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Electrical hazards

Electrical hazards exist in every laboratory. It is important that all work is conducted with electrical safety in mind, and that equipment adheres to electrical codes.

  1. Regularly inspect tools, equipment, extension cords and plugs for worn spots and exposed wires. Do not use damaged tools or equipment-report them to your supervisor.
  2. Keep switch boxes clean and closed.
  3. Repairs on broken power tools or modifications to equipment may only be performed by competent personnel.
  4. Use only CSA/UL approved equipment.
  5. Electrical outlets must have a grounding connection and plugs must be three-pronged. Ensure that electrical equipment has been properly grounded.
  6. Install ground-fault interrupters (GFIs) in areas within 6 ft of a water source (e.g. sinks).
  7. Do not use extension cords as permanent wiring.
  8. Circuit breaker panels must be easily accessible and clearly marked.

All equipment in the lab, from technical apparatus to general use items, must be approved. The electrical safety certification page outlines the criteria for approval and procedures for purchasing or obtaining approval for electrical devices.

Electrical safety certification

The electrical safety code states that every piece of electrical equipment that is sold, displayed, or connected to a source of power in Ontario must be approved.

Follow this link to the electrical safety authority, which lists the recognized certification marks on products that are approved for use in Ontario.

If equipment is imported to the University of Waterloo without accreditation, an inspection by the electrical safety authority or equivalent approved organization must be completed before the equipment is used. Plant Operations personnel will not connect any uncertified equipment. When purchasing unapproved new equipment, accreditation is arranged by Procurement & Contract Services department.

Request for electrical product approval by contacting:

Electrical Safety Authority
Electrical Product Approval
Phone: 1-800-559-5356
Fax: 1-800-559-5358
Email: field.evaluation@electricalsafety.on.ca

Further information available from Safety Office at ext. 33587.