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 Post subject: Does your company still do live work? Yes/No
PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2007 4:42 pm 
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Just curious, since NFPA 70E seems to be pushing towards no live work and also requiring energized work permits, justification etc.

How many of you work at companies that have reduced OR eliminated live work??

It will be interesting to see everyone's responses.

Thanks.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2007 8:22 am 
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Energized Work

We have greatly reduced our live work. We have to be a little more careful so we can schedule work when we can take an outage. It's quite a hassle but that's our new directive. We now do live work very rarely and use the energized work permit.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2007 3:04 am 
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Energized work

We stopped working on our 13.8kV years ago and sub it to contractors. We just recently stopped working 480V live (with very few exceptions) and now work it dead according to 70E. We do still work 208/120V live but not as much as we used and we have to use energized work permits.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2007 7:54 pm 
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They still work hot, with PPE at the plants I do work at. They are continuous process plants and taking an outage introduces other risks. Also,in some cases there is no way to rack in breakers or buckets with the bus de-energized.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2007 7:06 pm 
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Live work.

Our company provides electrical testing to various client companies in both the commercial and industrial sectors. One of those types of testing is Infrared surveys. Due to its nature, Infrared must be done live. Infrared detects high resistance connections in electrical distribution components because of the manner in which power is disipated in the form of heat in a circuit with current draw on it. If there is no current, there is no heat, so de-energized IR would be useless.

This being the case, we've had to change our practices to be compliant with 70E standards. The real problem is when we're performing an IR at a customer site where no arc flash analysis has been performed. Our IR techs maintain Level 2 at all times, and can go up to Level 3 when they must. Level 4 we leave alone. With the changes in IR technology, and the ever increasing 70E compliance, we may well not be performing IR in 10 years. But for the time being, we're still doing it, and doing it live.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2007 3:56 pm 
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Andy R. wrote:
Just curious, since NFPA 70E seems to be pushing towards no live work and also requiring energized work permits, justification etc.

How many of you work at companies that have reduced OR eliminated live work??

It will be interesting to see everyone's responses.

Thanks.


Absolutely do and will continue to do work on live equipment WHEN it is absolutely necessary..

We always had the policy; if you can do it dead, don't do it live. Now that is even more in the foreground. We are revising our live work process to comply with the intent of NFPA 70E.

I do recommend though that we stop driving. It has dual benefits:
  • we stop driving related fatalities
  • it will stop and immediately reverse global warming
:p


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 8:39 am 
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Utilities and High Tension Customers would find it impossible to perform only dead work . With OSHA 1910 clearances in place, portable ground application has moved to the 2nd most dangerous job we do . Racking live breakers in and out has replaced it.
Here is an example of what can happen
1 - Operator fails to check breaker open
2 - Mechanical interlock is defective permitting breaker to be racked out
closed
3 - PPE to the rescue


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 10:22 am 
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Capt Jim wrote:
Utilities and High Tension Customers would find it impossible to perform only dead work . With OSHA 1910 clearances in place, portable ground application has moved to the 2nd most dangerous job we do . Racking live breakers in and out has replaced it.
Here is an example of what can happen
1 - Operator fails to check breaker open
2 - Mechanical interlock is defective permitting breaker to be racked out
closed
3 - PPE to the rescue


I agree that live work needs to be performed.

I have a problem with your example though.

We are saying that both human ignorance and human neglect is acceptable BECAUSE we have PPE to rely on. This will lead to the attitude of the easy way out, relying on the PPE.

I would like to know what was the predicted, calculated fault level and weather the PPE was appropriate to that level of protection. The above ignorance and neglect indicates to me that the person was also likely not to bother with checking the appropriateness of the protectiion he is wearing and he just plain got lucky. I would doubt if the copper slug - that is missing off of the middle phase - would have been stopped by that faceshield should it had enough energy behind it not only to completely evaporate but project it forward. Fortunately the construction of the vertical lift is such that it projects it downward. Was the upstream device functioning properly?

I would have disciplined the worker and the maintenance responsible supervisor.

Anything else leads to future endangerment of workers, and it is ususally management's fault as they fail to provide the financial resources and management demand for discipline, proper maintenance and replacing obsolete equipment.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 11:38 am 
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Live work

Why do we wear PPE ? To protect us against mistakes we make . To protect us against defective equipment . PPE is not needed in a perfect world. We are human and we do make mistakes. Equipment improperly designed or maintained is a reality . We should catch these things during suprise audits of operating and maintenance practices. The time for discipline is before the arc-flash occurs, not after. The switchman was wearing the proper PPE for the time and place. PPE requirements are evolving and we all will comply .
Lets face it, most Corporations complying to NFPA70e are protecting themselves against fines not arc-flash. The responsibility of PPE belongs to each and everyone of us so we can go home to our families every day after work.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 11:48 am 
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Capt Jim wrote:

Lets face it, most Corporations complying to NFPA70e are protecting themselves against fines not arc-flash. The responsibility of PPE belongs to each and everyone of us so we can go home to our families every day after work.


One mistake, fine. Two mistakes are not something that I would overlook without disciplinary action.

That is why I would send both the worker and the maintenance supervisor home, healty and intact to their faimlies for a couple of weeks or permanently. So that I do not have to deal with a fatality or serious bodily injury in the future. Somehow the message has to get through. I could care less about the Company trying to protect their collective legal behind. That shield is a Level 2 equipment and the gear you show needs Level 3 protection even at minimum available short ciruit duty.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2007 6:54 am 
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LaszloZW wrote:
That shield is a Level 2 equipment and the gear you show needs Level 3 protection even at minimum available short ciruit duty.


The face shield doesn't look like a level 2 rated face shield. It looks like a standard face shield. I wouldn't even begin to guess the level of the equipment without seeing the study.

That face shield didn't do much to protect that guy because it didn't need to. Get arc rated equipment, if you are going to go into the benefits of proper PPE. He got lucky, this time. That's mistake number 3. He should have some time off.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2007 7:20 am 
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WDeanN wrote:
The face shield doesn't look like a level 2 rated face shield. It looks like a standard face shield. I wouldn't even begin to guess the level of the equipment without seeing the study.

That face shield didn't do much to protect that guy because it didn't need to. Get arc rated equipment, if you are going to go into the benefits of proper PPE. He got lucky, this time. That's mistake number 3. He should have some time off.


You, of course, are right. On both counts.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2007 9:28 am 
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Proper PPE

We have got to stop thinking like engineers, and start thinking like managers . Fear of reprisal will only stop people from taking these positions. Audits are the way to go . Catch people in the un-safe act . OSHA requires an annual audit of all operations. The ppe used in the incident was legit for the time and place . The opening section of NFPA70e states who is exempt from the regulation. We ( a utility ) are at present, but that will probably change. Reguardless of regulations this person went home uninjured that day, We celebrate this as an example of PPE benefits but we do criticize the lack of focus on the operators part.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2007 7:44 am 
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Capt Jim wrote:
The ppe used in the incident was legit for the time and place . The opening section of NFPA70e states who is exempt from the regulation. We ( a utility ) are at present, but that will probably change. Reguardless of regulations this person went home uninjured that day, We celebrate this as an example of PPE benefits but we do criticize the lack of focus on the operators part.


As another poster pointed out the faceshield on the picture is a standard faceshield that has no FR rating. How could that have been appropriate? If that is acceptable for your Company then it is clear that their safety standards and practices are no adequate to protect people.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2007 12:35 pm 
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Laszlo, why do you assume medium voltage switchgear requires risk category 3 PPE as a minimum?


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2007 7:32 pm 
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government work

I think we are a way from de-energizing completely in the commercial environment, where step can be taken to use PPE, and where it costs the company money to de-energize.

I have seen that in the government world that employers are de-energizing a lot more, or completely. I think the reason for this, is that they are not losing any money, or any profit. The cost of de-energizing is absorbed by the taxpayers... Also, there are some government facilities where good record keeping and maintenance were not kept (same as many commercial facilities), so workers and management are a little wary of encouraging any live work on these systems. :D

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2007 8:13 am 
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mnmurphy wrote:
I think we are a way from de-energizing completely in the commercial environment, where step can be taken to use PPE, and where it costs the company money to de-energize.

I have seen that in the government world that employers are de-energizing a lot more, or completely. I think the reason for this, is that they are not losing any money, or any profit. The cost of de-energizing is absorbed by the taxpayers... Also, there are some government facilities where good record keeping and maintenance were not kept (same as many commercial facilities), so workers and management are a little wary of encouraging any live work on these systems. :D


Do you mean to imply that the Government is negligent in following the rules they established for the industry and commerce to adhere to?

Your Ladyship must be jesting?! :D


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 02, 2008 9:09 pm 
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Capt Jim wrote:
Why do we wear PPE ? To protect us against mistakes we make . To protect us against defective equipment . PPE is not needed in a perfect world. We are human and we do make mistakes. Equipment improperly designed or maintained is a reality . We should catch these things during suprise audits of operating and maintenance practices. The time for discipline is before the arc-flash occurs, not after. The switchman was wearing the proper PPE for the time and place. PPE requirements are evolving and we all will comply .
Lets face it, most Corporations complying to NFPA70e are protecting themselves against fines not arc-flash. The responsibility of PPE belongs to each and everyone of us so we can go home to our families every day after work.


Capt Jim, I have been doing 70E consulting and training for 14 years and that is the most accurate statement I have heard from someone yet, I wish everone else would get it like you do.

Why did we start requireing seatbelts? So we can crash into other cars at 55 MPH? No, because we make mistakes, but we slaked off wearing them, and many people died, so the the police started fining us (The nerve of them) because we didnt wear them enough, and we whined about it. This is the stage that arc flash is in now, we still have choices, we get caught not making the right choice, we get fined.

Then what, we mandated air bags, first driver ones, then passanger, side curtian, those ones that fold down from the top, you name it. But we over compansated, kids got hurt from too much protection, so we made a new law that requires a switch to turn off the protection. It is a crazy cycle, we are just at the beginning, just wait to see what happens when the 2009 70E comes out, you havent seen nothing yet!


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2008 10:07 am 
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Do it for YOU and your family!

Zog and Capt. Jim,

You guys have certainly nailed it.

When I was supervising at the refinery we had a new Plant Manager that came in after a PR problem, (it was his specialty to fix those sorts of things. ) The new "Plan" was #1 - safety #2 - environment #3 - production. Well of course we had a bunch of old guys that would say "you're just pushing the safety stuff so the company can look good and save Insurance $$. (to be fair I understood because they had heard a lot of BS in the past that was never backed up)
Well my response was always "let's say that is true" - but it still makes a safer work environment for YOU, if you apply it. I would tell them to push the issues they had and wanted changed. Well low and behold the Manager stuck to his word (I would work for this guy again in a heartbeat) and the Co. spent ALOT of $ on safety, including down time, for things that didn't necessarily increase production.

After a bit some of these guys started whining because the new rules made them adhere to stricter PPE guidelines, etc...unbelievable...

I still say if the company has a policy - use it to YOUR benefit, make them put their money where their mouth is, just do it tactfully and do YOUR part by following the rules, because then you hold more clout when pushing new issues. If they have an underlying motive, so what - at least YOU are safer!


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2008 10:43 am 
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Bombo wrote:
Zog and Capt. Jim,

You guys have certainly nailed it.

When I was supervising at the refinery we had a new Plant Manager that came in after a PR problem, (it was his specialty to fix those sorts of things. ) The new "Plan" was #1 - safety #2 - environment #3 - production. Well of course we had a bunch of old guys that would say "you're just pushing the safety stuff so the company can look good and save Insurance $$. (to be fair I understood because they had heard a lot of BS in the past that was never backed up)
Well my response was always "let's say that is true" - but it still makes a safer work environment for YOU, if you apply it. I would tell them to push the issues they had and wanted changed. Well low and behold the Manager stuck to his word (I would work for this guy again in a heartbeat) and the Co. spent ALOT of $ on safety, including down time, for things that didn't necessarily increase production.

After a bit some of these guys started whining because the new rules made them adhere to stricter PPE guidelines, etc...unbelievable...

I still say if the company has a policy - use it to YOUR benefit, make them put their money where their mouth is, just do it tactfully and do YOUR part by following the rules, because then you hold more clout when pushing new issues. If they have an underlying motive, so what - at least YOU are safer!


I would add another consideration.

Who is paying your salary? - I would ask the employee.

The reply obviously will be; the Company.

So isn't it the Company's prerogative, in addition to being accountable to the shareholders, how they are going to spend their funds? They hired the employee to perform certain task and it is their right to specify how that task is to be performed and not the employees'.

The employees right remains not to perform a task in the perscribed manner if they do not consider that to be safe to their or other employees health.


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