirements of the regulation effectively rule out the use of non-metallic cable clips, cable ties and conduit or cable trunking as the sole means of support for the cables in escape routes.  The cables must be secured at appropriate intervals by proven metal supports that have adequate fire resistance, and that are fixed to non-combustible substrate of the building.

Metal cable management systems

Although the notes to Regulation 521.11.201 refer to non-metallic trunking (amongst other types of non-metallic cable support), the regulation itself applies equally to wiring systems that include, for example, a metal cable management system, such as a steel conduit, trunking or cable tray or a metal casing of a busbar trunking system.

Metal cable management systems in escape routes must not rely for support on anything liable to fail prematurely in the event of fire, as the collapse of such a cable management system could hinder or prevent escape in some way, even if not by entanglement.

Type of circuit, system or electrical service

It should also be noted that the requirements of Regulation 521.11.201 apply for all types of circuit, systems and electrical service that encroach on escape routes, irrespective of rated voltage.  These might include (amongst others):

  1. distribution circuits;
  2. final circuits;
  3. safety services*; and
  4. data and communications services.

* For fire alarm and emergency lighting systems, BS 5859 and BS 5266, respectively, also include recommendations and/or requirements about the fire resistance of cable supports and cables.

Application of Regulation 422.2.1

A further requirement of Regulation 521.11.201 is that the requirements of Regulation 422.2.1 shall also apply, irrespective of the classification of the conditions for evacuation in an emergency. Regulation 422.2.1 contains various provisions for safety in the event of a wiring system being affected by fire.

What constitutes an escape route?

An escape route is a route designated for escape to a place of safety in the event of an emergency.

Escape routes may include not only defined routes such as corridors, stairways and hallways, but also open areas through which escaping persons might reasonably be expected to need to pass on their way to a place of safety.

For premises covered by The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (FSO), which applies in England and Wales, the designation of the escape routes is part of the risk assessment that the FSO requires the ‘responsible person’ to carry out and keep up to date.  Similar legal requirements apply in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

*These regulations cover any work taking place from the 1st of July 2015 and are now a British Standard.

 

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The Preventative Role of PAT Testing

electrical testing

 

The Electricity At Work Regulations Act 1989 sets out the required standards of electrical safety within industry and commerce.

It may be of some surprise that nowhere in the regulation is there a specific requirement for the testing of portable appliances (PAT Testing). There is, however, an onus on the duty holder to ensure that equipment in the workplace is maintained so as to prevent danger.

This obligation to prevent danger creates a requirement to perform periodic inspection and testing; without such actions the duty holder will be unable to establish the potential dangers exposed by faulty or unsafe equipment.

In the event of an electrical accident, property damage or personal injury occurring, PAT Testing can demonstrate a responsible and diligent approach towards safety that may subsequently be required by the HSE, local authorities and insurance companies.


The consequences of electrical faults

There is considerable evidence that faulty electrical appliances continue to pose a real threat to people and property.

HSE statistics reveal that last year alone there were 262 electrical related injuries including two fatalities.

However, potential electrocution represents only part of the problem associated with faulty electrical items. They play a major role in commercial and industrial property fires which are also a major cause of deaths and injuries.

Faulty appliances and leads caused more than 4000 fires in commercial and industrial buildings last year.  


How can you meet your obligations?

The Health and Safety Executive provide guidance on regulations in the Memorandum of guidance on the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989, available for download here.

To give our clients peace of mind that they are demonstrating compliance, Wing’s can provide a periodic portable appliance testing and inspection service that includes maintaining the asset register, risk assessing, recording results and maintaining records.

For more information click here or contact us to arrange a free consultation.

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Legionnaires’ Disease Spotlight

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Introduction

Legionellosis is the collective name given to the pneumonia-like illness caused by legionella bacteria. This includes the most serious legionnaires’ disease, as well as the similar but less serious conditions of Pontiac fever and Lochgoilhead fever.

Legionnaires’ disease is a potentially fatal form of pneumonia and everyone is susceptible to infection.

Where does it come from?

Legionella bacteria are widespread in natural water systems, e.g. rivers and ponds. However, the conditions are rarely right for people to catch the disease from these sources. Outbreaks of the illness occur from exposure to legionella growing in purpose-built systems where water is maintained at a temperature high enough to encourage growth, e.g. cooling towers, evaporative condensers, spa pools, and hot water systems used in all sorts of premises (work and domestic).

How do people get it? 

People can catch legionnaires’ disease by inhaling small droplets of water, suspended in the air, containing the bacteria. Certain conditions increase the risk from legionella, including:

• Water temperature between 20–45 °C, which is suitable for growth
• Creating and spreading breathable droplets of water, e.g. aerosol created by a cooling tower, or water outlets
• Stored and/or re-circulated water
• A source of nutrients for the organism e.g. presence of sludge, scale or fouling

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms are similar to those of flu, i.e. high temperature, fever and chills, cough, muscle pains and headache. In a severe case, there may also be pneumonia, and occasionally diarrhoea, as well as signs of mental confusion. Legionnaires’ disease is not known to spread from person to person.

LEGIONELLA CONTROL – HEALTH & SAFETY EXECUTIVES GET STRICT!

Schools are being told to do more to protect workers and members of the public from exposure to the Legionella bacteria.

You must understand how to:

– Identify and assess sources of risk
– Manage any risks
– Prevent or control any risks
– Keep the correct records
– Carry out any other duties you may have

Wing’s are offering our clients a FREE OF CHARGE AUDIT to confirm that 1) the advice and procedures that are being carried out are ensuring compliance 2) cost effectiveness 3) carried out to the best standards.

We can also offer specialist LEGIONELLA AWARENESS TRAINING for just £90 per person to enable your staff to carry out the above competently. Upon successful completion of the training the candidates will be qualified to carry out the above works within the Legionella control programme for your school.

Contact us for advice or to arrange a consultation.

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