The featured topic of this week’s toolbox talk is electrical distribution boards. Without the proper distribution of power and electricity machinery and devices will not work correctly or optimally and will also not be safe to use. This is why distribution boards were developed and manufactured. 

SANS 10142 Requirements

A distribution board must comply with the requirements of SANS 10142, and each item of electrical equipment used in a distribution board should comply with the requirements of this standard:

  • The distribution board must be suitable for the environmental conditions in which it operates.
  • Distribution boards shall be protected against corrosion.
  • Any point of a distribution board that has to be reached during normal operation, must not exceed a height of 2 200 mm above floor (or walking) level.
  • A distribution board must not be mounted in a bathroom, or above a fixed cooking appliance, or in a position where a stationary cooking appliance could be put below it, unless the enclosure provides a degree of protection, or within a radius of 1 m from a water tap or valve (in the same room), unless the enclosure provides a degree of protection.
  • If an installation is likely to be extended, a distribution board with spare capacity should be fitted.
  • Each unoccupied opening of a distribution board must be fitted with a blanking plate.
  • Unless obvious, permanent labelling must identify all incoming and outgoing circuits of the distribution board.
  • Openings need to be closed off – fire stopped to prevent the spreading of fire from or into the cupboards, as per the requirements of SANS 10400 Part T.

Putting Out an Electrical Fire:

  • You should never throw water on an electrical fire because water conducts electricity and you could be electrocuted. 
  • If you don’t have a fire extinguisher, you can use baking soda to extinguish an electrical fire.
  • If there’s smoke, fire or a strange odor coming from your appliances, wires or electric motors, you should turn off both the appliances and the circuit breaker or fuse box’s main switch.
  • Call the emergency immediately and let them know you have an electrical emergency.

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