Electrical hazards can cause electrical shock and while they are likely to account for a small proportion of all accidents they may involve serious injury.
Electrical hazards may cause burns to the body and can start fires and explosions. These hazards can be minimised if all equipment and installations are inspected regularly by competent staff.
- Care should be taken to ensure electrical leads are not weakened by pulling, and that sockets and plugs are in a serviceable condition.
- Electrical fittings in laboratories where flammable solvents are used, must conform to standards established by the electrical authority where a particular area of that laboratory (fume cupboard) or bench has been zoned as hazardous according to NZS 6101 : Part 3 : 1991 Classification of Hazardous Areas - Specific Occupancies.
- Isolating transformers, residual current devices or similar should be used for damp situations.
- Electrical installation, repair and maintenance on mains voltage may only be undertaken by suitably qualified personnel.
- Static electricity can be a source of unexpected fires and explosions when handling non-conducting combustible materials.
Electrical safety standards are covered in the Electrical Regulations 1993. Any electrical work carried out in the laboratory must be performed by a qualified person and in compliance with these regulations.