Technical Program Abstracts
The ESW 2023 Technical Program will incorporate these papers
347/600 volt Arc Flash Mitigation at British Columbia Hydro
Anthony Gamage, Scot Jackson, and Paul Therrien
British Columbia Hydro initially approached arc flash program development by performing engineering assessments to calculate incident energies across our power system. Due to the complexity of our 347/600 volt distribution secondary system and the difficulty of determining site-specific details, potential incident energy ranges were determined. Use of the highest incident energy value within the ranges would have resulted in major impacts to our workers and customers. Based on this, we worked with our engineering teams to develop arc flash mitigation options that would be less impactful and used a structured decision making process to engage stakeholders. From this process we identified a number of options that could reduce the arc flash impact to workers and customers. This paper details how we minimized the arc rated PPE impact to our workers through the development of a 347/600 volt arc flash mobile application to calculate site-specific incident energy and the use of temporary insulation to reduce the probability of the arc flash occurring.
A Deeper Dive Into Leading / Lagging Indicators for Electrical Safety is Required
Define leading and lagging indicators to frame effective and pragmatic goals within Electrical Safety Managed Systems. Why accountability, leadership courage and in particular, clarity are paramount and foundational for successful Electrical Safety Managed Systems. Take a significantly deeper dive into the leading and lagging relationships and alignments within electrical safety incidents. What are the enabling loops for organizational and operational precursors, job safety planning and operational failures. Explore from the perspectives of workers, supervisors, middle management and senior executive teams. Where are we really losing control of our work? These topics will be very relevant to stimulating innovation in creating the next generation of safe work practices, technology and electrical safety managed systems
Advancing Electrical Safety Towards a Global Electrical Work Safety Standard
For decades, international standardization for electrical equipment has been advancing electrical safety, reducing product design costs, and making it easier to design products for larger markets. By following international standards, the product can be designed to fulfil the requirements in both North American and European markets, as well as in many other countries in the world. However, despite the hazards of electricity being the same for human beings wherever in the world, no international electrical work safety standard has been prepared. In 2020, a new project group for writing a global electrical work safety standard was accepted in the IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission). In this paper, a comprehensive comparison for the contents and approach of three major electrical work safety standards, the NFPA 70E (United States), CSA Z462 (Canada) and EN 50110 (Europe) is carried out. In addition, types, and incidence rates of electrical accidents in the countries applying the standard are discussed, as well as the electrical safety legislation. Despite the physical dangers of electric current being the same ubiquitously, the installation practices as well as the work safety legislation and cultural issues can be a challenge for implementing a global electrical work safety standard. Ideally, a standard combining the best practices in all major local standards should be the goal for the international standard.
Arc Quenching Technology in Switchgear – Surpassing IEEE C37.20.7
Robert Burns, Dan Hrncir, and Austin Johnson
As electrical safety continues to be a focal point across the industry, there is a growing need to provide further protection from arc flash incidents. . New technologies have emerged to meet this need, creating an opportunity for industry standards and guides to be revised to account for these technologies. Recent publications have shown how arc quenching technology can reduce the available incident energy exposure from switchgear. Those papers referenced testing performed with the latest IEEE C37.20.7 IEEE Guide for Testing Switchgear Rated Up to 52kV for Internal Arcing Faults test guidelines. The IEEE C37.20.7 Accessibility Type 2 and Suffix B rating combination has, for many years, been considered the cornerstone for safety in switchgear. However, recent testing has shown that it’s possible to exceed Type 2B requirements and increase the level of personnel protection that arc quenching technology can offer. This new level of protection has been demonstrated by simulating an arcing fault in equipment utilizing arc quenching technology to control and contain the arcing energy inside of the switchgear even when circuit breakers are racked out or removed completely from their cells.
Arc Rating Variability and Repeatability: Why Does Fabric Arc Rating Vary and Which Value Is Correct?
Aasim Atiq, Eduardo Ramirez Bettoni, Brian Shiels, and Claude Maurice
Companies with electrical workers use arc ratings of fabrics for selecting appropriate PPE to protect against arc flash hazards. Workers need to match PPE rating against the incident energies calculated using hazard assessment methods. Variation in arc ratings of fabrics not only poses challenges for end users but also manufacturers and test laboratories. In this paper a test laboratory, a manufacturer, and a large US electric utility partnered and performed repeat tests on fabrics to study variation in arc ratings. The work included cross-referencing data from testing performed on control fabrics and comparison of results from different laboratories. The results help gain an understanding of factors that influence arc rating to help improve test methods and standards, guide users to select appropriate PPE to match their hazards and enable manufacturers to validate claims on their products. Lastly, the paper gives recommendations to end users regarding best practices to accommodate arc rating variability in their programs.
Best Practices for Non-NRTL Utilization Equipment Inspection Processes
Michael G. Anderson, and Drew Thomas
A survey was conducted to better understand the state of utilization equipment inspection processes and procedures across the Department of Energy (DOE) Complex to aid in developing these Best Practices. This review specifically examined topics such as: safety in design, procurement, and field evaluations as they directly relate to non-Listed equipment. The purpose of the DOE Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) Program is to ensure that all electrical equipment that is used at, by, or for the respective sites is approved, and therefore compliant with Occupational Safety and Health Agency (OSHA) and DOE regulations. Since all electrical equipment must be approved before being placed into service, it is essential to determine whether and how the equipment can be approved when said equipment is being selected for acquisition. Equipment that is “Listed” by an OSHA-accredited Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL) is “approved” for its “intended use”. However, equipment that is “not Listed” or is being used for something other than its intended purpose may require a NRTL and/or an AHJ Field Evaluation. NRTL Field Evaluations can be relatively expensive and time consuming, and the costs for modifying non-Listed equipment can only be known after the field evaluation is completed. Due to programmatic schedule and/or budget constraints, it is sometimes necessary to waive the NRTL requirement and instead perform an AHJ Field Inspection. These Best Practices describe standardized processes and procedures for AHJ Programs across the DOE Complex to follow when approving said non-NRTL’d utilization equipment.
A Scientist’s Perspective on Electrical Safety
Working at a DOE research laboratory, procedural compliance violations are considered a serious “safety offence”. More than two decades ago we implemented the Integrated Work Safety and Security Management (IWSSM) program. This program has changed and morphed over its time of existence. The changes will be discussed and analyzed for their benefit for worker safety. An investigation of the seemingly increase of workers that have become complacent with procedures and stopped thinking about their current task at hand will be presented. Also, a critical look will be taken at subject matter expertise in the frame of the IWSSM program. The study will include the incorporation of human performance tools as well as more classical approaches toward worker safety and how these have changed and developed through the two decades of the IWSSM program. In addition, future possibilities, challenges, and predictions for the program and worker safety will be presented.
Demystification of Arc-Fault Circuit-Interrupters (AFCIs)
Nehad El-Sherif and Thomas A. Domitrovich
Residential fires of electrical origin have been a major concern for a long time. A fire can be initiated by excessive current (due to an overload or a short circuit), or arcing current. Therefore, both Canadian Electrical Code (CE Code) Part I and the National Electrical Code (NEC) require the installation of overcurrent protection devices (OCPDs) to detect and clear excessive current. Conversely, arcing current is too low for OCPDs to detect. It could take an electric arc, minutes, days, weeks, months, or even years to initiate a fire. Therefore, a new solution was required for detecting those slowly developing arcs. Thus, Arc-fault Circuit-Interrupters (AFCIs) were born. AFCIs are capable of detecting an arcing condition (while still developing) and de-energizing the circuit before the arcing circuit ignites. AFCIs have been a hot topic creating quite a bit of controversy in the recent NEC review cycles. It is the authors’ opinion that this controversy stems from a lack of clear understanding of AFCIs operation, available technologies, and their capabilities. This paper attempts to clarify the confusion surrounding AFCIs, their applications, and success in making an impact on home electrical fires.
Note: This paper will be presented as two parts (Part I: Beginning of the Odyssey and Part II: Technology and Applications).
Development of a DC Arc Generator Testbed for Data-Driven Fault Analysis
Kristopher Jensen and Long Zhao
This work aims to develop a high-speed light-based DC arcing fault detection testbed and investigate the characteristics of DC arcing light to improve arcing fault detection. The content of this paper will describe the steps taken to execute an experiment designed to examine the light-emissions produced during the first millisecond of high-voltage dielectric breakdown of air between copper electrodes. The experiment includes building custom hardware, setting up a data collection environment, and analyzing the collected data with multiple methods to search for distinguishing characteristics. The hardware built for this experiment includes a high-voltage DC power supply, arc trigger circuit, and photodetector with high-bandwidth log transimpedance amplification. Our experiment includes using the previously described custom hardware with the addition of a spectrometer, distributed fiber-optic sensor, oscilloscope, signal generator, and adjustable copper electrode gap. The signal generator is connected to the arc trigger circuit with a repeating on and off the pattern that will trigger an arc and data collection with the oscilloscope and photo-spectrometer. Multiple arcs are generated in succession to build a database of arc generation events. The spectrometer and custom photosensor share a distributed fiber-optic sensing element. The data collected includes sub-microsecond light amplitude from the custom photodetector and sub-millisecond spectrum data from the spectrometer. These data series are aligned in time and then analyzed with a data-driven technique – singular value decomposition (SVD) to reveal dominant characteristics within their eigenvector matrices. This work can be applied to DC arc protection applications to improve detection speed and accuracy.
Did You Test Really Test That Interlock?
This case study will be about a commissioning problem at an industrial facility. The facility installed some new 24 kV SF6 gas insulated switchgear. Part of the commissioning work was to test the SF6 gas pressure interlock to ensure it worked properly to prevent operation of the SF6 circuit breaker if the gas pressure was too low. The commissioning contractor included testing of this interlock in their scope of work. Their documentation indicated the interlock had been tested. After the contractor performed commissioning work, a site requirement required removing some of the SF6 gas from the enclosure to verify proper operation of the interlock. The interlock did not work, event though it had been tested by the contractor. Investigation into the issue determined the equipment had a wiring error. The contractor had performed commissioning of the circuit past the wiring error and therefore did not identify the problem. Details of this incident will be shared along with actions put in place to prevent reoccurrence of this type of commissioning problem.
Doors Wide Open: Safety Beyond the Standards
John. A. Kay, Mikko Manninen, and Juha Arvola
Arc detection and quenching technologies have been successfully employed in various applications for over two decades. The global standards surrounding these technologies have continued to be refined and cross referred. However, these standards pre-determine a given hardware configuration regarding testing methodologies. The standards typically define the performance testing of these devices with the doors of the equipment being protect being closed during the testing cycles. In reality, many arc flash events occur when the equipment doors are open as qualified service personnel troubleshoot equipment or while determining if the working area is safe. Therefore, are the test sequences and results as defined in the procedures of the associated standards for performance evaluation of arc detection and quenching devices, still valid when the doors of the protected equipment are open or ajar. This paper will provide explicit details regarding testing which more accurately replicates real world applications where door could be open during troubleshooting and maintenance of the protect equipment. The work will also provide in-depth review of the global standards in active arc fault mitigation. Their deployment and applications in regions utilizing International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standards has been more rapid, than other global areas. North American standards for arc detection and quenching technologies are very rudimentary in their content and lack the technical advancements documented in the associated IEC standards. Because of this weakness in North American standards for these technologies, yet their deployment has been hampered by misunderstandings, misguided beliefs or inconsistent information.
Irregular Low-voltage Electrical Cables
Edson Martinho, Walter Aguiar Martins Júnior, and Danilo Ferreira de Souza
In emerging economies, it is common to find counterfeit or adulterated products on the market, where users seduced by the low purchase price, especially in a scenario of economic crisis, end up opting for the purchase of such products. Concerning products for electrical installations, it is no different. Most notably, in the wire and cable market, several products do not comply with the standards and end up saving on materials. This savings is mainly observed in the reduction of the volume of copper used in the conductors, causing overheating, increases in electrical losses and reduction of the useful life of the installation, increasing the risk of occurrence of fires of electrical origin. Brazil has maintained an independent entity for over 15 years, which monitors drivers in the market and takes action. In this work, 50 samples of cables collected by Qualifio – Brazilian Association for the Quality of Electrical Wires and Cables were used and submitted to tests according to ABNT NBR 6814: Electrical wires and cables – Electrical resistance test. The results showed that 32% of the collected wires and cables presented electrical resistance above the maximum allowed for that nominal section. In some cases, the resistance was “3”, three times higher than the upper limit established in the standard. Cables with the nominal area of 1.5 mm², 2.5 mm², 4 mm² and 6 mm² were analyzed.
Is Absence of Voltage “Live-Dead-Live” Testing According to NFPA 70E Adequate?
George T. Cole
According to NFPA 70E article 120.5(7), when establishing and verifying an electrically safe work condition (ESWC) requires the use of an adequately rated voltmeter to test for the absence of hazardous voltage, commonly called “Live-Dead-Live” testing. This very important check has been mandated since the 2004 edition with the 2021 directive to: “Use an adequately rated portable test instrument to test each phase conductor or circuit part to test for the absence of voltage. Test each phase conductor or circuit part both phase to phase and phase to ground. Before and after each test, determine that the test instrument is operating satisfactorily through verification on any know voltage source.” While the author agrees this practice is one of the most critical steps during verification of an ESWC before the work activity is started but it begs two very thought-provoking questions which must be answered. First, is a single absence of voltage test adequate to ensure workers will remain safe from electric shock and arc flash hazards once work has started? Secondly, the terms “phase-to-phase” is synonymous with only alternate circuit (ac) systems and “phase-to-ground” for those that are solidly or reference grounded, such as a wye and some delta connections. The designation “phase” traditionally applies to the “ungrounded conductor” and “ground” associated with either the equipment grounding conductor (EGC) or the intentionally grounded “neutral” conductor or any other part connected to earth. But with ungrounded ac systems, especially single-phase circuits, testing “phase-to-phase” is confusing and “phase-to-ground” can lead to a false reading the parts about to be touched is absent of hazardous potential. For direct current (dc) systems, the terms “phase-to-phase” and “phase-to-ground” doesn’t seem to fit. Therefore, is a more technically accurate verbiage needed to ensure absence of voltage testing is correctly performed for either type of current and for circuits that are referenced to ground or not? This paper will attempt to provide a basis that conducting a single absence of voltage test is inadequate and 120.5 should be updated to require additional absence of voltage testing be performed under certain conditions by using an example of a very serious electric shock accident during routine maintenance of a 13.8kV switchgear.
Learnings From 480 V Arc-Flash Incident
This case study will provide learnings from an arc-flash incident in a 480 V substation. The incident created significant equipment damage and injury to one person. Some learnings that will be shared are: inadequate maintenance practices, improper arc-flash PPE selection, inadequate training, unawareness of electrical hazards, and questionable use of electrical equipment.
Methods for Evaluating DC Arc Flash Incident Energy in Energy Storage Systems
Energy storage systems continue to be one of the fastest growing segments of the energy industry. This paper focuses on the understanding of how battery technology behaves under short-circuit and dc arc flash conditions. Emphasis is placed on the electrical safety aspects of dc arc flash incident energy evaluation for battery systems. This paper discusses the behavior of battery systems under short-circuit conditions and presents the results of available methods to estimate the dc arc flash incident energy. This paper provides a comparative analysis of results for lithium-ion, lead-acid and flow battery types. The results of the method are compared against available laboratory tests. Detailed explanations are provided regarding the effect of conductor type, erosion, battery and conductor time-constants and other parameters which affect the incident energy calculation results.
Modeling DC Arc Physics and Applications for DC Arc Flash Risk Assessment
Lloyd B. Gordon
Although the physics of low-current, DC arcs has been studied for over 80 years, a focus on high-current, DC arcs began about 1970, primarily for understanding low-voltage, stable arcs for welding applications. These arcs are dominated by energy conversion to radiated energy. A more recent interest in understanding longer, higher-current, and higher-voltage DC arcs began only about 20 years ago with the concern of DC arc flash hazards. For these arcs the dominant energy conversion results in an expanding plasma, i.e., the arc flash.
AC arc flash hazards were recognized in 1982 and introduced into OSHA and NFPA 70E soon thereafter. DC arc flash hazards were being considered by 2007 and introduced into the 2012 NFPA 70E, only 10 years ago. Two methods were introduced to estimate DC incident energy, with little data available. In general, these methods overestimate the hazard when compared to recent laboratory data. This presentation will cover (a) the current understanding of high-current, DC arc physics, (b) current models used in performing DC incident energy analyses, and (c) recent laboratory studies to measure DC arc flash parameters for several voltages. This latest information will then be used to evaluate the accuracy of current methods, and to propose improved approaches to using nonlinear models, based on the nonlinear nature of the DC source, for more accurate analysis. This presentation will consider the unique modeling needs of large battery systems (lead acid, lithium ion, flow, etc.), capacitor systems, and solar voltaic systems.
NFPA 70E 2024 Proposed Changes
This presentation will cover the proposed changes to the 2024 edition of NFPA 70E. Attendees will learn about the Public Comments as acted on by the NFPA 70E committee.
Normalization of Deviance and Why Accidents are Not Always Accidental
On January 28, 1986, the world witnessed an accident that was, at the time, the worst disaster in the history of space flight. With seven astronauts on board, the space shuttle Challenger exploded just 73 seconds after its launch. The investigation into the Challenger disaster revealed cultural and systemic flaws in NASA operations; as a result, the concept of “normalization of deviance” was developed. Normalization of deviance is when unacceptable practices become acceptable behaviors. While the results of this process are often painfully clear, detecting and identifying this phenomenon can be extremely difficult. Challenger, the loss of the space shuttle Columbia in 2003, and other disasters have been shocking reminders of how seemingly innocuous details play essential roles in the interactions of complex systems and organizations. This paper is not about NASA and space shuttles. Normalizing deviance in any safety-critical process or task can be disastrous; allowing deviations in operating, inspection, and maintenance procedures can seriously erode safety margins. Deviation occurs because of physical or psychological barriers to using the correct process; other drivers such as time, cost, and peer pressure also contribute. These are not problems that reside solely with the people performing the work. Looking at organizational safety through the lens of human performance recognizes that safety challenges are present at all levels of an organization, as do the opportunities to uncover and address them. This paper takes a human factors approach to organizational safety and outlines some critical features of process drift and normalization of deviance. It also reviews the reality that many accidents have causative factors in production areas and management offices. Finally, it evaluates recent accidents and how they display characteristics of organizational failure and proposes recommendations for improvement.
Reducing Risk when Performing Energized Work on Batteries
Electrical safety guidance in NFPA 70E for work on batteries can be substantially improved. Article 120, Establishing an Electrically Safe Work Condition was originally developed to manage electrical sources that can be de-energized, e.g., facility ac/dc power circuits. This has led to inappropriate enforcement of electrical safety practices, by some, that were intended for power distribution circuits to battery work including attempts to create requirements to: deenergize batteries, verify zero energy, or establish an electrically safe work condition. However, the principles of the control of hazardous energy, including lockout tagout (LOTO), can and need to be adapted to work on batteries. A lower-risk work condition can be established by sectionalizing the battery into lower voltages and/or lower energy segments. This talk will explore the modifications required to develop a battery hazardous control procedure that can protect workers and avoid accidents. The presentation will also cover several physical properties and engineering controls common in battery systems that affect the battery risk assessment required by NFPA 70E. Lastly, the paper will present a list of changes proposed to electrical safety practices, including those outlined in NFPA 70E, that would clarify how to control hazardous energy in batteries, helping to avoid future misapplication of power distribution circuit electrical safety practices to batteries.
Safety-Related Concerns with Installation and Use of Switch-Rated Plug-Receptacle Combinations in Lieu of Installed Metal-Enclosed Disconnect Switches
John J. Whipple and Richard Waters
The manufacturers of NRTL listed, switch-rated, plug and receptacle combinations tout the convenience, reliability, efficiency, and compliance with both NFPA 70 and NFPA 70E as advantages to using these products to replace traditional metal-enclosed disconnect switches. The authors have received requests from equipment users in industrial facilities to replace traditional metal-enclosed disconnect switches with switch-rated plug-receptacle combinations. Owners, project managers, and engineers are also fond of specifying these more modern plug-receptacle combinations as a cost saving benefit for new construction. The authors have discovered that some of the interest in these requests, and especially with retrofitting, is to 1) reclaim valuable floor space in already crowded facilities avoiding the requirement to maintain the NEC 110.26 working space, 2) Avoiding the need to perform lockout/tagout and zero-energy verification by using “exclusive control” of the cord/plug while performing servicing and maintenance activities, and 3) Avoiding the use of arc flash PPE. This paper investigates two unintended consequences (Adequate working and clear space may not be provided for safe operation of equipment, and personnel connecting and disconnecting plugs from receptacles in high energy systems may not be adequately protected from potential arc-flash hazards) NFPA-70E article 110.9(E) addresses the need for insulating protective equipment when the connection could provide a conductive path to the employee’s hand, but it does not specify the use of arc flash PPE when connecting/disconnecting cord and plug connections. The authors will present arguments for the use of arc flash PPE under circumstances where connecting/disconnecting a cord and plug connection presents the same level of risk as operating a local disconnect. The authors will also present methods and suggestions that will allow for the installation of a plug-receptacle disconnecting means to meet the intent of the installation and personnel protection requirements of NFPA-70 and NFPA-70E.
Sensitivities and Issues with ASTM F1959 Clothing Tests
Tom Short and Marcia Eblen
A set of ASTM F1959 fabric tests provided a useful set of data for a deeper review of the test procedure and setup for testing arc-rated fabrics. Some findings based on the test data and results include: (a) The arc thermal performance value (ATPV) rating is sensitive to the assignment of time zero for the Stoll curve relative to the temperatures measured on the calorimeters, (b) the ATPV rating is sensitive to errors in the panel calorimeter results, (c) there is a contradiction in F1959 related to the determination of a burn, (d) directional effects can cause differences between panels and between calorimeter positions, and (e) results for fabric tests varied significantly. These results point to a need to consider changes to F1959 or alternative approaches to obtain more consistent ratings.
Surprising Ratings of Arc-Rated Clothing Obtained from a Major Online Vendor
Tom Short and Marcia Eblen
This paper presents results of testing to evaluate ratings of five fabrics obtained from shirt samples from a major online vendor. Results of the test were all well under the advertised rating. Some samples broke open at energies less than the rating. Styles were single-layer shirts with advertised arc thermal performance value (ATPV) ratings between 8 and 10 cal/cm2. These are commonly used as daily wear protection. Three were 100% cotton and two were modacrylic blends. Sensitivity analyses are also shown based on the test results. These test results raise questions about online vendors and the ability to obtain reliable rating information.
Sustainability of an Electric Arc Flash at a Voltage of 240 Vac and 150 Vdc
Kirk Gray and Rémi Hallé
The purpose of this paper is to present arc flash laboratory results related to the occurrence of an electric arc flash and the protection offered to workers during arc flash interventions. Our goal was to carry out laboratory tests in order to decide on sustainability an electric arc flash at a voltage of 240 Vac and, the adequacy of the choice of the formula for evaluating the incident energy at 129 Vdc compared to the values obtained in the laboratory. In alternating current, there is a discrepancy according to the applicable standard for the same intervention. This discrepancy results in the application of different security measures. Preliminary research tends to support the thesis of a non-sustainability of the electric arc flash at 240 Vac, whereas the use of the formula used for the direct current would be far too conservative compared to laboratory tests. Following confirmation of the preliminary results, it would be possible to review the protection required during high-risk DC interventions and to rule on the dangerousness of several interventions. Doing so could eliminate the need to wear PPE or reduce the necessary protection associated with risky procedures.
The Impact of Abrasion and Cut Resistance on Rubber Insulating Gloves from Aramid Lined and Unlined Leather Protector Gloves
Eduardo Ramirez-Bettoni, Aasim Atiq, Max Hackett, and Eric Key
This study assessed the performance of leather protector gloves with and without aramid lining, when used over rubber insulating gloves for live work applications. Aramid fibers in protector gloves were found not to affect the performance of rubber insulating gloves. Aramid fiber in protector gloves increases the cut resistance of the glove and the protective level against arc flash thermal energy. This work includes the analysis of the effect of different types of aramid yarns on class 0 and class 2 rubber insulating gloves. The samples were abraded using a Martindale abrasion tester. Then, the layers were studied for mechanical wear. Finally, the rubber samples were tested for leakage current in electric tests at high voltage. The tests demonstrated that the rubber samples experienced leakage current values under the limits stipulated in ASTM Std. D120.
The New NFPA 70B Standard For Electrical Maintenance
Marcelo Valdes and Karl Cunningham
NFPA 70B has made the transition from a recommended practice to the Standard for Electrical Equipment Maintenance. As a standard, the document describes the minimum requirements for maintenance of electrical equipmen in industrial and commerical installation of various types. Electrical maintenance for safety of personnel and environment is a key the focus. of this standard. The standard describes what is to be maintained, how to determine the expected maintenance, and the expected intervals for performing electrical preventive maintenance. This paper shall provide an explanation of the major points and foundations to help develop an understanding on how to use and apply the new standard.
Through the Lens of Systems Safety: The Limitations of a Compliance-Based Safety Culture and Opportunities to Reduce Electrical Injuries
Landis “Lanny” Floyd
Since 1970, the discussion of occupational electrical safety in the U.S. has largely focused on compliance with safe work practices in OSHA regulations and NFPA70E, Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace. Without taking away from the importance of the requirements in the regulations and standard, this paper discusses the limitations of compliance-based safety culture and discusses a more comprehensive solution, based on proven concepts derived from systems safety. For more than 50 years, I have explored advancements in technology, safe work practices, management systems, and human and organizational performance as they relate to electrical safety. During this journey, I have seen annual electrocution fatalities decrease by more than 80% in the U.S. However, other industrialized countries have demonstrated significantly better results in reducing electrical fatalities, which suggests that a significant reduction in the U.S. is possible. This paper discusses the limitations of compliance-based safety management systems that have evolved in the U.S. over the past 50 years and how systems safety concepts can complement and improve the effectiveness of compliance-based electrical safety programs. This paper will: (a) provide a brief history of the development of systems safety, (b) discuss the limitations of compliance-based safety culture, (c) show the impact of systems safety on occupational safety management, and (d) provide examples of how to look through the lens of systems safety to reduce risk in your electrical safety program.
Arc Resistant Equipment – A Risk Control Perspective
Harsh Karandikar, Marcelo Valdes, Michael LaFond, and John Webb
Arc Resistant (AR) Equipment has gained popularity in North American over the last 2 decades and has been popular in IEC markets even longer. AR equipment tested per the applicable testing protocol can provide an improved level of control of the risk associated with the hazard of electrical power. However, it does not eliminate the hazard, nor does it provide complete control under all circumstances. Like other capabilities of electrical equipment and other risk control mechanisms, it provides value when properly applied, maintained, and used, but may have its value limited if otherwise. The capabilities and limitations of AR equipment should be understood from the perspective of the risk control it is intended to be. This paper will present an overview of what AR equipment is, and is not, and how to consider its capabilities within the context of risk management.
Safety For The Non-electrical Worker: Special-purpose GFCIs Are a Step Closer to in Prevention Through Design
Tim Piemonte and Mark Pollock
Special-Purpose GFCIs (SPGFCIs) are incredibly important across many industries, and yet—many people are unaware of this proactive engineering control. This innovative safety device will make its first appearance in the NEC next year, and while it will only be required for specific applications, there are many others where shock hazards are just as prevalent and dangerous—if not more so—especially where workers are exposed to higher voltages such as in industrial, manufacturing and construction environments. This paper will review the design principles mandated by the NEC and discuss Special-Purpose GFCI technology, which react to hazards before they become shock events. Injury data shows that the majority of occupational electrocutions and severe shock injuries occur in non-electrical occupations. Much to the chagrin of many safety professionals, non-qualified electrical workers have a difficult time identifying potential electrical hazards. These invisible electrical hazards are often lurking in otherwise normal looking installations due to various conditions like the environment, the setup/installation, poor equipment grounding, or overuse of operating equipment. Protecting the non-qualified electrical person from shock is not a new problem. When it comes to residential and commercial applications, it’s one we began solving more than 50 years ago with the introduction of the GFCI. GFCIs are proven to save lives, but do not always prevent shock incidents from occurring. Leakage current must be present for the device to work, so the person the device is saving is still exposed to a (rapid) shock incident. While it is still important to react to these situations, it would be better to proactively identify the hazard before a shock incident occurred. This paper will focus on those situations where more electrical safety training or additional PPE requirements are not practical and where Special-Purpose GFCIs should be implemented instead.
Why Can’t a Person Use a Proximity Sensor to Verify a Zero Voltage State for Low Voltage Systems?
This question comes up frequently in electrical safety training classes. The proximity sensor is a very popular troubleshooting tool for electricians. This paper will look at how the sensor works. There are two styles. A capacitive coupled one and an inductive coupled one. The capacitive measures for voltage and the inductive measures for current. The paper will examine the limitations of the proximity sensor device that could create a serious electrical safety issue. Then, the paper will look at the interpretations of OSHA on these devices. OSHA does not specify a method to verify that circuits are de-energized as part of a lock out tag out procedure, only that it be done. OSHA will defer to the NFPA 70E Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace under their General Duty Clause as to how to perform this function. The NFPA 70E requires phase to phase and phase to ground verification for a zero-voltage state. This cannot be done with a proximity sensor. These OSHA interpretations are the result of someone getting seriously hurt when using these devices.
Why Do Electrical Fatalities Occur on the Job? Understand The Human Factor of a Fatality
Daniel Majano and Brett Brenner
Contact with or exposure to electricity continues to be one of the leading causes of workplace fatalities and injuries in the United States. Between 2011 and 2020, there was a total of 1,501 electrical fatalities, accounting for 3% of all workplace deaths and 24,280 electrical injuries. During this period, 80% of all electrically related fatalities happened to workers in occupations outside of the electrical industry, and the number of incidents has stayed consistent since 2011. This paper examines each electrical incident that occurred in the United States during this period to gain an understanding of why electrical fatalities are occurring, if engineering control or behavioral changes could have avoided the injury, and the demographics more likely to be involved in an electrical incident. With an understanding of who and why workers are involved in electrical incidents, changes can be made in the workplace and in training to prevent the number of electrically related injuries in the United States.
Increasing Safety Through Asset Reliability Programs
The electrical industry is one of the most dangerous work environments for employees. The risk of injuries and fatalities is high due to the nature of the work and the amount of interaction workers have with dangerous equipment and conditions. Electrical incidents happen daily, putting lives and operations at risk. The four primary hazards associated with electricity are shock, fire ignition, arc flash, and arc blast. When an electrical incident occurs, other hazards may come into play such as falls from elevated locations and working within a confined space. The results can be direct, such as electrocution, burn injuries, or indirect such as a fall or smoke inhalation. Common conditions that may increase hazards are elevated locations and confined spaces.
Since its inception in 1992, the ESW has established itself as the industry’s premier electrical safety conference. We look forward to seeing you at the next ESW!
Your support will help us provide a quality social experience for the participants by supporting socials, meals, and refreshment breaks. Become an ESW Supporter today.
As a first time attendee, you will find yourself in the company of people who share a passion for advancing the state of the art in electrical safety. Learn More.
Get the details on how attending an ESW technical sessions can give you credits towards your continued education development. Learn More.