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 Post subject: Arc Flash PPE
PostPosted: Mon Apr 06, 2009 12:42 pm 
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Location: TN
Our Corporate Safety and Compliance says that in order to turn on a breaker in the panel box, the employee must wear ppe of long sleeve natural fiber shirt (cotton) and long pants. I think the key word are working on, not turning on. Which is correct?


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 06, 2009 3:18 pm 
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bmonroe1 wrote:
Our Corporate Safety and Compliance says that in order to turn on a breaker in the panel box, the employee must wear ppe of long sleeve natural fiber shirt (cotton) and long pants. I think the key word are working on, not turning on. Which is correct?


They are correct, however you need to be "Qualified" per NFPA 70E to do anything that may be electrically hazardous, and if you needed to ask that question you are not qualified to do that task and therefore wear any PPE. I suggest you request the proper training and PPE. Depending on the availabel fault current and clearing time of the upstream protective device wearing a LS cotton shirt and pants (Commonly refered to as HRC 0) may not be enough protection.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 06, 2009 5:12 pm 
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Also keep in mind that it depends on what panel box you are accessing. Depending on the phasing, supply size, and voltage PPE might not be required. But otherwise Zog is correct, check the task tables and the exceptions in 70E. There are not many but they might answer your question. As you are finding out, 70E is a pretty complex standard.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2009 5:29 am 
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Also keep in mind that the updated definitions of an Arc-Flash Hazard may exist when energized electrical conductors or circuit parts are exposed or when they are within equipment in a guarded or enclosed condition, provided a person is interacting with the equipment in such a manner that could cause an electric arc.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2009 8:47 am 
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Does this also mean that under the new rules an employee that turns on the lights in a 208/120 volt panel, HRC 0, has to be qualified and wear the proper PPE including gloves ? The circuit breakers are rated switch duty. This seems strange when because it is under 240 volts and fed from a trans. under 125KVA it need not be considered. I do however include everything.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2009 6:19 pm 
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Does the under 125KVA and 240V exemption to analysis mean that NO PPE is required, or does it permit no analysis and the minimum PPE? The minimum PPE is now HRC 0, long sleeve shirt non melting.

Somewhere along the line I think NFPA lost touch with common practice in most large facilities. These are 'switch rated' and its not uncommon for janitors, cleaning crews, operators, managers, etc to turn on or off the lighting breakers in a 208/120 panel every morning and evening.

In my facility we have offices that have 208V single phase electric heat and 208V window air conditioners. There is a voltage rated, Summer/Winter switch on the wall. Its not a circuit breaker panel, but are we going to need PPE to operate a voltage rated switch next?


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