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 Post subject: Remote Racking PPE
PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 6:57 am 
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We are about to purchase a remote racking device for our 4160v half size breakers. We had an arc flash study done that indicated we only needed to use Cat 2 ppe. Our plant policy is to use Cat 4 for added safety.

With the purchase of this device I was wondering what others are using for ppe? Since the object of using these devices is to remove the technician out of the restivitve area to a safe location for this operation.

So my question is what are other using for ppe in using remote racking devices? Thanks.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 12:43 pm 
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Location: Charlotte, NC
As long as you are outside the arc flash boundary there are no PPE requirements.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 3:37 pm 
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we designed and built our own remote racking device, and converted 60 ge magna blast breakers that were cat 4 or higher that now we rack from 30 feet away wearing our cat2 ppe uniform. when we used to wear the cat 4 suit standing at cubicle. so we went from cat 4 to cat 2 or less


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2012 6:06 am 
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Be careful with that, you have issues like MOC switches, overtorque, and bushing not going in straight so you should have tilt sensors, etc... to prevent issues when racking those remote. I don't think 30 feet is far enough, use a wireless controller so you can leave the room and be outside the AFB.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2012 4:03 am 
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I read, and re-read, this post several times and passed on commenting. I hear comments like this quite frequently... "The arc flash study shows Cat #0 but we're going to make them wear Cat #2 for added safety." You state the assessment resulted in Cat #2 but Plant Policy requires Cat #4. I have worn a 65cal/cm^2 arc flash suit for 3 hours so far this week; Cat #2 (balaclava, faceshield, AR apparel etc) for about 6 hours. The ambient temps were 100 degrees plus. The Cat #2 was hot but the Cat #4 flash suit was miserable. Added safety?

Making people wear a Cat #4 flash suit on Cat #2 equipment is like making them drive 45 in a 70mph zone. Is it really safer? Most plant policies that routinely "over-protect" the qualified employees by adding PPE were developed by the "safety professional" that has not/will not have to wear the gear. It is purely a risk averse/liability issue or CMA.

Zog's first post was right on but the second one (30' not far enough) is questionable. I just took a look at an extremely hazardous 480V switchboard; as found calculated at 102.7 cal/cm^2 at 18". I then re-calculated at 30' (360") and the IE dropped to .8 cal/cm^2.

So, my answer to your question is that most of the companies I have dealt with over the last 10 years are wearing Cat #2 (or whatever the study showed) PPE and operating the equipment as recommended by the manufacturer. Hopefully you have some gear with higher IE that justifies the cost of remote racking.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2012 8:17 am 
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Goog comments Viper, and I agree that 30' may be far enough but in somecases it may not be.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 18, 2012 6:35 am 
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The risk of dehydration, heat stroke, etc., increases due to the insulative nature of the PPE. Is your safety professional looking at the comparative risks properly? Many don't or don't want to do this.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2012 1:39 pm 
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It is unfortunate that NFPA 70E does not have language like the NESC that allows reducing the level of PPE if it is thought that the required level of PPE can create a greater hazard. Heat stroke etc. is a very real and always present reality wearing heavy PPE in hot weather.


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