Safety at work, in addition to being a legislative priority, is obviously fundamental to protect workers’ health.
Regarding safety on construction sites, one of the main problems is inherent in the laying of electric cables, which are the most frequent cause of accidents caused by flames and short circuits.The Consolidated Safety Act, Legislative Decree 81/2008, updated in July 2018, contains all the information for the safety of electrical systems, not only in open construction sites, but also in common areas of life and work, in order to guarantee the safety of workers struggling with cables as well as those who use the system and the spaces that host it.
Safety and prevention in work environments
In order to avoid, as much as possible, problems with the electrical systems both during processing and when work is finished, it is essential to follow precisely the rules that the European Community has defined for the installation of protection systems more suited to specific needs:
- it is necessary to start from the “grounding”, an operation that aims at indirect protection of the health of workers and individuals through the discharge of electricity in the ground in case of breakdowns or malfunctions;
- the next step is to insert fuses and circuit breakers that, automatically and automatically, in case of overheating or overcurrent, block the electrical circuit avoiding short circuits or other problems. The switches are more comfortable and reliable (compared to fuses) because they can be switched off and activated quickly with a simple button;
- the earth leakage circuit breaker, more commonly defined as a life saver, must be installed correctly to allow the current to be blocked in case of direct or indirect contact.
In addition to aspects of a more technical type, to prevent any type of electrical accident in the workplace it is important to always apply common sense with small but fundamental precautions.
A good practice is to use only the equipment supplied by the company to avoid overload and overheating of the sockets. It is always advisable to avoid pulling the cables incorrectly and you must always have your hands and feet completely dry while handling any type of electrical equipment.
The regulation on electric cables
With the European Union regulation number 305 of 2011, from 1 July 2017 the electric cables must be not only CE marked, but also be approved according to the aforementioned regulation.
In other words, they will have to comply with specific requirements by demonstrating a good reaction capacity and heat resistance, in order to minimize the risk of generating short circuits or fueling fires.
To be precise, the requirements referred to in the regulation relate to the mechanical capacity and stability of electrical cables: they must withstand very well the heat and contact with water, allow good energy savings, be practical and protect against noise. Furthermore, this regulation places respect for the environment as a fundamental basis, and for this it imposes a emission of toxic gases and fumes equal to practically zero.
The best choice: cables with PP coatings
Resistances to extreme temperatures and harmful elements derive from the cable coating, rather than from the cable itself: to comply with all the characteristics required by European Union regulation 305 using a single cable, the best choice is to use a PPE coating, ie expanded polypropylene.
This is a non-toxic, recyclable material, immune to acid corrosion and endowed with high mechanical and heat resistance, and has for this reason several practical qualities:
- it is an excellent insulator, with even lower conductivity than that of polystyrene;
- it is completely waterproof, which leads to completely isolate the electric cable from the possibility of coming into contact with water;
- it is practically imperishable, and this leads to an enormous structural and maintenance advantage;
- it is extremely versatile, as it can be used in any field and can take any shape and size;
- it is recyclable and non-toxic, so it also respects the pro-environment section of the regulation.
By combining the above mentioned safety standards and the PP technology, one can understand the total respect of the European safety regulations: if it is to be combined with undisputed practicality and considerable time savings, the best solution would be to use the type of cable called “precabled”, where the cables are already inserted in the couduit. In this way, the system can be done with less labor, ensuring a better execution speed without sacrifice security.