(MENAFN - Arab News) The Kingdom loses millions of riyals due to the failure of implementing electrical safety standards in public and residential facilities, an undersecretary to the Ministry of Water and Electricity said in Riyadh yesterday.
Dr. Saleh Al-Awaji was making the keynote address at the inauguration of the second symposium for electrical safety experts held at the Sheraton.
The meeting was held under the patronage of Abdullah Al-Hussayen, minister of water and electricity, in cooperation with AMAD for Technical Consultation and Laboratories.
Speaking on the occasion, Al-Awaji said during the last five years the Kingdom had incurred SR260 million in losses due to the lack of electric safety measures in public and residential facilities. "Due to this problem, we have also lost 185 lives and witnessed 1,466 people getting injured in various facilities during this period," he noted.
He said these accidents and losses occur due to weak commitment to safety requirements in the implementation of electrical wiring, errors in design and operation systems, power protection, short circuits, mishandling of electrical appliances and lack of awareness about the hazards of such mistakes.
He stressed proper care in constructing new buildings and implementing safety mechanisms would reduce such ill-effects of the use of electricity in homes and offices.
The official said the conference would highlight the importance of electricity safety and its role to cut the risks of fire and electric shocks in electric utilities and commercial, educational, industrial and health facilities, to protect people and properties and reduce losses.
The symposium, he said, would introduce the decision made in Saudi Arabia to change the voltage in the Kingdom to 230/400 volts, and its impact on increasing the level of safety to raise the efficiency of the distribution network. "It will also introduce electrical requirements in the Saudi Building Code, and the importance of those requirements in achieving safety, and present the proposed mechanisms for monitoring its application in enterprises."
Statistics released by the Directorate General of Civil Defense on short circuit accidents between 2005 to 2009 showed the number of fire accidents caused by short-circuits was about 44,000, with 45 percent of them in the residential sector, 20 percent in electric units, and about 18 percent in public facilities.
The number of deaths was 185, with 85 percent of them in the residential sector. The number of reported injuries was 1,466, with 75 percent of them in the residential sector.
The material loss due to electrical short circuit incidents was more than 70 million and 22 percent of them occurred in the residential sector, with about 70 percent in industry, commercial and other public facilities.
A study carried out by the Ministry of Water and Electricity in cooperation with the Saudi Arabian Organization for Standardization, Metrology and Quality shows that about 80 percent of plugs and sockets imported to the Kingdom do not conform to relevant standards.