Objective-based industrial electrical code receives approval

Anthony Capkun
July 19, 2008
The CSA-OBIEC (objective-based industrial electrical code) Technical Committee has approved two standards: C22.4 No. 1, Objective-based industrial electrical code, and C22.4 No. 2, OBIEC Safety management system-Requirements. These OBIEC standards are intended for use by authorized industrial users as an alternative to the Canadian Electrical Code.
OBIEC supporters say the benefits for industry will be significant, including enhanced safety performance and design flexibility with a strong emphasis on superior engineering. “The OBIEC has an element of continual improvement that includes operations and maintenance requirements, providing for a more complete cradle-to-grave life cycle for industrial electrical installations,” they say.

OBIEC will encourage global best practices, products and technologies, say supporters, and will serve to lay a foundation for harmonization of an industrial user’s Canadian and global operations. The CE Code, NEC, IEC, IEEE and other industry-recognized standards are referenced (with the CE Code serving as the benchmark for measuring safety performance).

Based on early pilot projects, industry can realize 10-15% or greater in overall electrical installation cost savings while maintaining or even improving safety performance. Under an OBIEC safety system, supporters say, engineering designs will better reflect electrical installation specs derived from the OBIEC’s safety objectives rather than under the current safety system, “where there is a tendency to pass on design responsibility to installers, relying on their knowledge of prescriptive requirements to compensate for gaps in design”.

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