Laws on Electrical Safety :
Indian Electricity Act, 1910 :
The Act came into force from 1-1-1911, has 4 parts, 58 sections and a Schedule. It provides law relating
to supply and use of electrical energy.
Section-2 defines energy, street, works, supply line, service line, main, State Electricity Board etc.
along with other words.
Sections 3 to 11 are pertaining to grant of license and its revocation, amendment, purchase etc.
Sections 12 to 19 are regarding ‘Works” provide for opening and breaking up of streets, railways
etc., notice of new works, alteration of pipes or wires, laying of supply lines near sewer, pipes or other
supply lines etc., broken parts to be reinstated without delay, overhead lines and compensation for
Sections 19-A to 27 are regarding ‘Supply’ between licensee and consumers, power to control
distribution and consumption of energy, charges for energy, meters and supply outside the area. The
meter should be ‘correct’ otherwise supply may be stopped through that meter.
Sections 28 to 30 relate to non-licensee, sanction from the State Government, control of
transmission and use of energy. Section 28-A is a special provision inserted by and for Gujarat.
Sections 31 to 34 give Protective Clauses for protection of railways, aerodromes, canals, docks,
telegraphic, telephonic and electric signalling lines, notice of accidents and prohibition to permit earth
Section 33 regarding Notice of Accidents & Inquiries provides that an accident to any person or
animal resulting or likely to result in death or any injury is to be reported to the Electrical Inspector and
other authorities in a prescribed time and inquiry and report by the Electrical Inspector into the cause of
accident affecting safety of the public and manner of compliance of statutory requirements.
Sections 35 to 38 are regarding Advisory Board, appointment of Electrical Inspector, Central
Electricity Board and rule making powers.
Sections 39 to 50 are regarding penalties and procedure and sections 51 to 58 are supplementary
The Schedule provides for security and accounts of licensee, works and supply, charges, testing,
inspection, plan of area of supply and notice to Electrical Inspector.
Indian Electricity Rules, 1956 : Under section 37 of the Electricity Act, 1910, the Central Electricity Board, made these rules which were published and came into force from 26-6-1956.
It has 11 Chapters, 142 rules and 14 Annexures. From safety point of view following two chapters
are more important.
Chapter Rules Title
IV 29-46 General Safety Require-ments.
X 109-132 Additional Precautions to be adopted in Mines & Oil-fields.
A short summary of the rules is given below. For full details, the statute book should be referred.
Rule 2 gives 55 definitions. ‘Danger’ is defined as danger to life or body part from shock, burn,
fire, explosion, injury to persons or property because of the electrical energy.
Flameproof enclosure means an enclosure for electrical machinery or apparatus to withstand
internal explosion due to flammable gas or vapour entered inside and preventing this internal flammation
to come out to the external flammable gas or vapour in which it is designed to be used.
Guarded means covered, shielded, fenced or otherwise protected by means of suitable casing,
barrier, rails or metal screens to remove the possibility of dangerous contact or approach by persons or
objects to a point of danger.
‘Intrinsically safe’ as applied to apparatus or associated circuits shall denote that any sparking
that may occur in normal working is incapable to cause explosion of inflammable gas or vapour.
Voltage category is defined as low<250V, medium<650V, high<33KV, extra high> 33KV.
Rule 4 prescribes appointment and qualifications for Electrical Inspectors that degree in electrical
engineering with at least 8 years practical experience. For assistant inspectors BE(E) + 3 years experience
or DME + 6 years experience is prescribed. Rule 5 gives their powers of entry and inspection.
Chapter-3, rules 11 to 28 prescribes licensing procedure including maps, forms and conditions.
Chapter-4, rules 29 to 46, give following general safety provisions :
General Safety Provisions:
1. Electric supply lines and apparatus, shall be of sufficient ratings, mechanical strength and so
constructed, installed, protected, worked and maintained to ensure safety of human being, animals and
property. IS and National Electrical Code shall be followed (R.29).
2. Supplier and consumer, both, will take due precautions to avoid danger from service lines and
apparatus on consumer’s premises (R.30).
3. Suitable cut-outs (e.g. fuse) in fireproof receptacles shall be provided in every service line (other than
earth lines) at consumer’s premises (R.31).
4. Earth and neutral conductors shall be identified to distinguish from live conductor and position of
switches and cut-out shall be safe (R.32).
5. Earth connection (terminal) shall be provided near the point of start of supply and the consumer shall
take steps to protect it from mechanical damage (R.33).
6. Bare conductors should be inaccessible with readily accessible switches to cut off power supply
7. Danger notice in Hindi, English or local language with a sign of skull and bones (IS-2551) and the
words ‘danger’ and ‘ volts’ is necessary near medium and higher voltage installation (i.e. above 250V).
8. For the safety from supply lines and apparatus, earthing of lines, PPE to workers (gloves, rubber
shoes, safety belts, ladders, earthing devices, helmets, line testers and hand lines, for protection from
electrical and mechanical injury), and authorised working on live lines are necessary (R.36).
9. Voltage cut off switch (in one operation) is a must in every electric vehicle, crane, etc. and the metal
rails, if any, should be electrically continuous and earthed (R.37). 10. Flexible cables to portable apparatus should be heavily insulated and well protected from mechanical
damage. For single phase line the cable should be of 3 core and for 3 phase line, it should be of 4 core
type with the distinguished ground connection. Metal covering, if any, should be earthed (R.38).
11. Insulating or protecting material of electric line should not be of such material that may produce
noxious or flammable gases on excessive heating (R.39).
12. Street boxes should be free from influx of water or gas. They should be inspected regularly for that
13. Different circuits should be distinguished from each other (R.41).
14. Voltage should not exceed the limits and AC-DC circuits should not come into contact with each
other when live (R.42).
15. Fire extinguishers for electric fire, fire buckets with clean, dry sand, first-aid boxes, two or more gas
masks to be used in the event of fire or smoke are necessary (R.43).
16. Notice of instructions to restore person from electric shock and an artificial respirator (resuscitation)
17. Fatal accident should be reported within 24 hours and non-fatal accident, in Annex-XIII, in 48 hours
18. Electric work shall be carried out by licensed electrical contractor under direct supervision of a
competent person and a person holding permit by the State Government. Unauthorised work shall not be
19. Inspection of installation at every 5 years by the Inspector. Annex-IXA is an inspection report Form
Chapter-V (R.47 to 59) gives general conditions relating to supply and use of energy. Rule 51 for
medium, high and extra high voltage installations should be referred.
Chapter-VI (R.60 to 62) for low and medium voltages (upto 650V) and Chapter-VII (R.63 to 73)
for high and extra high voltage (more than 650V) provide for insulation resistance test, earth connection,
ELCB, testing, operation and maintenance, condensers and supply to high voltage installation including
X-ray unit, etc.
Chapter-VIII (R.74 to 93) gives important safety clearances (see Part 4.4 of Chapter-11) above
ground and between conductors and provisions for material strength, stresses, joints, guarding, earthing,
safety and protective devices (R.91 for safety of line when it breaks, unauthorised entry near overhead
Chapter-IX (R.94 to 108) is for electric traction, and provides for voltage supply to vehicle,
insulation of lines, returns and sections, current density (less than 1.4 Amp/cm2) in rails, height of trolley wire (more than 5.2 m high) etc.
Chapter-X (R.109 to 132) is regarding safety precautions while working in mines and oil-fields.
They include plans, notices, lighting, communications, fire precautions, earthing, protective equipment,
voltage limits (Hand lamp or electric interlocking 30V, portable apparatus 125V, at surface or in open
250V), safety with gas supervision etc.
Chapter-XI (R.133 to 142) gives relaxation and penalty provisions.
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