Prevent Electric Shock and Electrical Fires in Electrical Installation as per Indian standards

- The following article is authored by Gajaria Gokal, B.E. and M.E. (USA)

Electric Shock Fires Prevention Safety

An Introduction:

  • Step by step Guide to “Prevent Shock and Fire in Low Voltage Electrical installation” in residential building and industrial plants as per Indian Standards (IS), Electrical Wiring Code IS732:2019 and Earthing Code IS3043:2018.
  • IS standards are as per International Electrical Commission (IEC), Europe. These are followed in the world.
  • “Electrical shock, Loss of Life and Electrical Fire, Loss of Billions of Rupees and life.”
  • ELCB 30mA: MUST BE 30mA widely use protection against shock.
  • In IEC standard, ELCB is named Residual Current Device (RCD). Cost Rs 1000
  • Danger: This is brief guide for information. Please, take professional advice for any electrical work.
  • Reference 11.2, Electrical Installation Guide as per IEC, 2018, by Schneider Co. Refer to chapters: F and Q

Body resistance and severity of shock:

  • Body resistance: Dry skin is about 5 mega ohms. At 230 V. body 1000 ohms and wet boy 250 ohms.
  • Severity of shock depends: Current flow from hand to hand through heart. Wet body.
  • Current flow in mA and time. Current > 6mA, hand get paralysis and cannot let go hand held items.
  • Maximum voltage person can tolerate in dry location 50V and wet location 25V

Electric Shock Protection:

  • Main Causes: Water, outdoor, open Ground, rough area, touch Earthed metal, water pipes, e.g. Bathroom.

Inside a Flat:


  • ELCB 30mA: Mandatory to install ELCB (Earth leakage Circuit Breaker). All lights and sockets circuits.
  • ELCB and RCBO 30mA: Main purpose shock protection, additional protection against Fire due to earth fault.

High Electrical shock Risk locations: Bathroom and Outdoors:

  • Bathroom:  Our bathrooms are small, about 10’ by 6’.


  • Water, bare foot, touching earthed metal water pipes (now, plastic pipes). Water spray.


  • Mandatory: All circuits and light must be protected by ELCB 30mA.
  • NO sockets, light switch, water heater. Light, waterproof to IP44.
  • Exhaust fan 23OV AC, waterproof to IP44 or prefer 12V AC, available in UK.
  • For big size of bathroom with tube, refer to 11.2, chapter Q.

Bathroom Increase Shock Risk Location

Outdoor High Risk Shock



  • Water, barefoot, open ground and may touch electrical metal pole lights.


  • Mandatory: All circuits, lights and sockets, must be protected by ELCB 30mA.
  • All electric items weatherproof to IP44.


  • Miniature circuit breaker (MCB) for overcurrent, for shock RCD 30mA. (MCB+RCD 30mA). Combine in one device is called Residual Current Circuit Breaker Overcurrent (RCBO).
  • In DB: Option to Install 2 numbers ELCB, each supply numbers of circuits or each circuit with RCBO.
  • 2 numbers ELCB 30mA, disadvantage: If both trips then complete darkness. Person can fell down and hurt.
  • If ELCB trips: To find the fault. Call electrician and time consuming to restore power supply.
  • RCBO Advantage: If nuisance trip of one circuit or trip due to fault. No loss of complete power supply
  • RCBO: Recommend for prestige buildings, high rise buildings, senior citizen homes, schools and etc.

In Europe: RCBO are now commonplace in commercial buildings and growing in popularity in residential.

  • My opinion to install DB with RCBO for each circuit: If RCBO trips in one circuit, no loss of complete power.

Protection by RCBO and AFDD in DB:

  • (MCB+ELCB 30mA) = (RCBO)=Isolation, Overcurrent, Short Circuit, Shock and fire protection from earth fault.
  • (MCB+ELCB 30mA+AFDD) = (RCBOA) = Isolation, Overcurrent, Short Circuit, Shock and Fire Protection from Earth fault and Fire due to Arc.
  • C, Cost of DB with 2 ELCB  30mA or DB with each circuit with RCBO 30mA
  • DB, ELCB 2 number 30mA 4 pole:  Rs. 1500/-   2 numbers Rs. 3000/-. DB cost Rs. Rs. 6000/-
  • DB, each circuit RCBO:  Rs. 1200/- each.  2 Bedroom flat, 10 circuits, cost Rs. 12,000/-. DB cost Rs. 15,000/-
Total Circuits 10 Number
Total Circuits: 10 number
Rcbo 30ma Rs 1200 Afdd
RCBO, 30mA, Rs 1200 AFDD

Electric Fire Protection:

Main Causes: 

  • Arc, Cable arcing ground fault, overload. No correct cable derating factors for temperature and grouping

Combustion Materials storage electrical fire protection:

  • Textiles, wood, papers showroom
  • Remedy: Mandatory to install for fire protection by ELCB 300mA.

Fire due to arc from earth faults.


  • The majority of electrical fire are due to arc from leakage current in line-to-earth insulation failures
  • Main and sub main circuits, high resistance ground fault: Leakage current produce arc.

Iec Mandatory Db Rcd


  • Recommend to protect by Ground Fault Protective Device (GFPD), setting at 5% to 10% of full load current.
  • Fire Protection: Residual current monitoring (RCM) due to arc from earth fault:
  • Commercial installations, high rise building and etc. If RCD trips during fault then loss of power.
  • RCM is used as central control indication to know location of fault.
  • As per risk factors, RCM make sense to install. Manufactures’ advice.
  • Electrical Fire Presentation Guide: By Schneider Electric co, France.
  • Online download, free, PDF file:  Guide, as per IEC, by Schneider Electrical Company, France. Path

6 Arc Fault Detection Device (AFDD): Protection against Fire from arc:

  • Arc Fault Detection Device (AFDD): Prevent fire due to ARC.  Not in Indian Standard.
  • RCBO 110V: In USA, National Electrical Code (NEC): Mandatory since 2009 in residential flats. Cost Rs. 2000/-
  • RCBO 23OV: IEC Recommends since 2012 for prestige Buildings, High Rise buildings and etc., cost Rs 8000/-
  • IEC highly recommends for Combustion Materials Storage: textiles, woods, plywood and papers and etc.

Why AFDD to install in DB?

  • Fire has the potential to put hundreds of occupants at risk within a matter of seconds. And when it comes to protecting life and property, there’s no room for compromise.
  • Beyond the risk to safety and life, fires can also have a major financial impact.
  • With demand for electrical power on the rise, arc fault protection must shift from a “luxury” to a must.
  • As per my opinion, at least, prefer to install for sockets circuit as per risk factors.
  • B, Video: From Eaton Company, on you tube. Path: or Google Eaton+AFDD

Protection Against Arc In Flat

Standards guide-books. Training of electricians and engineers:

  • Indian Standards and IEC Standards: There are no guides book or training. How to understand?
  • I am familiar with British Standards 7671:2018, “Recommendation for Electrical Installation” and “National Electrical Code (NEC), USA”.
  • BS7671:2018 is as per IEC standard, have 9 Guides and online training. Refer to

Electricians training as per standard and examinations to get license:

  • “Building Regulations Electrical Work Standard” UK for electricians. This is developed for Building.
  • In UK, there are many private institute schools for online training for electricians and Engineers.
  • In UK, Electricians to pass examinations and license to work. In India, this is not required.
  • Introduce Electrical Installation course in college for Engineers and electricians as per Indian Standards
  • Training, pass examination and license for Electricians to work
  • Regulations and standard for electrical installation in Residential Building as in UK.


  • SHOCK: Mandatory, ELCB 30mA or RCBO 30mA for all lights and sockets circuits. Cost Rs 1000/- each

ELCB 30mA:  Main purpose protection against shock. Additional protection against fire from earth fault.

  • FIRE: Mandatory, combustion Materials storage: Textile, wood, papers. To install 300mA RCD, Rs. 5000/-

Arc fault Protection Device (AFDD): Prevent fire due to ARC in the flat. Cost Rs. 8000/ each.

  •  Leakage Current Residual Current Monitoring (RCM) Alarm: Center control indications: Recommend to install in commercials and high rise for alarm against ARC due to earth leakage current.


  1. Online free, Consumer Guide,
  2. Online free, “Electrical Installation Guide to IEC, 2018”, Schneider Electric, France, 500 Page. Design Guide.
  • Go to general contents, page 5 (7/535). Click, Chapters F, Protection against electric shocks and electrical fires. Chapter Q, Residential premises and other special locations, (High shocks risk).
  1. British Standards, “Recommendations of Electrical Installations, BS7671 2018 and 9 guides.
  2. Book, free online or Amazon: “Guide to the Wiring Regulations 17th Edition IEE Wiring Regulations (BS 7671: 2008)”. By Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA), UK. Written by practical engineers. Rs.2,500.

Mobile Applications:

  • “Electrical Calculations”, by Ettore Galine: Free online, Pro Rs 190. Cable size and etc.
  • Mobile Electrician”: Anatolly Trasenko, Click IEC, Pro version, Rs. 120.

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