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 Post subject: Closing Breakers by Unauthorized personnel
PostPosted: Mon Jul 26, 2021 7:07 am 

Joined: Mon Jul 26, 2021 6:58 am
Posts: 1
My company has roughly 300 locations across the country. In order to perform annual testing of the emergency lighting, the manager will flip the breaker off to the lights so the backup lights will come on. My question is...is that employee allowed to close a breaker by OSHA/NFPA? Are their voltage limits? Want to make sure we are following regulations and can't seem to find anything that says an untrained employee can or cannot close or reset a breaker.


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 Post subject: Re: Closing Breakers by Unauthorized personnel
PostPosted: Mon Jul 26, 2021 7:53 am 
Sparks Level

Joined: Thu Apr 18, 2019 11:42 am
Posts: 58
I think OSHA is pretty clear in this case. The worker must be qualified. Your company decides the training, hazard communication, etc. for the employee to understand the work performed.

Mike


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 Post subject: Re: Closing Breakers by Unauthorized personnel
PostPosted: Tue Jul 27, 2021 7:44 am 
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Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2008 8:49 pm
Posts: 510
Location: New England
Since we are talking about lighting I'm assuming the breaker is in a lighting panelboard. Breakers are also rated as switches. The panelboard if fully assembled has no live parts. Its also relatively low current, unlike switchgear breakers. I don't see any reason why the typical employee can't switch a circuit breaker on/off. Think about, janitors have been doing this for years. Its not much different than turning on the light switch in an office.


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 Post subject: Re: Closing Breakers by Unauthorized personnel
PostPosted: Tue Jul 27, 2021 10:24 am 
Sparks Level

Joined: Tue Jul 01, 2014 8:40 am
Posts: 106
Hi All, Greetings from Canada. Further to what has already been mentioned, some circuit breakers do have the switching rating. For example in a lighting panel in commercial or industrial facilities. As I anticipate that it is the same in the US as here in the North, that really there is no legislation that will restrict a worker from operating a circuit breaker, one may consider having in-house restrictions. For example a custodian or janitor may be restricted to strictly 120/240V single phase circuits. When I am instructing folks up here on this topic, I ensure to mention that the workers investigate as to why the breaker tripped? As opposed to just resetting the breaker. Emphasize that the breaker tripped as either an overload or short circuit condition and broefly explain the difference. If you can show them the inner workings of a circuit breaker. Eaton has some good short videos on this


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 Post subject: Re: Closing Breakers by Unauthorized personnel
PostPosted: Thu Jul 29, 2021 8:01 am 
Sparks Level

Joined: Thu Apr 18, 2019 11:42 am
Posts: 58
"Just a lighting panelboard..."

Is it a 208/120V panelboard? 480/277V? While I agree if the panelboard has a 208/120V utilization voltage, I'd be less concerned. I would have more concern with 480/277V systems. By definition, the unqualified person won't necessarily know the difference.

Also NFPA 70E talks about "interacting with the equipment", so this would include operating CBs as identified in the tables (assuming the criteria are met).

Mike


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 Post subject: Re: Closing Breakers by Unauthorized personnel
PostPosted: Sat Jul 31, 2021 4:49 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 11:35 am
Posts: 543
Location: Wisconsin
mpparent wrote:
"Just a lighting panelboard..."

Is it a 208/120V panelboard? 480/277V? While I agree if the panelboard has a 208/120V utilization voltage, I'd be less concerned. I would have more concern with 480/277V systems. By definition, the unqualified person won't necessarily know the difference.

Also NFPA 70E talks about "interacting with the equipment", so this would include operating CBs as identified in the tables (assuming the criteria are met).

Mike


Regardless, NFPA 70E and OSHA both let me as an employer decided what training is require to make a person qualified to perform a specific task such as operating, but not resetting, a molded case breaker.


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