Across Canada in 2007, 472 known injuries with electric current occurred on the job, and nine fatalities were recorded, according to the Association of Workers’ Compensation Board of Canada. The previous year, there were 567 injuries and 20 fatalities. To help lower these statistics, the Canadian Standards Association (CSA), a Toronto, Ontario-based developer of standards and codes, recently announced Canada’s first standard for workplace electrical safety. CSA’s “Z462 Workplace Electrical Safety”standard is designed to help prevent injuries and fatalities arising from the use of electricity on the job by specifying practical requirements for a safer workplace.

“This new Canadian Workplace Electrical Safetystandard will help employers and employees in assessing electrical hazards and in designing safer workspaces around electrical power systems and machinery,” says Suzanne Kiraly, president, Standards, Canadian Standards Association. “Standardized best practices such as those outlined in the Z462 standard, combined with proper training and awareness can help minimize the likelihood of injuries and fatalities on the job.”

Until now, workplaces in Canada and the United States relied solely on an American standard. Stakeholders in Canada agreed there was a need for a comprehensive Canadian standard that would better specify national requirements. The Z462 standard provides guidance on safety management systems, safe work procedures, and selection of personal protective equipment and other safety devices for persons exposed to hazards associated with energized electrical equipment. It further stipulates procedures for identifying hazardous electrical equipment and for the development of safe work procedures around this equipment.

Furthermore, CSA’s Z462 standard sets out requirements for the recognition of “qualified” electrical workers. This recognition of personnel who are considered qualified to perform electrical work is fundamental to the safety precautions established in the standard. It includes an extensive annex that provides guidance material and examples to assist users in implementing an effective electrical safety management system.

The Canadian Workplace Electrical Safetystandard is based on NFPA 70E, “Standard for Electrical Safety for the Workplace.” It is intended for use with Parts I, II, and III of the Canadian Electrical Code, and has been harmonized with CAN/CSA-Z460, “Control of Hazardous Energy — Lockout and Other Methods,” and CAN/CSA-M421, “Use of Electricity in Mines.”

For more information or to purchase a copy of “CSA Z462 WorkplaceElectrical Safety,”visit www.shopcsa.ca, phone CSA Standards at 800-463-6727, or e-mail sales@csa.ca. To help the industry understand and apply the standard, CSA also is offering training programs and seminars. Information on training is available at https://learningcentre.csa.ca.