One of the frequently asked questions, which we often come across from the various organization, is when we have a system of conducting ‘Occupational Safety & Health’ audit as per IS 14489, is there any additional need of conducting Electrical or Electrical Safety Audit?
To get an answer to this question, we need to understand that safety is the prime priority for all of us. For any organization, according to almost all the available and applicable rules, regulations & acts (like OSHA, Factories Act, IE Act 2003, Occupational Safety Health & Working Condition Code 2020, CEA Regulations etc.), it is the responsibility of the occupier (plant owner or plant manager) to provide a safe work environment for its employees and in the event of an accident, the onus is on the occupier.
We must also take a note that the CEA Regulations – 2010 and amendments thereafter, has made it mandatory to appoint an ‘Electrical Safety Officer’ for every electrical installation including factory registered under the Factories Act, 1948 (63 of 1948) and mines and oil field as defined in the Mines Act, 1952 (35 of 1952), where more than 250 kW of electrical load is connected.
The Electrical Safety Officer shall ensure periodic inspection of electrical installations, get them tested and keep a record thereof and such records shall be made available to the Electrical Inspector if and when required. This means Electrical Safety Officer needs to comply with all the relevant electrical safety requirements.
It may be noted that the major causes of Industrial fire & explosion are electrical hazards and faulty electrical equipment and machinery. Hence, the electrical system needs focused attention.
Electrical Audit or Electrical Safety Audit is a very important fact-finding exercise and gap analysis study highly focused on electrical issues to ensure the healthiness and reliability of the electrical installations.
Electrical Safety Auditor reviews and checks the test & inspection records vis-à-vis their compliance to the applicable standards, rules & regulations and guides the Electrical Safety Officer and his/her team to discharge their responsibilities through compliance, observation based on the critically and executable recommendation.
Hence, Electrical Audit or Electrical Safety Audit is always recommended to enhance the safety performances of the organization. Such electrical safety audits may be undertaken by third party agencies, who are experts in the field and knowledgeable about the latest applicable standards (IS / IEC) and the safety regulations.
The next frequently asked question may be what should be the frequency of an Electrical Safety Audit?
So far, the compliance to Electrical Safety activities is concerned, as per the CEA Regulations 2010 and its subsequent amendments -
Earthing measurement log shall be kept a minimum of two times a year. The measurement of earthing is required to be done/demonstrated to the third party at sample locations as a minimum.
Inspection of HV works is required to be done every two years.
If there are any issues observed, the audit is required to highlight and witness the closure of the points. This is done every three years.
For an existing plant with no history of any electrical issues, a third-party audit can be conducted every 5 years.
According to our opinion, after the first audit, there shall be one follow-up & compliance audit also. Hence, so far frequency of electrical safety audits is concerned, the organization must take calls based on their sizes, complexity, number of electrical & fire incidents, number of electrical faults & tripping etc.