September 23 2021 0Comment

Responsibility Of Electrical Contractor Towards Fire

During our day-to-day life, we come across a lot of electrical installations which are badly installed or poorly maintained and still are in use. Any electrical installation big or small is being carried out from the smallest single electrician to the largest electrical contracting companies. As per rule work can be carried out by licensed contractors only. Meaning, one can take any electric work as a sample then a licensed contractor should have done it ideally. As such the improper work that we are focusing on is being done by an electrical contractor or electrician working on it. Who are electricians, who are supervisors, who are contractors? They all are from us and part of us? As such it will be better to accept that these installations are done by no other than we all. Let us take the onus of such work on us then possibly issues can be resolved easily. Repercussions of all bad, unhealthy improper installations, end in failures, overheating, or fire. News appearing in a newspaper of fire is becoming very common. Due to smart connectivity, the news is becoming viral and many times on mobile news is also appearing about fires in advance. And all of us must have seen such news in the past. The common cause at times for fire is nothing but ‘short circuit’.

Mumbai City has seen more than 15,000 fires in the past three years, of which about 80% or 12,000 have been caused by Electrical Short Circuits. And India witnessed an average of 59 deaths per day due to Fire Accidents between 2001 and 2014. These figures are very alarming. Mumbai is the financial capital of India and a well-known city in the world composed of a lot of educated, cultured, mature, and intelligent people. Figures in such a city are upsetting because if this is a condition in such a progressing city then what will be a condition of an un-progressed or rural or backward area? Who is responsible for such fires? We all. In which electricians, electrical contractors, electrical vendors, facility management, maintenance people, safety managers, designers, project managers, etc., and clients are also part of it. The people mentioned are direct stakeholders. But there are also indirect people. As such, this is a wake-up call and if action is not taken timely then we are in a catastrophic situation.

We all must become sensitive and concerned about this situation. Electrical work is bread and butter for many people and as such, they should be concerned with the situation and must take lead to eradicate the situation and should make sure that such incidents should not happen in the future. Because it is a question of livelihood and challenge to competency of electrical work which is being done. The people working in electrical engineering must contribute to avoiding such incidents. Electricity usage is now more than a hundred years old and we are progressing through the twentieth century so correctness in the situation is possible. If there is a wish there is a way.

Firstly, it is not recommended to use rewirable fuses and loose wires are not acceptable. Cables should be properly dressed, glanding to be done and all openings to be closed. Hanging wires should not be there. Electrical rooms should not be storerooms and they should be waterproof. There is not much knowledge required to understand these dangers but it is common sense and visible to naked eyes. What is the result of such installation? There will be local heating which may culminate ultimately to fire or sparking which will lead to a fire. It is a simple fact that any flammable material when comes in contact with a small spark will turn into fire. And a small fire unattended immediately will take a nasty turn into a big fire.

Who is responsible? All of us who see such bad workmanship and never utter the word, workers who are doing such work, a supervisor who is passing this, an electrical contractor who is giving the certificate, supply companies who are releasing the power, and external forces who force supply companies to release the power. Even to the extent architects, designers, project management consultants, suppliers, clients are also directly or indirectly responsible. As an electrician, one should not do such shabby work and as an electrical contractor, one should not accept and must not sign the test report. So, that electrical power will not be released and one will be forced to carry out good work and further damage can be stopped. Electrical Supervisors having a license are empowered by IE rules and statutory bodies to sign the installation as the installation is passed. On the basis of the certificate given by the Electrical Supervisor who is empowered by IE rules and statutory bodies to sign the installation as the installation is passed and the Electrical contractor having license signs the test report with the license number.

When such power is given legally to an electrical contractor, the question is how one can accept such installations. Why one cannot foot down and say this installation is very bad and cannot be passed or power supply will be cut or not released till rectification is done. The reasoning is given many times: it is temporary work or we were under time pressure or there is no space or budget is not present or client is asking to do work at a minimum cost etc. If carefully one sees these reasons, then they are just frivolous. Can all these reasons hold goods if a fire might happen and the entire building will be gutted by fire. The losses happened like life, property, etc can get back or regain?

Because of this, an Electrical Contractor must wake up from the present status and should carry out proper work, use ISI mark reputed makes materials, say No for bad workmanship, reject the space if it is inadequate and lastly be loyal to your trade which is ‘Electrical’. This is your subject and you must exercise the power given to you to say ‘NO’ for bad work. Then only fires due to electricity will stop.


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