Electrical Safety Audit is about detailed study of a plant's (or commercial facility's) existing electrical system and safety practices and recommend measures to improve overall electrical safety.
Electrical Safety is of prime importance as manpower of an Industrial plant interact on a daily basis with various electrical equipment. Electrical Safety Audit ensures that a plant is hazard free by identifying potential and probable hazards in the plant.
Electrical Safety Audit is about Identifying potential electrical hazards to prevent or minimize loss of life and property is perceived seriously by many industrial plants the world over. General safety auditing is popular where the objectives & concepts are clear whereas Electrical Safety Audit is a specialized area that is still in the process of being understood by many.
Industries, Warehouses, Offices and Commercial Establishments are exposed to fires and explosion hazards due to various reasons. As per the statistics available for a five-year period, 263 major accidents took place out of which 42% were due to fire. While analyzing the probable causes for fires & explosions, electrical reasons are undoubtedly the top among the ‘most probable causes’. Hence, electrical safety deserves maximum attention as electricity constitutes one of the major sources of ignition that could cause a fire or an explosion.
In factories, around 8% of all fatalities are due to accidents caused by electricity. Data compiled by international organizations like Fire Protection Association (FPA), UK and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA),USA indicate that nearly one fourth of all fires are caused by electrical appliances or installations. In India, the condition is still worse. Investigations of major fire incidents in various types of occupancies over a number of years show that nearly 40% of the fires are initiated by electrical causes such as short circuits, overloading, loose electrical connections, etc.
Although electrical hazards will be identified and assessed in general safety audits, comprehensive electrical safety audits can provide a thorough review of the electrical system. This could identify potential electrical hazards, flaws in design system, maintenance system, etc.
Periodicity of Safety Audits
Generally, the audit frequency will depend on the nature and type of activities within each area of operation. A reasonable general guide is that inspections should be carried out once each year, with more frequent inspections for specific areas or activities. Records of injury and damage accidents should be examined and use to identify high-risk areas and activities and consequently those needing more frequent inspection.
As a general thumb rule, audits by external agencies are carried out every two-three years and the internal team does the audit every year. Other than the routine safety audits, electrical safety audits should be initiated whenever there are capacity additions & major alterations in the electrical system, frequent electrical accidents, and process change in the plant that may require a re look at the electrical installations in the changed process section. It is recommended that the electrical design review and the implementation should be carried out prior to initiating the exercise of ESA when the above mentioned changes are planned / observed. Many organizations still confuse themselves with the terms ESA and electrical engineering studies.
As per Indian electricity Rule 46, all electrical installations are to be inspected with respect to Indian Electricity Regulations with a periodicity not exceeding once in 5 years by authorized electrical inspecting authorities. Electrical inspectors’ inspection and approval is required when the electrical installations are changed (added or modified) as per rule 63.