Taking the proper control measures when working with electricity

As the UK’s leading provider of fire suppression maintenance solutions, Pure Power has a comprehensive knowledge of the equipment – mechanical and electrical – used in this field.

The experience and expertise of our engineers has been acquired over many years, on projects in a wide range of industry sectors. Safety must always be the first consideration before any work is undertaken. Above all, live working must be avoided at all costs.

We always establish a safe system of working, conducting a risk and method statement to establish any and all electrical hazards involved. An assessment covers:

  • who could be harmed by electrical hazards;
  • how the level of risk has been established; and
  • the precautions taken to control that risk.

The risk assessment should take into consideration the type of electrical equipment used, the way in which it is used and the environment that it is used in.

You must make sure that the electrical installation and the electrical equipment is:

  • suitable for its intended use and the conditions in which it is operated
  • only used for its intended purpose

In wet surroundings, unsuitable equipment can become live and make its surroundings live too. Fuses, circuit-breakers and other devices must be correctly rated for the circuit they protect. Isolators and fuse-box cases should be kept closed and, if possible, locked.

Once a full assessment of the equipment and safety risks has been made, we follow up with a lockout/tagout procedure. This is used to prevent accidental or unauthorised access to electrical power sources that are undergoing maintenance or other work. The basic steps of a lockout/tagout procedure may include:

  • Machine shutdown. The machine or equipment connected to the serviced line or circuit is turned off to prevent a hazard to workers as a result of equipment de-energisation.
  • Equipment isolation. All switches, disconnects, or isolating devices needed to control the machine must be located and activated so that the equipment is isolated from the energy source (the power supply is shut off).
  • Lockout/tagout. Each worker who will work on the equipment applies a lock and tag to the lockout device.
  • Stored energy – such as in capacitors or batteries – must be discharged, disconnected and/or restrained and rendered safe.
  • Verification of isolation. De-energised equipment is checked to confirm that there is no power present. Workers may operate switches or other normal controls to verify that all energy sources have been disconnected and the equipment will not operate.

What is the correct equipment for proving dead?

You should use a dedicated voltage indicator and a proving unit when carrying out this procedure when working on or testing any electrical circuits, whatever the voltage is.

It is important to note that the voltage indicator MUST be able to work without the need for a battery, if you are using a device that needs a battery in order to work and the battery is flat, then you will not be able to prove if the circuit is dead or not!

The procedure for proving dead is to take your voltage indicator and check it against a known source, such as a proving unit, then test the circuit, then test the voltage indicator against the known source again to prove the tester has not failed during testing.