What is "Electrical Safety"?
By Electrical Safety is generally meant the freedom from unacceptable risk of hazards brought about by the use of Electricity within Equipment/Machinery. Not only the freedom from unacceptable risk of Electric Shock by direct or indirect contact with hazardous live parts - but also the hazards associated with high leakage current (touch current) that may be present in the Electrical Equipment / Machinery due to designed-in EMC Countermeasures such as EMC power circuit Line Filters that contain relatively large value capacitors between active conductors and Protective Earth. Such high leakage currents may become potentially very hazardous in cases that the adequacy or integrity of the Protective Earth connection to the Facility Earth is interupted.
Electrical Safety matters may also include the hazards of fire, that can be generated by overheating due to poor electrical connections, overloading circuits or inadequately specified components etc - causing smouldering and possible burning resulting in fire hazards and associated toxic fumes perhaps.
Not only what is generally considered to be "high" votages - such as mains voltages (typically 100vac to 240Vac) can cause electric shock.....or fire hazards in fault conditions and poor design.......even in "dry" conditions voltages exceeding SELV (safe extra low voltage) typically above 60Vdc / 43Vac(pk) can cause electric shock. In "wet" conditions voltage sources above 6Vac or 15Vdc can, depending upon conditions and area of body contact, also be considered to be hazardous.
Additionally - relatively low voltage sources (such as ELV 12V ac/dc) can have enough energy to cause fires hazards - it is generally considered that souces of voltage supply that can maintain an 8 Amp supply are capable of causing fires under fault conditions.
In Electrical Equipment/Machinery generally the supply voltages range from 100Vac thru 230Vac (single phase) to 400Vac 3 phase . In Electricity Distribution Network Terminology this voltage range is within the 50Vac to 1000Vac and is therefore classed as "Low Voltage" (LV). This terminology explains the sometimes confusing name of Low Voltage assigned to the EU Directive on Electrical Safety......i.e. Low Voltage Directive (LVD). As part of the SAFE design/development and implementation of Electrical Equipment/Machinery it is essential that where possible components/sub-assemblies already "approved"/"listed" against the appropriate stds are used - in certain cases this may not be possible and in such cases proof of the electrical safety of these components/sub-assemblies will need to be demonstrated by means other than approval certs and correct installation and usage.
Through our "trading as" name of "Safety Related Control Systems" Projects etc Pty., Ltd., is a NATA Accredited "Type A" (Independent) Inspection Body for Electrical Safety/Machinery Safety and Designated EU Notified Body for the EU Low Voltage Directive (2006/95/EC) and EU Machine Directive (2006/42/EC)under the EU/Aust MRA - pending. See our scope of accreditation on the NATA Web Site (www.nata.com.au) under accreditation number 17171
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