AROUND THE PROVINCES: General Electrical Safety and PPE Requirements

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A common safety hazard in many workplaces is the risk of electrical shock or burns. As with all safety hazards, you should first attempt to eliminate or minimize workers’ exposure to electrical hazards through engineering measures, such as installing guards to prevent workers from contacting energized electrical equipment. If engineering measures aren’t sufficient, then you should use administrative measures, such as safe work procedures that specify the minimum safe distances for working near equipment that could pose an electrical hazard. But in some cases, administrative measures also won’t be sufficient or practical. So as a last resort, you should ensure that workers exposed to electrical hazards use appropriate PPE, such as rubber gloves, flame resistant clothing, non-conductive headgear and safety footwear that provides dielectric protection. In fact, the OHS regulations specify the PPE required to protect workers from various kinds of electrical hazards. Here’s a look at the general electrical safety and PPE requirements in each jurisdiction’s OHS law. (Note that this chart doesn’t include PPE requirements that apply only to specific industries such as mining or specific workers such as tree trimmers.)

KNOW THE LAWS: General Electrical Safety and PPE Requirements
FED Canada OHS Regulations:

1. When electrical equipment has a voltage in excess of 5,200 V between any two conductors or in excess of 3,000 V between any conductor and ground:

a. the qualified person or employee must use such insulated protection equipment as will protect him from injury during the performance of the work; and

b. the employee referred to above must be instructed and trained in the use of the insulated protection equipment [Sec. 8.4(2)].

2. When there’s a hazard of electric shock through footwear in a workplace, protective footwear that meets the standards set out in CSA Standard Z195-M1984, Protective Footwear, the English version of which is dated March 1984 and the French version of which is dated Dec. 1984, must be used [Sec. 12.5(1)].

AB OHS Code 2009:

1. If a worker may be exposed to an electrical equipment flashover, an employer must ensure the worker wears flame resistant outerwear and uses other protective equipment appropriate to the hazard [Sec. 232(1)].

2. If a hazard assessment identifies that protective footwear needs to have electrical protection, the employer must ensure the worker wears protective footwear that’s approved to:

a. CSA Standard Z195‐02, Protective Footwear; or

b. ASTM Standard F2413‐05, Specification for Performance Requirements for Protective Footwear,

if the protective footwear was manufactured on or after July1, 2009 [Sec. 233(2)].

BC OHS Regs.:

1. If a worker may be exposed to an electrical hazard, the safety headgear must have an appropriate non-conductive rating [Sec. 8.11(3)].

2. Properly fitting safety eyewear appropriate to the conditions of the workplace must be worn if a worker is working on or testing electrical equipment energized at a potential greater than 30 volts [Sec. 8.14(2)(b)].

3. If a determination has been made that safety protective footwear is required to have dielectric protection, the footwear must meet the requirements of:

a. CSA Standard CAN/CSA-Z195-M92, Protective Footwear;

b. ANSI Standard Z41-1991, American National Standard for Personal Protection — Protective Footwear;

c. British Safety Institution Standard BS EN 345:1993 Specification for Safety Footwear for Professional Use; or

d. British Safety Institution Standard BS EN 346:1993 Specification for Protective Footwear for Professional Use [Sec. 8.22(3)].

4. Except as specified in Sec. 19.10(3), if it isn’t practicable to completely disconnect low voltage electrical equipment, work must be performed by qualified and authorized workers and in accordance with written safe work procedures, which require the use of PPE appropriate to the hazards and risks associated with the voltage at which the electrical equipment is operating [Sec. 19.10(2)(a)].

MB Workplace Safety & Health Reg.:

1. At a workplace that isn’t a construction project site, an employer must provide a worker with protective headwear that’s appropriate for the risk and meets the requirements of CSA Standard Z94.1-05, Industrial Protective Headwear — Performance, Selection, Care and Use or ANSI Z89.1-2003, American National Standard for Industrial Head Protection, if there’s a risk of injury to the worker from contact with an exposed energized electrical conductor [Sec. 6.10(1)(b)].

2. An employer must provide a worker with appropriate gloves or mitts and sleeves if there’s a risk of injury to the worker from contact with an exposed energized electrical conductor [Sec. 6.14(2)].

3. If it isn’t reasonably practicable to de-energize electrical equipment before electrical work is done, an employer must ensure that no electrical worker begins work on energized electrical equipment until the worker wears all PPE appropriate for the work to be done [Sec. 38.14(2)(f)].

NB General Reg.:

1. An employer must ensure that an employee doesn’t work on an energized electrical utility line or utility line equipment or closer to an energized electrical utility line or utility line equipment than the applicable distance set out in Sec. 289(1) unless the employee uses rubber gloves, shields, insulated objects or other necessary protective equipment [Sec. 288].

2. When an employee is to set or remove poles, light standards or any similar object between energized electrical distribution conductors exceeding 750 volts, an employer must ensure the employee wears appropriately rated rubber gloves [Sec. 294(2)(a)].

NL OHS Regs. 2012:

1. When a determination has been made that safety protective footwear is required to have dielectric protection, the footwear must meet the requirements of CSA Standard CAN/CSA -Z195, Protective Footwear [Sec. 80(3)].

2. When a worker may be exposed to an electrical equipment flashover, an employer must ensure that the worker wears flame resistant outerwear and uses other protective equipment appropriate to the hazard [Sec. 82(1)].

3. When it isn’t practicable to completely disconnect low voltage electrical equipment, work must be performed in accordance with an electrical safety program in accordance with a standard acceptable to the minister that requires the use of appropriate electrical protective equipment, including flame retardant clothing, voltage-related rubber gloves and cover up [Sec. 484(2)(b)].

4. When it isn’t practicable to completely isolate high voltage electrical equipment, an employer must conduct a formal hazard assessment and develop an electrical safety program that includes providing appropriate electrical protective equipment, including rubber blankets, hoses, hoods, gloves and live line tools that must be selected, used, stored, tested and maintained in accordance with a standard acceptable to the minister [Sec. 490(2)(c)].

NS OHS General Reg.:

1. When a person is required to work on an energized electrical installation, an employer must, as necessary in the circumstances, provide a person with all protective equipment and devices:

a. necessary to work safely on an energized electrical installation; and

b. that comply with the latest version of the applicable standard listed below:

i. ASTM D120, “Standard Specification for Rubber Insulating Gloves,”

ii. ASTM D1051, “Standard Specification for Rubber Insulating Sleeves,”

iii. ASTM D1048, “Standard Specification for Rubber Insulating Blankets,”

iv. ASTM D1050, “Standard Specification for Rubber Insulating Line Hose,”

v. ASTM D1049, “Standard Specification for Rubber Insulating Covers,”

vi. ASTM D 178, “Standard Specification for Rubber Insulating Matting,”

vii. ASTM F696, “Standard Specification for Leather Protectors for Rubber Insulating Gloves and Mittens,” and

viii. ASTM F711, “Standard Specification for Fiberglass-Reinforced Plastic (FRP) Rod and Tube Used in Live Line Tools” [Sec. 123(1)].

2. A person who’s required to work on an energized electrical installation must use the appropriate protective equipment or devices required above [Sec. 123(2)].

3. A person may use rubber gloves instead of hot line tools to handle energized power lines or power line equipment rated at greater than 750 v phase to phase, when a written work procedure has been adopted as a code of practice by order of the Director for use in such circumstances [Sec. 124(2)].

NT OHS Regs.:

1. If a worker may contact an exposed energized conductor, an employer must provide, and require the worker to use, approved industrial head protection that’s of adequate dielectric strength to protect the worker [Sec. 94(2)].

2. If there’s a risk of injury to the skin of an electrical worker from arc flash, an employer must provide the electrical worker with, and require the electrical worker to use, approved arc flash protection [Sec. 98(3)].

3. If a qualified electrical worker works closer to an exposed energized conductor than the minimum distance set out in column 2 of Schedule Y, the employer must ensure the qualified electrical worker uses PPE that meets the requirements of Part 7 [Sec. 460(8)(a)(iii)].

NU General Safety Reg.:

An employer must ensure that a worker exposed to electrical hazards is provided with and wears non-conductive protective headgear of sufficient dielectric capacity to protect the worker [Sec. 44(1)].

*Note: The above reflects the current law at the time of publication. The new OHS regulations that took effect in NWT on June 1, 2015 are expected to take effect in NU eventually.

ON Industrial Establishments Reg.:

If it isn’t practical to disconnect electrical installations, equipment or conductors from the power supply before working on, or near, live exposed parts of the installations, equipment or conductors, the worker must use rubber gloves, mats, shields and other protective equipment and procedures adequate to ensure protection from electrical shock and burns while performing the work [Sec. 42.1(2)].

PE OHS Regs.:

1. When working on energized electrical conductors or equipment operating at a potential greater than 120 v nominal up to and including 5,000 v phase to phase, the employer must provide and the employee must use rubber gloves having a minimum rating of 10,000 v, shields and other necessary safety equipment [Sec. 36.5(2)].

2. When working on energized electrical conductors or equipment in excess of 5,000 v, and not exceeding 15,000 v phase to phase, the employer must provide and the employee must wear rubber gloves having a minimum rating of 20,000 v or use adequate hot line tools [Sec. 36.5(3)].

3. Rubber gloves must be tested at least twice a year and replaced as required [Sec. 36.5(4)].

4. Rubber gloves must be worn at all times while working on energized circuits in accordance with Sec. 36.6 or while within the primary zone on any poles or structure carrying over 120 v phase to ground to 25000 phase to phase circuits [Sec. 36.5(5)].

5. The employer must ensure that employees don’t work in or around any place or structure in proximity to energized electrical conductors or equipment unless:

a. adequate protective guards are provided; or

b. the employees are wearing adequate protective equipment [Sec. 36.10].

6. The employer must ensure that when setting or removing poles, light standards or any similar object between energized electrical conductors exceeding 600 v, workers wear adequate rubber gloves [Sec. 36.17(a)].

QC Reg. respecting occupational health and safety:

The wearing of protective shoes in compliance with CAN/CSA Standard Z195-02 Protective Footwear is mandatory for all workers exposed to foot injuries incurred by electric shock [Sec. 344(2)].

SK OHS Regs.:

1. When a worker may contact an exposed energized electrical conductor, an employer or contractor must provide, and require the worker to use, approved industrial protective headwear that’s of adequate dielectric strength to protect the worker [Sec. 91(3)].

2. When there’s a risk of injury to the skin of an electrical worker from arc flash, an employer or contractor must provide the electrical worker with, and require the electrical worker to use, arc flash protection that meets an approved standard [Sec. 94(3)].

3. When a worker may contact an exposed energized high voltage electrical conductor, an employer or contractor must provide, and require the worker to use, approved rubber insulating gloves and mitts and approved rubber insulating sleeves [Sec. 97(2)].

4. When a qualified electrical worker works closer to an exposed energized electrical conductor than the minimum distance set out in column 2 of Table 22 of the Appendix, an employer or contractor must ensure that the qualified electrical worker uses personal protective equipment that meets the requirements of Part VII [Sec. 465(5)(a)(iii)].

YT OHS Reg.:

1. The worker must be required to wear effective and appropriate footwear and ensure that footwear selected for dielectric protection meets the requirements of:

a. CSA Standard Z195-02, Protective Footwear;

b. ANSI Standard Z41, Footwear, Protective Personal Protection; or

c. other similar standards acceptable to the director [Sec. 1.13(c)].

2. Appropriate skin, hand, foot or body protection must be provided if a worker may be exposed to electrical shock [Sec. 1.14].

3. Safety headwear must be provided to and worn by workers, and must have a non-conductive rating when workers may be exposed to electrical hazards [Sec. 1.18(a)].

4. A worker must be required to wear properly fitting safety eyewear, goggles, face shields, side shields, glasses or other such protective items provided by the employer and appropriate to the workplace conditions when the worker is exposed to electric arcs or is working on or testing energized electrical equipment [Sec. 1.22].

5. If it isn’t practicable to completely disconnect low-voltage electrical equipment, work must be authorized by the employer and performed by electrical workers in accordance with written safe work procedures that require the use of appropriate electrical protective equipment, including rubber gloves and cover up [Sec. 9.07(3)(a)].

6. When it isn’t practicable to completely isolate high-voltage electrical equipment prior to electrical workers beginning work on it, appropriate electrical protective equipment, including rubber blankets, hoses, hoods, gloves and live line tools must be selected, used, stored, tested, and maintained in accordance with their applicable, specified Underwriters Laboratories of Canada standards [Sec. 9.09(2)(c)].