CSA Z462-12 Workplace electrical safety, What’s New in 2012?
This edition will both technically update the Standard and adds a considerable amount of resource material – especially for organizations seeking to make electrical safety an integral part of their safety management system. Following are a few of the key changes to this high- value, nationally-recognized safety standard.
“Arc Rated” Protective Equipment
New to this edition of Z462 is the term “arc rated” as applied to protective equipment. This term is being introduced to protective equipment in order to distinguish the arc flash protection offered from the flame resistance or flash-fire resistance (FR rating) of equipment or clothing. Note: the arc rating assigned to protective equipment should not be confused with the arc flash incident energy calculated or estimated for electrical equipment (circuits). The former refers to the amount of protection offered while the latter refers to the nature of the hazard.
Arc Flash Boundary
The “arc flash protection boundary” has been renamed the “arc flash boundary.” Along with this subtle change in terminology, Z462-12 clarifies the function of the boundary as defining a hazard zone (a conceptual boundary) around potentially hazardous electrical equipment. This is important to the understanding of how safety procedures should apply both inside and outside this area. The new edition of the Standard now stipulates that the boundary must either be calculated or obtained from the applicable Hazard/Risk Category Table.
PPE Tables for Use with Incident Energy Calculations
A new table has been added to assist employers in selecting arc flash personal protective equipment (PPE) when they perform an arc flash hazard analysis and post the arc flash energy levels on their equipment. Most employers currently attempt to use the Hazard/Risk Category PPE Table (No. 5) to identify arc flash PPE requirements. However, this approach can lead to problems as this table was not designed for that purpose. The new table will also assist the electrical industry to begin to identify arc flash PPE by its energy rating and move away from the practice of identifying it by a category number.
“Hazard” and “Risk” – Two Distinct, but Related Terms
CSA Z462-08 used the terms “hazard” and “risk” interchangeably, sometimes combining them into a single term; “hazard/risk.” In addition, the term “hazard” was incorrectly treated as a quantity. CSA Z462-12 uses these terms in a manner more in line with their use in other CSA and international safety standards. Why is this distinction important? Modern safety management systems recognize that “hazards” should be identified and eliminated (if possible). At the same time, they lay out various processes for reducing “risk” to a point at which it is effectively controlled. By applying this elimination and control strategy to electrical safety, the 2012 edition of Z462 goes beyond the traditional safety measures of simply outfitting everyone inside the hazard zone (limit of approach) with personal protective equipment. It sets as a high priority the need to consider eliminating or controlling hazardous energy, followed by strategies to eliminate or reduce worker exposure to those hazards, followed in turn by designing procedures that lessen the likelihood of creating conditions that would lead to electrical incidents and harm to the individual.
While Z462-08 specified that workers should receive periodic training to maintain an “appropriate” level of awareness, it was left to the employer to determine what was “appropriate” and the frequency of retraining. The 2012 edition Z462 specifies the target level of awareness and a retraining cycle of no less than three years (more often if circumstances warrant).
DC Safety-related Work Practices
The 2nd edition of Z462 has considerably more information on safety-related practices relating to work on and around DC systems. A new Shock Protection Boundary Table for DC systems and an arc flash energy calculation method for DC systems have been added. Extensive revisions have been made to deal with safety-related practices for batteries, battery rooms and battery enclosures. Both high value for anyone working on or around DC equipment.
Courtesy of CSA Standards August 8 2012