Owners, operators, installers, and maintainers of commercial and industrial electric power systems and equipment, along with design consultants and manufacturers, should be concerned with the electrical safety aspects associated with these systems and equipment. Electrical safety must be an integral part of all electrical equipment and systems design and installations. An in-depth knowledge and understanding of all applicable codes, standards, and regulations is a must for electrical safety in design. Safety professionals and officers knowledgeable in electrical equipment and systems as well as electrical safety must be included in the planning and design phases of all projects to insure that safety is discussed and included in the design.
Electrical safety in design and maintenance is critical because there are approximately 400 electrocutions each year in industry, with more than half of them occurring at less than 600 volts. There are also more than 2000 people admitted to burn centers each year from arc flash-related burns. Additionally, over 800 people die annually due to fires caused by electrical faults, mainly due to faulty design, installation, or maintenance of the electrical equipment and/or systems. Each year, electrical mishaps account for thousands of people sustaining shock and burn injuries. Electrical failures also result in billions of dollars in property damage each year; the vast majority of these incidents could have been prevented by applying electrical safety in the design, installation and maintenance of the electrical equipment and systems.
Current standards and regulations place minimum requirements on electrical system designers, installers, and manufacturers, which yields functional, reasonably safe electrical installations. Knowledge of the electrical hazards will assist in going beyond the minimum requirements and providing a safe and reliable electrical power system.