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 Post subject: Work in Manholes and PPE
PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2007 5:35 am 
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Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2007 5:25 am
Posts: 29
Location: Titusville, Fl.
We are having a debate about what PPE is required when working in manholes. Are the Medium Voltage (13.8kV) cable splicers allowed to work in a manhole with category 1 (preferred) or 2 PPE to perform the splice even though there are other live MV cables in the area?

The manhole is inspected first wearing Cat 2 PPE and the Feeder Breaker relay settings are set low (hair trigger) for all cables within the manhole, prior to entrance for any activity.

The obvious problem we are having is not wanting to wear excessive PPE down in the manhole.

How have people been handling this?


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2007 8:54 am 
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Joined: Fri Nov 09, 2007 3:27 pm
Posts: 54
Location: Texas
321Liftoff wrote:
We are having a debate about what PPE is required when working in manholes. Are the Medium Voltage (13.8kV) cable splicers allowed to work in a manhole with category 1 (preferred) or 2 PPE to perform the splice even though there are other live MV cables in the area?

The manhole is inspected first wearing Cat 2 PPE and the Feeder Breaker relay settings are set low (hair trigger) for all cables within the manhole, prior to entrance for any activity.

The obvious problem we are having is not wanting to wear excessive PPE down in the manhole.

How have people been handling this?


So what is the work that exposes the worker to an arc-flash potential?

If cutting into potentially live cables is the only hazard, in the case of a manhole confinement I would do that with a remotely operated hydro cutter.

After that no arc-flash hazard associated with their work would exist.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 09, 2008 6:52 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2008 8:49 pm
Posts: 483
Location: New England
The way I approach this is as follows:

1) There is always a confined space permit and and an electrical safe work permit.

2) electrician enters manhole in Level 3 with tic tracer to check for voltage.

3) If no live voltage found, electrician exits and then dresses down to Level 2, which is their normal attire, with only safety glasses and hardhat.

The thing to remember is that PPE is only for 'live' work or near live work. Inside the manhole there is no live parts, yes, there may be energized cables, but they are fully insulated for the service. A cable splicer is not exposed to any live parts and as such no PPE at all is required.

The same can be true for an electrician that opens a wireway in a MCc line up to take a amp reading, or pull through wire for another project. There are no exposed live parts in the wireway.

I am not advocating no PPE level, ie, you would not want to ever be in polyester clothing doing any electrical work. But you could be Level -1 or 0, or as we do normal work attire is Level 2.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 02, 2008 8:59 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 02, 2008 11:58 am
Posts: 1103
Location: Charlotte, NC
321Liftoff wrote:
We are having a debate about what PPE is required when working in manholes. Are the Medium Voltage (13.8kV) cable splicers allowed to work in a manhole with category 1 (preferred) or 2 PPE to perform the splice even though there are other live MV cables in the area?

The manhole is inspected first wearing Cat 2 PPE and the Feeder Breaker relay settings are set low (hair trigger) for all cables within the manhole, prior to entrance for any activity.

The obvious problem we are having is not wanting to wear excessive PPE down in the manhole.

How have people been handling this?


Great question, I have agood solution, the last company I worked for did dozens of MV splices a day, so I had to research and devise a solution, granted it is not perfect, but it combines safety with workability.

1. Do all the manhole entering stuff that has nothing to do with arc flash (Confined space rigamaroll)
2. Don 40 Cal suit
3. Enter manhole, wrap other cables with arc flash suppression blankets
4. Exit manhole, get some air, don HRC 2 PPE
5. Re-enter, work in HRC 2


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