Electrical Operating Permit Requirements

4 May 2015

Reference #:  D-E3 070801 7 Rev 01

This directive supersedes previous directives: D-E3 040806 3, D-E3 040806 4, D-E3 040806 5, D-E3 040806 6 and D-E3 040806 7

This Directive is being issued by a provincial safety manager pursuant to section 30 of the Safety Standards Act.

Scope:

This Directive clarifies provisions of the Safety Standards Act, Safety Standards General Regulation, and the Electrical Safety Regulation with regard to Electrical Operating Permit Requirements for the operation or maintenance of regulated electrical equipment.

References:

Bill 19 – 2003 Safety Standards Act
B.C. Reg. 100/2004 Electrical Safety Regulation
B.C. Reg. 105/2004 Safety Standards General Regulation
IB-EL 2015-03 Information Bulletin

Safety Standards Act

  1. A.   Section 28 Operating Permits

(5)  A person who holds an operating permit must ensure that individuals who do regulated work under the permit maintain current knowledge of this Act, relevant regulations, relevant directives, relevant safety orders and any other relevant material that the minister makes publicly available.

(6)  A person who holds an operating permit must not allow regulated work to be undertaken by persons under the permit unless they are authorized under this Act.

 

Interpretation:

The operating permit holder must ensure that current knowledge is assessed for all individuals who perform electrical work under the operating permit, and that regular training is provided to ensure maintenance of up to date knowledge of the Safety Standards Act, relevant regulations and directives, safety orders and any other relevant materials made available.

Persons who are authorized to perform electrical work under an operating permit must be:

  • A licensed electrical contractor, or
  • Individuals who meet the requirements under Electrical Safety Regulation, s. 4

Safety Standards General Regulation

  1. B.   Section 18 Operating permits:

(1)  A person must have an operating permit to do any of the following:

(a)  operate a regulated product;

(b)  maintain a regulated product.

 

Interpretation:

Electrical equipment is interpreted as having the same meaning as defined in the BC Electrical Code Regulation;

Electrical equipment is interpreted as including equipment that is subject to installation and maintenance requirements under the BC Electrical Code, and does not include consumer products such as household appliances;

Section 18 of the Safety Standards General Regulation requires an operating permit for the operation or maintenance of electrical equipment. Electrical equipment is interpreted as requiring an operating permit when:

(1)  the operation or design of electrical equipment is such that regular or ongoing maintenance is required;

(2)  the electrical equipment is operated within Class I, Class II, or Class III hazardous locations;

(3)  the electrical equipment is operated or maintained for emergency service;

(4)  the electrical equipment is part of a fire alarm system;

(5)  the supply is greater than 250 kVA;

(6)  the supply to privately owned equipment, except for high voltage neon signs, is greater than 750 volts; or

(7)  the equipment is installed for temporary use and the supply is greater than 5 kVA;

 

Safety Standards General Regulation

  1. C.   Section 19 Responsibilities of operating permit holder

(a)  if required under the permit, maintain a log of work performed under the permit;

(b)  submit any required declaration confirming compliance with the Act;

(d)  if a field safety representative is named in the permit, immediately notify the regulatory authority if the field safety representative ceases to be contracted or employed by the permit holder.

Interpretation:

A declaration is required when requested by a safety officer, or as set out under terms and conditions on a permit.

The notification required under this regulation must be provided, in writing, to the appropriate authority having jurisdiction; an entry must also be made in the permit log.

“immediately” is interpreted as being within 5 working days.

A field safety representative may be an employee, or may be contracted by the owner for the purpose of being named on the operating permit.

Safety Standards General Regulation

  1. D.   Section 19.1 Regulated work under a permit

(2)  For the purposes of section 23 (1) (a) of the Act, a person who holds a permit is authorized to manage or direct individuals doing regulated work under the permit.

Interpretation:

An operating permit holder may only manage or direct individuals doing electrical work under the electrical operating permit or under an installation permit that has been issued to the operating permit holder.

Individuals who perform electrical work under an electrical operating permit must meet the requirements for supervision under Safety Standards General Regulation, Section 5, and requirements for individuals who may do electrical work under Electrical Safety Regulation, Section 4.

Individuals who perform electrical work under an electrical installation permit issued to the operating permit holder, must also meet the requirements under Electrical Safety Regulation, Section 12.

Safety Standards General Regulation

  1. E.    Section 19.1 Regulated work under a permit

(3)  For the purposes of section 23 (1) (b) of the Act, a person who is authorized under the Act to do regulated work may do the regulated work for a person who holds a permit. 

Interpretation:

This Section is interpreted as allowing the operating permit holder to name a field safety representative employed by a licensed electrical contractor on the operating permit.

Where a licensed electrical contractor is used to provide the field safety representative on the permit, no other licensed electrical contractor may perform electrical work under the operating permit, unless authorized under terms and conditions of the permit, or under a variance.

BC Electrical Code Regulation

  1. F.    Rule 2-010 Posting of permit

A copy of the permit shall be posted in a conspicuous place at the work site and shall not be removed until the inspection has been completed.

Interpretation:

A copy of the operating permit must be posted in a conspicuous place at each structure or facility authorized under the scope of the operating permit.

BC Electrical Code Regulation

  1. G.   Rule 2-300 General requirements for maintenance and operation:

(1)  All operating electrical equipment shall be kept in safe and proper working condition.

(2)  Electrical equipment maintained for emergency service shall be periodically inspected and tested as necessary to ensure its fitness for service.

Interpretation:

The term “operating electrical equipment” is interpreted as including any electrical equipment that is energized or connected to an electrical supply.

The requirement to keep operating electrical equipment in safe and proper working condition is interpreted as requiring maintenance to be performed.

Maintenance work on electrical equipment may also include:

(1)  Replacement of existing equipment with equipment that is intended to perform the same function, and

(2)  Installation, relocation, and alteration of electrical equipment under the following conditions:

  1. the work may not result in a change in the main service capacity; and
  2. additional loads or additional distribution capacity may only be added to existing plant structures, systems, and assemblies; and
  3. additional loads may not exceed 12.5 kVA, per installation, in facilities where the main electrical service is rated 250 kVA or less; or
  4. additional loads may not exceed 36 kVA, per installation, in facilities where the main electrical service is rated over 250 kVA.

(3)  Load calculations demonstrating that any added loads do not exceed the rating of existing service equipment must be entered into the permit log.

Ulrich Janisch
Provincial Safety Manager - Electrical