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 Post subject: Operating a disconnect handle
PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2009 3:28 pm 
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Joined: Wed Sep 23, 2009 9:29 pm
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Location: Western Canada
Another debate is raging at my site:

Where do you stand when operating a disconnect handle. Presently we train people to stand on the hinge side to operate the disconnect handle.
Personally, I think standing on the handle side is safer for a number of reasons
• The door won’t fly open and bash your arm or other part of your body
• The arc (if it comes from the bucket) will be directed out, not out and sideways so exposure should be limited to a hand/forearm.
There is no direction in NFPA or CSA for standing on the hinge side

Maybe I’m wrong – is it statistically proven to be safer on either side??

Remote operation is always the answer but not practical for the amount of equipment at site.

Ideas or comments?


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2009 5:32 pm 
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To stand on the hinged side and operate a safety switch is crazy. :eek: That would mean your body is in front of the door and throwing with the right arm.

Who in the world would argue this? You always throw from the left throw side with the left arm facing away from the switch.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2009 6:57 pm 
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A pretty good read involving this.
[url="http://www.ebmag.com/index.php/Mind-Your-Safety/MIND-YOUR-SAFETY-EB-March-2008.html"]http://www.ebmag.com/index.php/Mind-Your-Safety/MIND-YOUR-SAFETY-EB-March-2008.html[/url]


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2009 6:34 am 
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Joined: Mon Jun 02, 2008 11:58 am
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Location: Charlotte, NC
There are pros and cons to both, the door may hit you, but it will also act as an arc sheild, in theory anyways.

Assuming the arc flash will come straight out is a dangerous assumption, standing on the non hinged side will protect you from the door but put you at a higher risk for a burn injury. Arc testing has shown that arc flashes do strange things and the projected path is very unpredictable.

Go here http://www.westexinc.com/

Click on video library and watch top ten clip #9.

When deciding where to stand, you need to consider several things, the configuration of the equipment, your exit route, etc...


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2009 8:17 pm 
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Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
I agree with Zog's comments and I recommend to my clients:

1. Have a written procedure in place. Train workers on this procedure.
2. Stand on the hinged side and follow the written procedure.

I would take the broken bones, over the burn.

There is no direction on this in CSA Z462 and most likely you will never see this detail in the Standard.

Regards;
Terry Becker, P.Eng.
Owner
ESPS Electrical Safety Program Solution INC.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 21, 2009 5:52 pm 
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Where to stand redux...

Darn it.
It was looking good for a while but now we're all over the place!
Knowing everyone is in their arc flash gear makes it more likely that the safe place is the handle side. Taking the opposite view means that broken bones are acceptable even in arc flash PPE??
I definitely think the handle side is safer still but will reason prevail?

Still looking for a somewhat definitive answer. :confused:


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 22, 2009 9:20 am 
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Again, I would never stand on the hindged side UNLESS the handle is located on the hinged side. That could be a good manfacturing rule.

Are you guys crazy? Reaching across from the hinged side to the throw side to turn on a disconnect places your whole body in front of the disconnect. (IF THE HANDLE IS ON THE RIGHT SIDE)

Quote:
2. Stand on the hinged side and follow the written procedure.
:confused:

Come on Zog & Terry, were both to old to think this is wise (stand on the hinged side??)

Give me something to change my mind.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 22, 2009 2:53 pm 
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As I posted, there is no simple answer, there are other factors involved. If you need to reach across the switch then I agreem the hinged side may not be the best place to stand, but where are your exits? Any other hazards?

Generally I think hinged side is safer for breakers and other equipment but in this case I would most likely be on the non-hinged side.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 24, 2009 7:25 am 
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Which Side of the Disconnect Debate

1. Stand out of the line-of-fire
2. Take a deep breath and hold it.
3. Turn your head away.

We get into this debate all the time. I usually prefer the unhinged side.

1. Yes if you are not in FR you MIGHT be a little bit better on the hinge side.
2. The hinge side of a disconnect isn't likely to break bones. A switchgear might.
3. I prefer the side because MOST of the time it comes out. It is a good gamble.
4. I prefer the unhinged side because I want to wear the RIGHT PPE and not use the door as a potentially "bone breaking" shield.

My thoughts. Just one more opinion.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 24, 2009 7:35 am 
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Just do it all remotely :)


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 24, 2009 8:15 am 
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Remote

I'm a huge fan of remote but do you have a remote disconnect operator?


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2010 8:36 am 

Joined: Thu Jan 07, 2010 6:42 am
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Location: Bowling Green, KY
That is fine to do remotely...does that mean get someone else to do it for you? :D
Sometimes you run into a double door enclosure with the disconnect handle in the middle, so you could be really screwed by getting an opening and a hinge.....
The thing to remember is the rating. A panel with functioning door hardware that is closed is considered to be class 0, which means anyone with or without PPE could throw the switch....
We train stand to the side, use your left hand, turn your head and throw the switch while stepping away to the rear of the panel. That should aleviate any concern.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2010 11:13 pm 
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Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Which hand should you use?

Here is another comment, I am right handed, I would prefer to use the hand and arm that I normally use. I wouldn't be comfortable using my left hand, especially if I stood with my back to the MCC, and opened the breaker this way (some have suggested to do this).

So I still think, hinged side, use the hand I am used to using so I have the best sense if the handle doesn't open normally.

Whatever you decide, write it down, and train workers so it is consistently applied.

Terry Becker, P.Eng.
ESPS Electrical Safety Program Solutions INC.
[email protected]
403-465-3777


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 12, 2010 6:39 am 
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elihuiv wrote:
I'm a huge fan of remote but do you have a remote disconnect operator?


Sure do, we currently have remote actuators for 120 different applications. All done wirelessly with no modification needed to the equipment.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2010 6:53 am 

Joined: Mon Mar 29, 2010 8:31 am
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Location: Jonesboro, AR
Zog wrote:
Sure do, we currently have remote actuators for 120 different applications. All done wirelessly with no modification needed to the equipment.

How do you LOTO with a remote disconnect?


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2010 6:57 am 
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Wormfood wrote:
How do you LOTO with a remote disconnect?


After the switch is open the "interaction" is complete and installing a lock on the switch would not require PPE. Of course that is the way I interpret "interaction" others may have a different view, it is a little grey area.

Now PPE will be required to do your voltage checks if required, but that may be at a different location and only required if the nature of the LOTO is for electrical work.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 03, 2010 4:44 am 

Joined: Sun Nov 16, 2008 12:01 pm
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If a worker like a machine operator has to open or close a 480 v breaker and does not need to do any voltage testing can he open or close the cb with one of the adjustable poles the electricians use ? Will he have to maintain a distance from cb and does he need ppe? Will this be acceptable to osha and nfpa ?


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 03, 2010 6:00 pm 
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Location: New England
You are talking 'dead front' work. Unless you believe the switch to constitute 'high energy' ie, something similar to switchgear, then the answer is that arc flash ppe is not mandated (note I did not say 'required' or 'recommended'). The person doing this work should have some basic training, ie, where to stand, visual check the equipment, what to do if something goes wrong, etc.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 05, 2010 9:41 am 
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Location: Yankton SD/ Lead SD
Regardless of which side of the safety switch you stand on when operating the handle, I do not think that the normal response of turning your face away is the best option. I believe that the Cat 2 face shield will only provide protection if you are facing the fault, unless you are wearing a balaclava. Or is this line of reasoning completely off base?


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 05, 2010 10:07 am 
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cbauer wrote:
Regardless of which side of the safety switch you stand on when operating the handle, I do not think that the normal response of turning your face away is the best option. I believe that the Cat 2 face shield will only provide protection if you are facing the fault, unless you are wearing a balaclava. Or is this line of reasoning completely off base?


The facesheild can become an "arc scoop", not good.


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