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Publications Z462-12

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Z462-12 - Workplace electrical safety

Publication Year:

  • 2012


New edition now available!

Total Pages:



  • CSA

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The second edition of CSA Z462 was released in early January 2012. The new edition has been extensively revised and updated, with expanded criteria and guidance material. It has also been aligned with the changes and revisions to the 2012 edition of the Canadian Electrical Code Part I, also released in January 2012.

The 2nd edition of Z462 provides:
  • Advice on integrating electrical safety programs into OHS management systems
  • Best safety practices for work on and around electrical equipment
  • Guidance on due diligence in prevention of electrical injuries
  • Methods for identifying electrical hazards and assessing risk
  • Targets for electrical hazard awareness and training for workers
Important Changes to the new edition include:
  • Improved direction on hazard identification and risk assessment
  • New safety procedures and assessment tables for work around DC systems
  • New tables for the selection of personal protective equipment
  • Added guidance on safe procedures and training
  • New Annexes on safety around high-voltage systems and electrostatic discharges
  • Expanded Annexes and reference materials on Safety Management Systems, Hazard Identification, and Risk Assessment
  • Robust design and binding for use in the field and for on-the-job training and reference (hardcopy version)
Z462 Committee Member Videos Can Be Found on YouTube

What's New in Z462?

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.

"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.

"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.

Worker Training
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.

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.

New Annex Material
Two new informative Annexes have been added:
  1. Annex R, Substation Systems and Equipment, provides recommendations for the safe execution of work on or around high-voltage substations. Many large industrial facilities and non-utility generators own, maintain, and operate high-voltage substations that are the facility connection point to the local electrical grid.

  2. Annex S, Prevention of Shock Injuries from Electrostatic Discharges, describes workplace scenarios, such as high-speed network operations, in which potential for shock injury from electrostatic discharge exists. This Annex identifies methods to prevent, control, and protect personnel from injury.

Updated Annex Material
Finally, there is excellent information in Annexes A and F for organizations that consider themselves to be, or are looking to be, safety leaders. Annex A provides guidance to organizations that wish to incorporate their electrical safety program into their Safety Management System. Annex F, Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment, is a good introduction to hazard identification and risk assessment. As in the main body of the Standard, the language in this Annex around "hazard" and "risk" has been improved to distinguish the difference between the two terms.

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