Preventing Electrical Fires
Risk Control Guidance for Electrical Systems and Equipment
Electrical systems and equipment provide power to nearly all the commercial and industrial buildings around us. Each electrical system has the potential to be the source of ignition causing a fire or explosion. Fire and explosion hazards can be minimised through a combination of proper installation techniques, installation of proper protection devices, and adequate maintenance of electrical systems and equipment.
It’s critical to install and maintain electrical systems properly in order to control fire losses, by taking the following precautions:
- Installing mechanical protection devices to shut off the flow of electricity in the event of a ground fault.
- Using proper guarding and clearance around electrical equipment so it is accessible only to qualified personnel.
- Good housekeeping to ensure combustible materials are kept away from electrical equipment should faults occur.
- Grounding equipment to provide a path to facilitate the operation of over-current devices, prevent excessive voltages, and stabilise voltages.
- Following fire safety rules when using temporary wiring (often via temporary extension cords) and not relying on such wiring as a substitute for permanent wiring.
- Installing motors in well-ventilated areas where there is minimal dust, dirt or other materials present.
- Controlling dangerous static electricity by maintaining proper humidity levels, strategically placing static combs connected to the ground, maintaining proper bonding/grounding of flammable liquid containers, and providing specialised clothing and shoes for workers in areas containing flammable vapours.
- Using fire detection systems to detect fire early and facilitate a rapid response, as well as automatic fixed fire protection systems to suppress fires once detected.
How Management Can Reduce Risks
Management can reduce the potential and severity of an electrical system malfunction or failure by implementing an Electrical Preventive Maintenance (EPM) programme. The programmes have a number of benefits. They help ensure electrical equipment is repaired before it fails and requires expensive modifications, damages other parts of the system, or even leads to a catastrophic event like a fire or explosion. They can also help a business save money by improving equipment efficiency and reducing electrical consumption.
For more information, sign up to our Risk Academy, log in to the Risk Control Customer Portal, or email RCEUROPE@travelers.com
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