2018 Canadian Electrical Code - Cable Connectors in the Film and Entertainment Industry

Background

Technical Safety BC reviews each edition of the Canadian Electrical Code (CEC) in order to make recommendations to the Province of British Columbia regarding its adoption in BC. As part of this review, Technical Safety BC may recommend BC specific variations to the CEC on adoption. 

The 2015 CEC introduced a change to rules relating to cable connectors in the film and entertainment industry, no longer allowing the use of “t-tap” conductor connectors because of some reported safety concerns with the connectors. As part of the review of the 2018 CEC for potential adoption in British Columbia, representatives of the film and entertainment industry have requested variations to the 2018 code, if adopted, to allow t-tap connectors. 

Discussion

Technical Safety BC has analyzed the changes introduced in the 2015 CEC and has met with industry to understand the safety, technical, and economic impacts of the change. Key considerations include:

  • The film and entertainment industry submits that this rule change has a significant financial impact. Further, industry indicates proper installation practices can mitigate any safety concerns regarding t-tap connectors.
  • The main safety issues relating to the use of t-taps are mechanical strain and ensuring that connections are fully engaged during operation. There is no indication that the multiple connection devices (known as t-towers) permitted by the 2015 CEC are the only way to safely address these issues.
  • Some submissions have suggested that the use of an multiple connection device (t- towers) have safety risks when used at elevation (such as in overhead rigging).

Technical Safety BC’s evaluation indicates the safety concerns raised are addressed in existing rules. As a result, Technical Safety BC is considering recommending a variation to the Province for inclusion in any decision to adopt the 2018 Canadian Electrical Code to allow the use of t-tap connectors.

Consultation

As part of the public consultation for the 2018 Canadian Electrical Code, your input is requested on the suitability of a variation to the code on adoption allowing the use of t-tap connectors.