State of Safety: Electrical
We oversee electrical equipment and systems across BC in accordance with the Safety Standards Act and the Electrical Safety Regulation. The exception are those municipalities that have separate administrative agreements with the provincial government.
Worker Fatally Electrocuted while Repairing Microwave
On June 28, 2022, a maintenance worker at a nursery in Mission, BC attempted to repair a non-operational microwave oven. The worker grabbed the energized high voltage wires with their hand and was fatally electrocuted.
The worker servicing internal components of the microwave with the protective cover removed and an energized circuit was the cause of the incident. The transformer label did not identify the output voltage which may have led the worker to misunderstand the presence of a high voltage hazard.
The worker did not hold a technical certification or qualification as an electrician or appliance service technician, which was likely a contributing factor in the incident. Specialty training, tools and equipment are needed to safely test or work around high voltage equipment.
In 2022, the number of electrical incidents reported to us increased by 1 (1%) compared to 2021.
The majority of the 75 incidents were rated insignificant to moderate. Such incidents were arc burns or small injuries sustained while working on energized equipment.
Four incidents were rated “severe” and five were rated “major”.
Electrical Incidents by Year (2018 - 2022)
Note: The category “under assessment” refers to incidents reported to us that were still under investigation at year end.
Eleven injuries related to the electrical technology were reported in 2022, which represents a decrease of 19 (46%) compared to 2021.
Please note that we receive injury reports and descriptions from operators or first responders at the time of, or immediately following, the incident. Injuries may develop after the initial reports were made to us and the long-term effects of a resultant injury may not be recorded as part of our investigation.
Electrical Injuries by Year (2018 - 2022)
In 2022, there were 91,169 installation permits (an increase of 5% from 2021) and 15,205 operating permits (an increase of 28% from 2021) in the electrical technology.
We determined that there was limited public awareness regarding the importance of obtaining an electrical operating permit and the reasoning behind this requirement. Operating permits ensure that a qualified individual is responsible for owners’ technical equipment. This includes the safe operation, maintenance and inspection of equipment, as well as checking that appropriate records are maintained and available.
Electrical Operating Permits and Installation Permits by Year (2018-2022)
To raise public awareness on the importance of obtaining an electrical permit, we launched an awareness campaign aimed at educating asset owners. We used digital display ads, Facebook ads, and targeted emails to increase knowledge of this requirement for operation and maintenance of electrical equipment specified in the Safety Standards General Regulation and BC Electrical Code Regulation.
Our safety officers completed 33,124 assessments of electrical equipment and systems in 2022. This included 16,483 in-person assessments and 16,641 remote assessments. Compared to 2021, in-person assessments increased 35% while remote assessments decreased 6%.
The increase for in-person assessments was likely due to post pandemic restrictions lifting. In correlation, there was only a small decrease in remote assessments, as remote assessments continued to be used for areas predicted to have lower hazards.
Assessments are rated as follows:
The safety officer has assessed that the regulated work and/or regulated product was found to comply with the Safety Standards Act, regulations, and/or applicable technical code(s).
The safety officer has assessed that the regulated work and/or regulated product was found to NOT comply with the Safety Standards Act, regulations, and/or applicable technical code(s). Further regulated work on the affected system or phase of work, and/or operation of the regulated equipment must not be undertaken until the identified non-compliances have been corrected.
Note: Unlike some other technologies we regulate, electrical does not have a Conditional Pass category.
Electrical Compliance of Duty Holder's Work in 2022 (Physical Assessment)
Electrical Compliance of Duty Holder's Work in 2022 (Remote Assessment)
Adoption of the 2021 Canadian Electrical Code
Effective October 1, 2022 the Canadian Electrical Code, Part I, 25th Edition, Safety Standard for Electrical Installations, Canadian Standards Association Standard C22.1- 21 was adopted as the BC Electrical Code. All electrical work that is subject to the BC Electrical Code must be in compliance with the updated edition effective November, 30, 2022.
The new edition of BC Electrical Code makes one deviation from the Canadian Electrical Code: subrules 7 and 8 of Rule 66-456 (Section 66) will not be enforced in BC.