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Installing a generator on site? Are you legally compliant?

by , 06 June 2014
With winter here, having generators at your place of business is a good back-up plan for inevitable power failures. But, do you know the legal requirements for having one on-site?

Dear reader,

What seems like a distant memory is load shedding and its friend, the generator! But, we're probably not completely out of the dark yet (no pun intended), and with winter here, having generators at your place of business is a good back-up plan for inevitable power failures.
But, do you know the legal requirements for having one on-site?

I received a question on the healthandsafetyclub.co.za last week, and our experts posted an answer to help you. Let's have a look at what you must do.

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Installing a generator on site? Are you legally compliant?

Question:

We've just installed a back-up generator. It's inside our warehouse, right in front of a big sliding gate that will open when the generator starts itself. I've suggested moving it outside for safety reasons, but understand that it should be enclosed. Is this correct?

Answer:

Your legal requirements depend on the size of the generator and if it's a permanent installation or a portable unit. For a permanent installation you need to comply with the Electrical Machinery Regulations of June 1990 (especially Section 4 Notices). You'll also need to comply with the Electrical Installation Regulations of May 1994. Whoever installs the generator should give you a 'Certificate of Compliance' for the installation.

For a portable generator you need to do a hazard identification and risk assessment and, as a control measure, document a safe working procedure.

Make sure you check for these hazards….

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Look out for these hazards if you install a generator

Some of the hazards you need to consider are:
  • Location of the generator and access by your employees
  • Who has authority to switch the generator on and off
  • The type of fuel it uses e.g. diesel and the precautions for storing and topping up the fuel
  • Restricting access to the area and making it a 'smoke free zone'
  • If it produces any exhaust fumes and whether there's good ventilation to clear the air
Check the supplier/manufacturer's instructions for safe operation and build these requirements into your safe work procedure.

Regards
rachel paterson
Rachel Paterson
Business Publisher


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