Standardization on Electrical Safety: Do it once – do it worldwide!

Image Electrical Safety
Foto: iStock | mumininan

The use of electricity (e. g. industrial, private households, IT, medical engineering) has always been the driving force for our economic development. This includes a wide range of aspects from energy supply to the social networks of modern communication, which would be unthinkable without electric current.

However, electric current can also present hazards if its application is not safe, especially for new applications and technologies. This is an important area: it is necessary to make sure that all applications and technologies work safely and that people are not endangered by electricity.

More than 100 years of working on standardization in the field of electrical safety has led to a high level of protection for people and property today. This needs to be continued in order to maintain existing and create new technology application standards.

Standardization also helps businesses and society to strengthen, develop and open up regional and global markets.

Therefore, it would be a pleasure to welcome you in Germany, where you can share your know-how with experts from all over the world and discuss safety issues in the various fields of electrical safety.

2nd International Symposium "Electricity and Safety in the 21th Century - New Technologies, Applications and Standards"

At home and at work, electrical safety affects everyone and, therefore, it is one of the important topics also in the world of IEC and its standardization work to protect human lives.

Electrotechnical development is going ahead steadily and safety measures/provisions have to be maintained/developed continuously with the main aim of “protecting the population from unnecessary risks”.

New aspects in the electricity such as electropathology or effects of touch voltages and arc faults in DC installations have to be considered in more detail to maintain and/or improve the already existing high safety level provided by electrotechnical standardization.

One contribution to ensure this high level of standardization in the field of electrical safety is certainly the new recently (2016) published International Basic Safety Publication IEC 61140 Ed. 4.0 “Protection against electric shock – Common aspects for installation and equipment” which has been prepared by IEC/TC 64 “Electrical installations and protection against electric shock”.

This standard applies to the protection of persons and livestock against electric shock with the intent to give fundamental principles and requirements which are common to electrical installations, systems and equipment or necessary for their co-ordination. It is primarily intended for use by technical committees. Technical committees, when preparing, amending, or revising their publications, which cover the topic protection against electric shock, are required to make use of IEC 61140.

What needs to be done? Identifying the main hazards, assessing them und reducing the risk afterwards.

In this context we draw your attention to the 2nd International Symposium "Electricity and Safety in the 21th Century - New Technologies, Applications and Standards” which will take place on 13th of October 2016 in addition to the technical meetings of the standardization committees during the 80th IEC General Meeting 2016.

For further information on the symposium’s programme and registration to its sessions (which is possible until 9/28/2016) for see

We are looking forward to welcoming you in Frankfurt this year!

Image Reinhard Pelta
Reinhard Pelta, Secretary IEC/TC64


Reinhard Pelta:

"Electrical Safety is one of the indispensable issues in the standardization world.
Ambitious and well coordinated safety requirements to pave the way for the safety of persons, livestock and property in an increasingly complex electrical world."