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 Post subject: HOT STICK TESTING
PostPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2016 7:27 am 
Sparks Level

Joined: Tue Jan 19, 2010 2:35 pm
Posts: 158
Everyone, I got this question from a client. He asked if it's necessary to have their hot sticks tested? Understand this company has nothing higher than 480 volts on site and only uses these hot sticks to switch on and off 480 volt 30- to 200 amp bus duct fused disconnect switches.

The bus in this factory is hanging well above the floor. If an employee needs to reach a bus plug, he uses a hot stick to access the handle from the floor. I can't see any reason to get the hot sticks tested, but wanted to get your views. I'd think they'd want to put some sort of notice on each stick that indicates the stick is not to be used for real hot work, or words to that effect. What's your take on this? Thanks,

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 Post subject: Re: HOT STICK TESTING
PostPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2016 9:19 am 
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Joined: Tue Jan 13, 2009 5:00 pm
Posts: 585
If insulation isn't required, my first thought is why not use conductive pipe instead. I suspect the answer is to be safe from inadvertent movement and contact. So if insulation is needed for this aspect, I suggest testing the insulation.

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 Post subject: Re: HOT STICK TESTING
PostPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2016 9:42 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 26, 2010 9:08 am
Posts: 2173
Location: North Carolina
You can get FRP (or wood for that matter) operators/handles for this.

A hot stick has NO rating on it. There is no such thing as a "500 V hot stick" or a "35 kV hot stick". They are tested by first thoroughly cleaning and visually inspecting it, then spaying the whole thing with water until it is good and wet (simulating working outdoors in the rain) and then testing it with a 100 kV source every foot. There is a leakage requirement but in practice this doesn't matter...the test is almost always destructive if the hot stick has failed (started falling apart). The failed section arcs or tracks and starts peeling apart and cracking under the test.

Which brings up the next sticks have a finite life. They fail faster when they are routinely used in rough service such as with a utility crew but they will fail eventually. Even if it's "only" 480 V, it will eventually fail although it might take a really long time and contamination is probably the bigger concern.

So if you have any concern for a shock hazard at all then test it. If you don't then I suggest using either something other than a hot stick or putting labels all over it that say "not for energized work" or something equivalent to make it totally clear that it's not a "hot stick", it's an extension pole. That way if I come through your plant doing an inspection for 70E compliance for instance I will see that you are using a hot stick that has not been testing but it is also clearly marked that it is not a hot stick so I don't care as long as you aren't using it for energized work using the insulated tool method.

This is a common problem with distribution switchgear because it is specifically designed and intended for the utility market. They buy the vast majority of disconnects, fuses, cutouts, circuit breakers, and so forth at medium voltage. They want the equipment "inaccessible" to the general public and mount it overhead, in a vault, or in a locked enclosure. Their operators all carry one or more hot sticks and use them to operate even equipment that doesn't need to be operated with a hot stick. In contrast in an industrial plant the practice is to install all the equipment where it is easy to access for maintenance, and operators are used to operating everything by hand only. Most manufacturers offer some kind of stick or even a pole system ("remote operator") as an add-on option but some plants skip on the extra cost and just use a hot stick as an extension.

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 Post subject: Re: HOT STICK TESTING
PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2016 8:30 am 
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Joined: Fri Apr 15, 2011 7:43 am
Posts: 178
Location: Colorado
Here is a good link - ... enance.pdf I am sure there is other sites but this covers most of the requirements.

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