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 Post subject: Please Help A Contractor To Understand...
PostPosted: Wed Feb 17, 2010 1:50 pm 
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Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2010 1:24 pm
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Hello Forum,
I am new here and perhaps a bit out of my league but in need of advice.
We are a residential/commercial HVAC contractor.
About two thirds of our guys work on residential equipment (230V single phase). It's just your typical air handlers and condensing units connected through 20-60 amp breakers to house load centers with 100-200 amp main breakers. We are wanting to comply with NFPA 70E and a bit confused and conflicted.
We are putting everybody in Category II daily wear clothing as recomended by our uniform rental service. We are preparing to mandate gloves and leather protectors along with safety glasses for all "hot work" but are feeling that hardhats and face shields is over the top for this group of guys. Without performing further arc flash analysis, can we rely on IEEE 1584 as it relates to circuits <250V and <125kVA to justify our feelings.
Maybe this question is too broad but any guidence would be greatly appreciated...
Thank you all!


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 17, 2010 2:27 pm 
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Joined: Sun Dec 23, 2007 1:44 pm
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Location: Charlotte, NC
I would probably have them in FR, although I don't know if I would do the CAT 2 level. This class of service is not covered by 70E, but I would think any level of FR would be prudent. At least your uniform guy is happy!

Contact is a different animal though and you should have them in gloves.

Hardhat?????When was the last time an air conditioner fell on their head?

I think hard hats are as oversold as the FR in many cases.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 17, 2010 3:09 pm 
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Joined: Sun Aug 16, 2009 8:42 am
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Location: Lawrenceburg KY
It’s great to see you jumping on the safety bandwagon for your workers.
I understand your confusion on how to deal with this.

I would suggest FR (Flame Retardant) clothing. However, your type of work I would recommend the workers are allowed to wear 100% cotton tee shirts during warm weather when they are not working on any equipment that is energized.

Use long sleeve's, voltage rated gloves (500v?), with leather covers, and properly rated test meters, and insulated tools when working around the boundary area of the LV.

Everyone does something different but if I were in your business electrical hot work permits may not be reasonable. However, if your guys are alone and they intend to removes covers that could expose them to the 230v maybe you could have the tech phone in when they start and when finished just to be sure they are safe. Just an idea.

I posted an annual check off document for worker to have an annual job briefing that shows they are qualified to do low voltage task. This helps meet NFPA 70E job briefing requirements.

I do technical documents so if you need an consultant help send me a private message.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 17, 2010 8:58 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2008 8:49 pm
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Location: New England
The exception in IEEE is 'under 240V and 125KVA' which would imply the next nominal level at 208V. The exception in NFPA is '240V and below and 125KVA'.
So you can site the NFPA as an exception, but not the IEEE as your work is 240V or above.

However, understanding the implication of IEEE is for 3 phase systems and you are single phase, I would be comfortable with you applying the exception also.

For what you are doing, and if you are in warm climates, I would think HRC Level 2 might be overkill. With the exception you are at Level 0, so dungaree pants and long sleeve cotton shirt are all you need. I might say dungaree pants, but go up to a Level 1 tee shirt, like that made by Oberon. The higher FR you can go is better, but your risk for household appliances is pretty small.

You should be commended for implementing this program. Welcome to the forum and please continue posting. We need to hear from real contractors.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2010 8:32 am 
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Thank you to all who have replied thus far...

Yes, we are in South West Florida so worker comfort is a prime concern. Our uniform previously consisted of poly blend pants and short sleave poly blend shirts (standard issue Cintas). The direction we chose was to switch to 10.2 ATPV FR pants (from Cintas) and issue all workers 2 long sleave FR shirts (I forget the rating but it is also from Cintas). The guys will continue to wear their existing shirts for general (non-hot electrical) work. However, when performing hot-work, our protocol would then require then slip into the FR shirt along with Class 00 rubber gloves & protectors and safety glasses.

We felt comfortable with this level of protection but were looking for more than just our "guts" to base our feelings on. It was then that I happened across an article that referanced IEEE Standard 1584, Section 9.3.2. I also understand that NFPA is debating weather or not to delete their exception No. 1 to 130.3 so I guess once that happens we will possibly be on thinner ice should OSHA come knockin'. Time will tell I supose...

Thank you again and any addition input is welcome...


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2010 9:11 am 
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Meltable clothing under FR is not allowed.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2010 4:52 pm 
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Okay then, good point...duly noted...they "change" out of their poly shirts and into their FR shirts.
Thanks!


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