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Electrical Earthing and the Law

Designers of electrical systems have a legal obligation to safeguard the health and safety of those likely to be exposed to their installations. A common misconception is that a 1 ohm earth on a high-voltage system automatically meets the requirements of BS7430:1998. Not only is this not the case, but designers must also take account of other regulations when providing electrical earthing solutions. Details of the applicable legislation are given below:-

BS 7430:1998 British Standard Code of Practice for Earthing

Wiithout satisfying the limits for earth potential rise, a 1 ohm earth may not meet the requirements of BS 7430:1998. Sections 7 and 16 stipulate a requirement to consider “ground potentials” in the event of a fault current.

Electricity Supply Regulations 1988

Sections 4 to 8 govern the design and installation of electrical earthing.

Health and Safety at Work Act 1974

This places a duty upon employers to ensure a safe working environment.

Construction Design and Management (CDM) Regulations 1994 (amended October 2000)

The designer has a key role to ensure that health and safety is taken into account during the design stages of a project to design out risks or reduce them to an acceptable level.

Electricity at Work Regulations 1989

Section 8 refers specifically to electrical earthing and identifies the need to ensure the presence of a safe system.

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