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Discuss To work live or not?? in the Electrical Wiring, Theories and Regulations area at

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  1. bs123

    bs123 Guest


    I was wondering if anybody can shed some light on this.
    I am working on a job in a hospital and they want to run in some
    new circuits for tv's in all the wards. They have an excisting
    3 phase board but want to install consumer units next to
    the 3 phase board to tap off from to the new consumer units.
    I have been told that this have to be done live as they can
    not isolate the main board for obvious reasons. Needless to
    say i am not to keen on this idea. When i was doing my 2360
    i was told to never work live as there is no reason to take
    the risk and that a supply can always be isolated if need be.
    Also can i refuse to do the job under Healt&Safety laws?

    Many Thanks for your advise.
  2. Adam W

    Adam W Regular EF Member

    When I was at college they presented the idea that if the circuits can't be isolated under planned circumstances, you certainly shouldn't increase the risk of them tripping under unplanned circumstances by working live.

    By the sound of it you'll only need to isolate the main board to make the final connection, so should only be for 30 mins or so.
  3. widdler

    widdler Forum Mentor

    North East
    Carrying out any work whilst 'live' will be against the electricity at work regs and so a shut down should and could be arranged.
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2010
  4. ghost

    ghost Guest

    In today's world of health and safety, I would say no. You are working in a hospital, therefore a risk of tripping circuits that are essential. I'm sure the hospital would want a risk assessment carrying out first.
    On the other hand, if you get chucked across the room, you are in the right place. Your choice.
  5. davelerave

    davelerave Guest

    i work live quite a bit

    as already said you might trip an essential circuit /cause a SC anyway

    - i would plan an outage in this case as it's a hospital
  6. gawain

    gawain Guest

    defiantly don't work live in any circumstances your putting yourself in unnecessary risk.
  7. JASON

    JASON Electrician's Arms

    Button Pressing
    Dont hospitals have UPS for vital equipment anyway?
    • Like Like x 1
  8. DiscoDave

    DiscoDave Electrician's Arms

    I've tried typing this so it sounds right, but sod it NO, don't work live, you shouldn't be expected to work live and you most definitely don't have to!
  9. mogga

    mogga Just me Electrician's Arms

    UPS Supplies the DB but if mcbs are turned off then no supply

    IMO the hospital engineering team wouldnt allow you to work live and should plan a shutdown for you although they may ba awkward due to them not doing the job
  10. gunner

    gunner Guest

    do not work is not your problem
  11. pennywise

    pennywise Regular EF Member

    So all your doing is adding consumer unit supplies from an existing TP-N board with spare ways.:confused:
  12. WayneL

    WayneL Guest

    I would have thought a risk assessment, appropriate precautions and PPE, and connect up.

    The DNOs do it every day, so why should it be any different for us?? :)
  13. Scud

    Scud Guest

    No they don't. The basic principle is never work live. The EAWR says that.
  14. WayneL

    WayneL Guest

    Think what you like, but a few weeks back I was talking to a Scottish Power spark down a hole in the pavement.

    He was repairing a damaged piece of cable - it was only 230V to earth - just your normal street ring-main....but he was working Live!

    He had on 1000V insulated gloves and was joining a new section of cable to supply the street - he could hardly switch it of at the sub-station:)

    Also, have you not heard of cable jointers - 11 KV cable jointing - working live!

    As they do when working on Pilons - they're hardly going to switch the national grid off.

    Sometimes you have to work live - The EAWR doesn't say you can't, it says you shouldn't:

    • In other words, if the above criteria are met, then you can work live:)
  15. UNG

    UNG Forum Mentor

    Nr Wigan, Lancs
    In the original post it does not make it clear whether the three phase DB has exposed busbars or not it just refers to isolating it without giving any reason as to why this DB should be isolated other than it is live

    Over the years I have connected to many three phase DB's while they were live but the hazards where identified and the risks assessed if there were any exposed live busbars or conductors

    Unfortunately it appears to be easier to teach and advocate total isolation as the safe method of working these days on all equipment even if there are no exposed conductors to touch rather than the methods to be used when it may be acceptable to work on live DB's

    WayneL's post shows that even the HSE admit that working near live conductors may be necessary.
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