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July 4, 2011

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Wise up on wiring

The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET, formerly the IEE) has launched a fresh edition of the IET Wiring Regulations, including a completely new section on health and safety.

Jointly published with the BSI, the amended IET Wiring Regulations set the standard for all new electrical installations in the UK. Following the advice contained in the new section – section 729 – should help ensure a safe working environment for skilled, or instructed persons working in areas such as switchrooms, where, historically, little space is usually provided.

In response to regulation 15 of the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989, section 729 sets out minimum requirements for both the provision of adequate working space and the means of operational and emergency access and evacuation at, or near, electrical equipment.

Geoff Cronshaw, chief electrical engineer at the IET, said: “Section 729 deals specifically with work being carried out in spaces which are, quite often, restrictive, but where access is permitted only for skilled, or instructed persons. The new section aims to ensure the safety of people working in these spaces by, for example, ensuring access routes are provided to enable all personnel to be safely evacuated in the event of an emergency.
 
“Section 729 states minimum widths for gangways in areas such as switchrooms, where they are to be adequate for the work to be undertaken and for the transport of equipment.”
 
The amended Wiring Regulations also introduce a number of new sections relating to electromagnetic disturbances, medical locations, devices for protection against overvoltage, and changes to Appendix 6, which implement the Electrical Installation Condition Report – the replacement for the Periodic Inspection Report.
 
The amended IET Wiring Regulations can be purchased at www.theiet.org/electrical

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