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 Post subject: PPE requirements for working in 480volt 2000 amp switchgear
PostPosted: Sun Mar 12, 2017 10:09 am 
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My current employer requires us to work in "energized" equipment. It is common for us to use cardboard or what ever plywood we can find to separate us from the copper bussing within the equipment. We do use rubber gloves around the equipment, but it is my opinion that we should have additional protection. Can anyone provide input.


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 Post subject: Re: PPE requirements for working in 480volt 2000 amp switchg
PostPosted: Sun Mar 12, 2017 12:49 pm 
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There is so much wrong there, I don't know where to start.

Work on energized equipment is generally prohibited by OSHA unless there are certain considerations met like life and safety.

Cardboard and plywood to cover/barricade energized bus bars is a recipe for disaster. Proper insulating material should be used.

Only rubber gloves? What voltage? Are they tested within the last 6 months?

Arc rated PPE is needed for the type of work you are describing. Not having it would be an OSHA violation for not providing the proper PPE for the hazard. An arc flash study (preferable) or NFPA 70E-2015 will tell you what PPE is needed for your task.

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 Post subject: Re: PPE requirements for working in 480volt 2000 amp switchg
PostPosted: Sun Mar 12, 2017 1:57 pm 
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wbd wrote:
There is so much wrong there, I don't know where to start.

Work on energized equipment is generally prohibited by OSHA unless there are certain considerations met like life and safety.

Cardboard and plywood to cover/barricade energized bus bars is a recipe for disaster. Proper insulating material should be used.

Only rubber gloves? What voltage? Are they tested within the last 6 months?

Arc rated PPE is needed for the type of work you are describing. Not having it would be an OSHA violation for not providing the proper PPE for the hazard. An arc flash study (preferable) or NFPA 70E-2015 will tell you what PPE is needed for your task.


^^^^^^This!!!!!!!!^^^^^^

Your employer needs a wake-up call and pronto before someone gets hurt or killed and you and your fellow employees need to refuse to work in live equipment unless and until you get proper training and PPE, both of which are the employers responsibility to provide!


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 Post subject: Re: PPE requirements for working in 480volt 2000 amp switchg
PostPosted: Sun Mar 12, 2017 2:00 pm 
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I just told my wife (who is also an EE) about your post. Her response:

"I hope he has good life insurance. Where's he from? Bangladesh? "

Jokes aside, it's a serious issue. Your employer is either naive or too old school or both.


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 Post subject: Re: PPE requirements for working in 480volt 2000 amp switchg
PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2017 5:01 am 
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After thinking about this more and continually shaking my head over it, this employer really needs the OSHA 1910 book smack on his head. Normally I don't advocate this as I prefer other ways but this may warrant dropping a dime to call OSHA. With those practices it is not a question of if but rather when someone is seriously injured or killed.

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 Post subject: Re: PPE requirements for working in 480volt 2000 amp switchg
PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2017 6:03 am 
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Go to Youtube and search for arc flash. I expect you'll change your mind about working in live equipment with virtually no PPE.


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 Post subject: Re: PPE requirements for working in 480volt 2000 amp switchg
PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2017 8:32 am 
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I agree with all....your employer should wake up. If you continue, you or your coworkers will become one of the statistics we still read about. No live work beyond testing and even then you should have all required PPE. There is plenty of free education on the web if your employer will not educate you in house. Take the time and do it right.


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 Post subject: Re: PPE requirements for working in 480volt 2000 amp switchg
PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2017 9:05 am 
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I recommend the following steps
1. - Immediately stop working on energized equipment.
2. - Have an electrical safety class taught at your facility or attend one near by. Make sure it emphasizes NFPA 70E and Arc Flash Hazards/Protection. Have your management attend so that they know what the risks are.
3. - Implement a Energize Electrical Work Permit program as described in NFPA 70E. (Management has to sign off and give you permission to work on energized equipment (except for troubleshooting and testing.)
4. - Immediately purchase and wear at a minimum, 8 Cal/cm2 AR clothing. Also purchase AR face shield and balaclava head protection.
5. - Use (until your arc flash study is completed) NFPA 70E Task Tables to determine the PPE you should be wearing.
6. - Hire a professional to perform and arc flash study and apply AF labels to your equipment.

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 Post subject: Re: PPE requirements for working in 480volt 2000 amp switchg
PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2017 11:27 am 
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I agree with all of you BUT (big but) refusing to do work or getting in the face of your employer is a good method for you to get a permanent vacation!

Roy, you are on the right path! You and those you work with need to be educated and then you need to go to management with your concerns and the things you have gotten educated on. Probably sooner than later. There is plenty of resources on the web to become educated. If that does not work then you can go to OSHA and let them come in the assess the situation - this may take time and may have unintended consequences. Or you can wait for someone to get injured - it may be you!

This sounds to be a serious situation but the brute force method may not the best fight. Sound buy-in from management is generally sweeter!


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 Post subject: Re: PPE requirements for working in 480volt 2000 amp switchg
PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2017 11:39 am 
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Hi Roy

Greetings from North of the border. I have to agree with the others here that have posted. However when you say "working energized" are you performing diagnostics- testing/ troubleshooting or repairs? Meaning installing, connecting, repairs on energized electrical equipment. If you are performing repairs then yes you better do what has been suggested above. Also as mentioned you need a copy of NFPA 70E and if nothing else show it to your employer at least! Forget about the permanent vacation. No employer is worth it. If you are in fact performing repairs, you will have a permanent vacation alright. Someplace where you would much not rather be


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 Post subject: Re: PPE requirements for working in 480volt 2000 amp switchg
PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2017 1:29 pm 
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Lockout wrote:
Hi Roy

Greetings from North of the border. I have to agree with the others here that have posted. However when you say "working energized" are you performing diagnostics- testing/ troubleshooting or repairs? Meaning installing, connecting, repairs on energized electrical equipment. If you are performing repairs then yes you better do what has been suggested above. Also as mentioned you need a copy of NFPA 70E and if nothing else show it to your employer at least! Forget about the permanent vacation. No employer is worth it. If you are in fact performing repairs, you will have a permanent vacation alright. Someplace where you would much not rather be


Jim needs to add a "like" button.


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 Post subject: Re: PPE requirements for working in 480volt 2000 amp switchg
PostPosted: Tue Mar 14, 2017 5:35 am 
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x2

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 Post subject: Re: PPE requirements for working in 480volt 2000 amp switchg
PostPosted: Tue Mar 14, 2017 11:23 am 
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Roy Gosz wrote:
My current employer requires us to work in "energized" equipment. It is common for us to use cardboard or what ever plywood we can find to separate us from the copper bussing within the equipment. We do use rubber gloves around the equipment, but it is my opinion that we should have additional protection. Can anyone provide input.


There is rubber blanket and sheeting on the market specifically for this. As to whether or not plywood or cardboard is acceptable, it depends on the situation. At 120 VAC you just have to avoid contact and even 70E recognizes that dry leather gloves are acceptable in certain cases (plugs). Plenty of equipment in the past was built out of plywood and works pretty good, too, so I'm not automatically going to reject this idea either. It's really a matter of...is this all make shift stuff or are you taking an approach that is basically an engineered approach.


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