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Where lights are controlled from a lighting panel, what protection is used to operate the breaker?
Nothing Special
Clothing and protection based on Table H.3(B)
Something else - we would love to hear the stories
We don't use breakers to control lights
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 Post subject: PPE Used for Operating Lighting Circuit Breakers
PostPosted: Sun Aug 12, 2012 9:35 am 
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Joined: Mon Sep 17, 2007 5:00 pm
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Location: Scottsdale, Arizona
This week’s question might “spark” a bit of debate.

If one uses the Hazard / Risk Tables in NFPA 70E, the task of turning the lights on at the office in the morning is classified as HRC 0. This is true of both 120V and 277V breakers. Calculations could lead to the same result i.e. incident energy < 1.2 calories/cm^2.

According to Table H.3(b), HRC 0 requires non-melting fabric/untreated natural fiber, hearing protection, long sleeve shirt etc.

This week’s question:

Where lights are controlled from breakers at a lighting panel, what protection do employees/staff use to turn on the lights?
  • Nothing special
  • Clothing and Protection based on Table H.3(b)
  • Something else - we would love to hear the stories
  • We don't use breakers to control lights

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 7:36 am 
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Joined: Wed Oct 29, 2008 6:06 am
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Location: Michigan
[font=Tahoma]The 2012 70E Handbook actually gives this example towards end of annex F to illustrate the process of performing a hazard assessment and risk analysis.[/font]


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2012 7:48 am 

Joined: Fri Sep 05, 2008 8:10 am
Posts: 36
Initially had nothing special, just quick training on proper operation; stand off to the side, turn head, etc. But we always questioned the need for CAT 0. Then a 30 year old breaker failed an flashed at a woman, no injuries, she was just scared. We had proceeded to install switching outside of the panel to eliminate the need for the breakers used as switches.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2012 3:59 pm 
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Location: Connecticut
Just because it looks similar to a switch it's not... it's designed to be a protection device. This is a case of the wrong device for the wrong application... unless the breaker is switch duty rated. Or more likely the company is too cheap to spend $15 worth of materials for a dedicated UL listed "on-off" switch.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2012 8:09 am 
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Location: Charlotte, NC
Speaking of 120V arc flash, any updates on the IEEE research on the <240V <125kVA issue?


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2012 2:22 pm 
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Zog wrote:
Speaking of 120V arc flash, any updates on the IEEE research on the <240V <125kVA issue?

Nothing new, it's stuck in the ditch of substantial debate for now. We meet again this autumn and there will probably be many new things to report at that time. Stay tuned!

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 7:02 pm 
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Location: NW USA
I hope you are able to bring common sense to these committees, because this is where standards committees loose much credibility. Many churches were wired without light switches depending instead on a switching duty panel installed at the rear. One cannot imagine the bell ringer donning arc Flash PPE to turn on the lights. Keep it real folks.

I'm sure we can find extreme cases where this didn't work well, however; building a code around extreme cases is not necessarily improving safety.


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