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How to make India electrically safe? | mojo4industry

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How to make India electrically safe? | mojo4industry

In a world that’s increasingly dependent on electricity for almost every aspect of our lives, ensuring safety in electrical systems is paramount. However, it’s a stark reality that in India, around 34 people lose their lives every single day due to electrocution. As per the National Crime Records Bureau data, in the last decade i.e. between 2011 and 2020, approximately one lakh people lost their lives due to electrocution. This reflects an alarming average of nearly 11,000 electrocution deaths every year, with the number rising to 12,492 in 2022. This staggering statistic serves as a poignant reminder of the urgent need to address electrical safety comprehensively.

In this Digital Dialogue on “How to make India electrically safe” powered by Fluke Corporation, we’ll delve into the root causes behind these tragic incidents and explore strategies to prevent future occurrences.

Featuring:
• Mr. PP Wahi, Former Director, Central Board of Irrigation & Power (CBIP)
• Dr. Rajesh Kumar Arora, Sr. Manager (Technical), Delhi Transco Limited
• Mr. Appavoo Subbaiya, Former Chief Electrical Inspector, Tamil Nadu & General Secretary, NFEES
• Mr. Prabhakaran PV, Head – Product Management, Fluke India

Moderator: Subhajit Roy, Founder Editor, mojo4industry

Can you please elaborate on the main reasons of electrical accidents and help us to understand the importance of electrical safety?
Dr. Rajesh Kumar Arora: According to the NCRB data from the past three years, lightning, electrocution, and fires have contributed to many deaths. Out of approximately 17,372 annual deaths, lightning accounts for 0.68%, electrocution for 3.1%, and fires for 0.37%. Annually, India loses between 15,000 to 18,000 lives to these causes. These tragedies highlight the urgent need to make India a safer place to live.

Key Safety Measures for Homes
1. Proper Use of Electrical Extensions: Avoid overloading extension cords and ensure they are placed safely.
2. Judicious Load Switching: Manage electrical load effectively.
3. Earthing and Grounding: Ensure your residential building has proper earthing and grounding.

Selection and Quality of Electrical Products
1. Wire Selection: Choose Class 2 wires, even though Class 5 wires are more common in the market.
2. Product Quality: Purchase high-quality electrical products.
3. Condition Monitoring: Regular inspections and testing are crucial.

Important Tests and Standards
Follow IAS 732 standards, which outline 10 essential tests:
– Pre-Connection Tests: Conduct before connecting to the power supply.
– Post-Connection Tests: Perform when the system is live.

These tests include:
– Continuity of conductor
– Insulation resistance
– Protection of SELV/PLV
– Floor and wall resistance
– Earth electrode resistance
– Earth core loop impedance
– Polarity test
– Phase order test
– Functional and operational tests
– Voltage drop test

Ensure automatic disconnection in case of faults and choose your RCD correctly.

Public Education and Safety Measures
Education: Raise awareness about electrical safety.
Avoid Encroachment: Keep areas near transmission lines clear.
Avoid Exposure: Prevent exposure to live and conductive parts.
Floating Neutral: Address issues like arcing ground.
Fire and Smoke Detectors: Install these in homes and buildings.

Creating a Zero Harm Culture: Safety should be a priority for every Indian. We must foster a zero-harm culture through proper education and training, ensuring that safety becomes an integral part of our lives.

 

Could you discuss on the existing regulations and standards set by organizations like the BIS, CEA and NBC to ensure electrical safety?
Appavoo Subbaiya: As outlined in Article 21 of the Indian Constitution, every citizen has the right to life, which includes the right to security and protection from hazards like electrocution. This responsibility falls on the state and government.

Supreme Court Judgment on Electrocution
A recent Supreme Court judgment highlighted the strict liability of electrical supply providers in the event of accidents like conductor snapping. The court emphasized that these providers are fully accountable, regardless of negligence. This underscores the importance of adhering to updated regulations, codes, and standards, especially those revised in 2023.

Electrocution Statistics and Prevention
Statistics show that 30-35% of electrocutions are due to conductor snapping, while 40% occur in domestic and healthy installations. Many victims are unaware of the dangers associated with electricity. Key issues include:
– Conductor Snapping: Often linked to distribution companies (discoms) and consumer negligence in initial verification.
– Periodic Verification: Essential for preventing accidents. Regulations mandate regular checks by consumers and implementing authorities.

Regulation 18 and Safety Measures
Regulation 18 requires suppliers to provide a combined neutral and protective conductor (TNC system) up to consumer premises. From there, the TTR and TNS systems begin. Addressing Regulation 18 can prevent 40-50% of accidents, including neutral cuts and fires in residential installations.

Roles and Responsibilities of Stakeholders
Strong codes and regulations exist, but their implementation is lacking. Key stakeholders include:
– Distribution Companies: Ensure safe delivery of electricity.
– Consumers: Regularly verify and maintain installations.
– Contractors and Designers: Follow safety standards and regulations.
– Verifiers: Conduct thorough inspections and enforce compliance.

By adhering to these responsibilities, we can significantly reduce electrical hazards and protect the lives of citizens.

 

Can you highlight some of the common electrical safety hazards faced in India and also share a few best practices.
PP Wahi: Electricity is invisible and often misunderstood, leading to accidents due to ignorance about proper wiring and safety measures. While Rajesh has clarified many points, we still have a long way to go in educating people. This includes raising awareness among the Ministry of Power, the Central Electricity Authority, and the distribution utilities across the country.

Licensing and Training for Electricians and Contractors
1. Licensing: All electricians and contractors must be licensed. Unqualified individuals should not be allowed to perform electrical work.
2. T
raining and Certification: The Government of India has established the Power Sector Skill Council under the Ministry of Power. This council provides training and certification for electricians and contractors. Only those certified should be permitted to work in the power sector.
3. Authorized Contractors List: Maintain and use a list of authorized contractors. Only these certified professionals should be hired for electrical work.

Proper Installation and Protection
1. Correct Materials and Protection: Use the right materials, wiring sizes, and protective devices like MCBs, ELCBs, or RCBs.
2. Proper Design: Electrical installations should be designed by authorized professionals and followed accurately by electricians and contractors.
3. Earthing: Ensure proper earthing, either through the distribution company or by creating separate earthing for homes, verified by contractors and distribution companies.

Accountability and Monitoring
1. Record Keeping: Maintain records of who performed the wiring and which contractor was responsible.
2. Accident Accountability: In case of accidents, there should be clear accountability to identify the responsible parties.
3Daily Monitoring: Regularly monitor and report accidents and issues to the Ministry of Power to keep them informed and proactive in addressing safety concerns.

By ensuring proper training, certification, and accountability, we can significantly reduce electrical accidents and improve safety across the country.

 

Can you share how technology can contribute to making electrical systems safer?
Prabhakaran PV: Why Do We Get Electric Shocks? Electric shocks occur primarily because the human body has low resistance to electricity, ranging between 100 to 1500 ohms. This low resistance makes it easy for electricity to pass through the body. However, proper earthing can prevent this by providing a safer path for the electrical current.
1. Proper Earthing: Ensures electricity doesn’t take a route through the human body.
2. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Essential for anyone working with electrical systems to prevent shocks.
3. C
urrent Danger Levels: Even a small current (1 to 5 milliamperes) can disrupt the heartbeat. A current of 30 milliamperes can be fatal, hence the importance of using Residual Current Circuit Breakers (RCCBs) or Earth Leakage Circuit Breakers (ELCBs) rated at 30 milliamperes.

Electrical Safety Measures:
1. RCCBs and ELCBs: Install and regularly test 30 milliampere RCCBs/ELCBs to protect your facility and ensure compliance with design specifications.
2. National Electrical Code (NEC): Follow NEC guidelines for polarity tests, insulation resistance, loop impedance, and phase sequencing to maintain a safe electrical system.

How Fluke Ensures Safety: Fluke designs products according to IEC 61010 standards, testing them rigorously to meet safety certifications from agencies like UL, CSA, or TUV. This ensures that when you use a Fluke multimeter or electrical measuring device, you are protected.
1. Certified Safety: Fluke instruments are certified to be safe, providing a reliable barrier between the user and dangerous electrical currents.
2. Comprehensive Testing Tools: Fluke’s all-in-one installation safety tester checks loop impedance, earthing, insulation resistance, RCB response time, and earth resistance without tripping your system. 

Increasing Adoption in India: Although Fluke’s products are widely used in developed countries, recent years have seen increased adoption in India for safety audits and inspections. These tools are crucial in environments like hospitals, ensuring devices like X-ray machines and medical equipment are electrically safe.

  1. Appliance Safety: Tools to test the safety of household appliances, such as kettles, are also available.
  2. Smooth Operations: Regular testing with these tools ensures your facility runs smoothly and safely.

Conclusion: A stronger commitment to safety and common sense is essential. Respecting safety principles protects both people and facilities, ensuring a safer environment for everyone.

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