What Is an Ordinary Person?

Ordinary person: a person who is neither a skilled person nor an instructed person [defined in the IEC 60050-195-2021].

British Standard BS 7671 defined the term “ordinary person” similarly to the IEC.

Some regulatory documents incorrectly use the terms “untrained personnel,” “untrained person,” and ” simple person” instead of the correct term “ordinary person,” which are not defined in the International Electrotechnical Vocabulary (IEV).

The term “ordinary person” describes a group of people, covering almost the entire population of the country, who have no special training in the operation of electrical equipment such as that of electrically instructed and skilled persons. When working with electrical equipment, ordinary persons, at best, are guided by the following information: “If you get exposed to voltage, it will electrocute you and kill you. For this reason, the electrical installation of buildings should be constructed, first and foremost, with the ordinary person in mind.

Ordinary Persons
Almost the entire population of the country refers to ordinary persons

In the rooms of the building accessible to the ordinary persons, electrical equipment of so-called household and similar purposes should be used, which are produced according to the requirements of special standards.

Such standards include international complex standards IEC 60335 “Household and similar electrical appliances. Safety”, IEC 60884 complex standards “Plugs and socket-outlets for household and similar purposes”, as well as other international and national standards.

What kind of electrical equipment available to the ordinary persons should be used?

Switchgear, apartment switchboards and other low-voltage switchgear accessible to the ordinary persons should also be equipped with switchgear and control equipment for household and similar purposes.

In such switchgears, for example, circuit breakers complying with IEC 60898-1 and IEC 60898-2, residual current devices complying with IEC 61008-1 and IEC 61009-1, electromechanical contactors complying with IEC 61095 should be installed.

The term “ordinary person” is used in regulatory documentation, including to specify the conditions under which the electrical installation of a building or parts thereof will be operated. Table 51A, “Characteristics of external influences” of IEC 60364-5-51, provides a classification of external influences that must be taken into account when designing, installing and operating electrical installations of buildings. The following are excerpts from this table that relate to the capabilities of ordinary persons, children, and handicapped people.

CodeExternal influencesCharacteristics required for selection and erection of equipment
BA1OrdinaryUninstructed persons
BA2ChildrenLocations intended for presence of groups of childrend .
Equipment of degrees of protection higher than IP2X.
Socket outlets shall be provided with at least IP2X or IPXXB and with increased protection according to IEC 60884-1.
Inaccessibility of equipment with external surface temperature exceeding 80 °C (60 °C for nurseries and the like).
BA3HandicappedPersons not in command of all their physical and intellectual abilities (sick persons, old persons).
According to the nature of the handicap.
Extract from Table 51A of IEC 60364-5-51 – Characteristics of external influences

b) This means that ordinary equipment will operate safely under the described external influences.

d) This class does not necessarily apply to family dwellings. In Norway , dwellings are to be considered BA2.

Certain types of electrical equipment, such as electrical equipment with a degree of protection less than IP20, are not permitted in areas of the building in which ordinary persons may be present. In such rooms, barriers, the placement of hazardous-live-parts out of reach, local equipotential bonding and certain other protective measures and protective provisions must not be used to protect against electric shock.