CSA Z462 and CSA Z463: A Powerful Combination

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I recently viewed a destroyed 600-volt electrical panel board that had exploded when an operator reset an 800-ampere (A) breaker. His leather-palmed gloves had synthetic backs that ignited and seriously burned the back of his hands. His flame-resistant (FR) shirt was untucked and he was burned on his right side.

It is unfortunate that he was not following Canadian Standards Association’s CSA Z462 standard: “Workplace Electrical Safety” clause 4.3.7.3.10 (d). It is incredibly fortunate that his employer provided arc-rated clothing, as only a few years ago, he would have been wearing cotton coveralls.

Consequently, this incident would have resulted in one more worker in the burn unit with significant body burns. CSA Z462 was a leap forward for Canadian workers and innumerable injuries and potential deaths have been prevented where it has been adopted. The aforementioned accident, which happened only a few months ago, should be a wake-up call for those managers who continue to insist, “It is only a voluntary standard”.

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