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Electrocution fatality leads FEA to issue advisory notice

07 August 2020 by

Following the tragic death of an engineer working on a commercial kitchen appliance, the Foodservice Equipment Association (FEA) has issued an advisory notice covering the installation and servicing of electrical equipment.

It calls for all new installations of electrical equipment to be protected by a residual current device (RCD) or residual current breaker with overload protection (RCBO). The advice also states that these should be specific to each individual appliance, not installed as a general RCD or RCBO on the distribution board.

FEA technical consultant Nick Oryino is the chairman of Catering Engineers Standards and Registration Board and is working with Electrical Contractor Association to push for the change to be put into law through the wiring regulations, covered by BS 7671:2018.

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) has said it will not initiate these changes until the coroner has completed their report, but FEA believes the industry should react quickly to protect engineers.

The initial coroner's report concluded that the engineer would most probably have survived had the appliance he was working on been protected by an appropriate RCD or RCBO.

"We want HSE to designate commercial kitchens as special places, with extra safety measures to cover electrical installations," said Oryino. "For example, similar rules apply in spas to cover saunas."

Oryino added: "I would expect HSE will make the changes to BS 7671:2018 once the coroner's report is finalised, but these things take time. Lives are at risk and we need to move now."

FEA also confirmed that it will be working with CEDA to update the two associations' joint electrical competency course to reflect this new guidance. FEA has also been in contact with the relevant organisations to request that the requirement for RCDs or RCBOs is incorporated into the IFSE standard for BIM, the BESA SFG20 Equipment Maintenance Schedules, and into design software such as AQ and Specifi.

FEA's Guidance Notice: electrical safety in commercial kitchens can be downloaded here

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