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Electrical Safety Regulations Examined

Electrical Safety Regulations

Electrical safety regulations are governed by all three levels of government—federal, state/provincial and municipal governments. They set regulations, laws and acts that relate to electrical health and safety and other work-related practices. These electrical safety regulations are founded using the U.S. National Electrical Code and the Canadian Standard Association's Canadian Electrical Code (CEC) as a model for regulation.

The National Electrical Code (NEC) is a standard that has been developed by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)'s Committee on the National Electrical Code. This committee is comprised of 19 code-making panels, as well as a national ttechnical correlating committee to coordinate between the panels. The NEC is approved as an American national standard by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). It is formally identified as ANSI/NFPA 70.

The Canadian Electrical Code serves as the basis for wiring regulations across Canada. Generally, provincial legislation adopts the CEC by reference, sometimes with provincial changes or amendments that tailor the CEC for local conditions. These amendments may be administrative in nature or may consist of technical content particular to the region. Since the Code is a copyrighted document produced by a private body, it may not be distributed without copyright permission from the Canadian Standards Association.

Technical requirements of the Canadian Electrical Code are very similar to those of the US National Electrical Code. Specific differences, however, persist and many installations acceptable under one Code may not comply with the other Code. Harmonization of technical requirements between the two Codes is ongoing.

Several CEC Part II electrical equipment standards have been harmonized with standards in the USA and Mexico through CANENA, The Council for the Harmonization of Electromechanical Standards of the Nations of the Americas (CANENA) is working to harmonize electrical codes in the western hemisphere.

The technical detail inside the Canadian Electrical Code contains similarities to the National Electrical Code, the electrical safety regulation model used in the United States. The two codes clash on certain technical requirements and installations, however, the correlation of the two codes on meeting a universal set of electrical safety standards is ongoing.

The CEC is divided into four parts. Part I gives electrical safety regulation on electrical maintenance and installation. Part II gives design and construction specifications for electrical equipment. Part III is the electrical safety regulation for transmission and distribution systems. Part IV sets standards for certain institutional and industrial installations, which is not covered in this article.


The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 70e is on of the leading electrical safety regulations that establishes best electrical safety practice standards on how to protect front line electrical workers from electric arc flash and arc blast exposure and resulting potential injury and death. OSHA has referenced this electrical safety standard in numerous cases. In fact, many organizations have now designed an NFPA 70E Compliance Guide to help protect their electrical personnel from the hazards associated with arc flash.


CSA Z462
CSA Z462 is on of the Canadian electrical safety regulations from the Canadian Standards Association that govern workplace electrical safety. CSA Z462 is a "Canadianized" version of the U.S. National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standard NFPA 70E, Standard for Electrical Safety in the workplace. CSA Z462 was initially developed in conjuntion with the NFPA 70e edition. Attempts have been made to harmonize CSA Z462 with NFPA 70e wherever practical, specifically for Canadian workplaces. CSA Z462 is the worplace electrical standard that deals with strictly electrical safety requirements for employees.


For more information, see:


Electrical Safety Code Ontario

Lockout Tagout OSHA

Electrical Safety OSHA

CSA Z462 Electrical Safety In The Workplace


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