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Thread: Your PPE--some things you've changed

  1. #1
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    Your PPE--some things you've changed

    Understanding that a flash analysis must be wrought before a definitive response can be rendered regarding the exact type PPE one wears, what are you commercial electricians wearing to protect yourself? What type/ brands / model coats, coveralls? Say for instance-- and once again, I understand the proximity to transformer, service, size of transformer, etc; must be considered.....but what if you need to test a breaker --how are you removing panel covers on 400a panels and testing current and voltage readings now? With what baseline PPE coverage do you consider worthy of entry -PPE?

    I'm a licensed electrician and just starting my business. Been out of the field for awhile and just trying to gather some insight into makes of clothing, brands and types, which may be recommended by those in the field. Although Im from the old school where I used to place my left hand in my pocket while working in 480 volt panels with a clean-shanked screwdriver in the right..dumb I know. We all were so ill-informed, sad its taken so many burns for someone to say, "Hey!" Anyway, I'm sure there are enough of those stories to go around by member's of this forum for all.

    At anyrate, all of the literature from the NFPA and the sites which sale protective clothing, seemingly make deriving at a choice a daunting task. I'm all for safety and certainly don't mind protecting myself by wearing said gear, just trying to reach a decision on the type which might be a good fit for me and what it is that I will be exposed to.

    Working in commercial and industrial environs, leaves me with no other choice but to remove panel covers and check voltages/ measure currents, etc; Let me clarify, I don't plan on working in larger industrial environments, I'm just a one man show for now. There will be opportunity to work in small scale industrial environments for there are a lot of woodworking and machine shops in the region.

    As long as I've been doing electrical work 480 has always had my respect. That being said, with all the literature surrounding arc flashes and the depth of studies which have arisen over the past ten years, its left me with a greater concern than I've ever had. Concerns like--what is the probability of arc flashes occurring between meter probes in/and around panel boxes when taking voltage readings....proximities of meter lead probes, even if using the minimal exposure tips (4mm) inside 480 cans? A special concern is- if one is checking phase to phase. I know how I've always done it-on the main lugs as many of my predecessors did and some still do, I presume. But, certainly doesn't mean that's the better approach.

    What are your thoughts? Means and methods when working by yourself and such?

  2. #2
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    I think the first thing you need to do is buy and thoroughly read NFPA 70E-2015. This will help you develop an electrical safety program which would identify the tasks and PPE needed. While the tables for PPE will identify the PPE by task they are not as good as having a study done by the facility and reading a label for the PPE. Of course if there is a task you are doing that is not in the tables, then NFPA 70E says a study is needed. The other item that can get you on the tables is being outside the set parameters for bolted fault current and associated clearing time.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by amp-here View Post
    What are your thoughts? Means and methods when working by yourself and such?
    i normally use a lucky rabbit's foot. i have it fireproofed first,
    then dip it in a container of common sense i keep handy for
    the purpose, before use.

    i use a salsbury 40 cal suit. i had to pick something to
    work in any situation, as i didn't want to bother with the
    different levels. 40 cal is good for anything, as if you need
    more than 40 cal, the pressure wave will probably kill you,
    which obviates the need for a 100 cal suit.

    for blankets, i use a disposable 1000 volt liner, that comes
    in rolls. reuse it until it gets snarky, and dispose. can be cut
    and fitted as needed.

    i have salsbury 1kv gloves for fiddling inside panels, where i
    need dexterity. i have 17kv salsbury gloves for when i need
    the 40cal protection for survivability.
    .
    my place i get most everything like this, is here, as they are
    local to me... you can get this stuff on amazon however,
    but a 40 cal suit here is about $1,100. amazon is a bunch more.

    http://www.burlingtonsafety.com/

    if zog posts on this, he would be an excellent guy to listen to.
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  4. #4
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    Safety boots instead of safety shoes.
    Si hoc legere scis nimium eruditionis habes.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by amp-here View Post
    Concerns like--what is the probability of arc flashes occurring between meter probes in/and around panel boxes when taking voltage readings....proximities of meter lead probes, even if using the minimal exposure tips (4mm) inside 480 cans?
    .
    it's not the probe slipping that causes concern for me,
    as much as the stuff that nobody can plan for... i was
    pulling a new circuit into a 400 amp 480 volt panel,
    wall mounted, about a 5' high enclosure, extending
    almost to the floor . mounted on a factory wall,
    next to a similar enclosure. been there 30+ years.

    piping, we removed the cover, carefully punched a 1 1/2"
    hole for the conduit, put a chase nipple thru the hole
    into a C condulet, closed up the panel, and piped it
    several hundred feet.

    pulled the wire, feeding into the condulet, and cut it
    and coiled it up above the panel. put on arc suit, and
    pulled off cover and deadfront. open bus.

    i was standing about 4' away, and watching, and a piece
    of 1" pipe about 3' long that someone had stood IN BETWEEN
    the two panels god knows when, began rolling forward gently,
    exited the space, and came to a stop, standing balanced on it's
    end, about a foot in front of the can with the open bus bars.

    just standing there. i reached over, and grabbed it, and laid it
    down, then just went over and sat down for a while.

    yeah, i wear PPE, even when nothing could happen.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fulthrotl View Post
    .
    it's not the probe slipping that causes concern for me,
    as much as the stuff that nobody can plan for... i was
    pulling a new circuit into a 400 amp 480 volt panel,
    wall mounted, about a 5' high enclosure, extending
    almost to the floor . mounted on a factory wall,
    next to a similar enclosure. been there 30+ years.

    piping, we removed the cover, carefully punched a 1 1/2"
    hole for the conduit, put a chase nipple thru the hole
    into a C condulet, closed up the panel, and piped it
    several hundred feet.

    pulled the wire, feeding into the condulet, and cut it
    and coiled it up above the panel. put on arc suit, and
    pulled off cover and deadfront. open bus.

    i was standing about 4' away, and watching, and a piece
    of 1" pipe about 3' long that someone had stood IN BETWEEN
    the two panels god knows when, began rolling forward gently,
    exited the space, and came to a stop, standing balanced on it's
    end, about a foot in front of the can with the open bus bars.

    just standing there. i reached over, and grabbed it, and laid it
    down, then just went over and sat down for a while.

    yeah, i wear PPE, even when nothing could happen.
    that's the problem; even if you commit no errors, you could still be a crispy critter or skin graft specialist. I would have sat down for a few if that happened to me.

    I've seen electricians screw up in 480V cabs 3x. First time, the man's ZZ Top like beard was gone. 22 years w/o incident, until that one. Second, blown screwdriver and the fault didnt trip that breaker, rather the building's 2000A main (which caused other problems). Third, a wire brush across bussbars (that should have been de-energized) of a 150HP pump damn near killed that electrician, and the resulting arc kept him out of work for two months.

    It's when nothing can happen that something happens. I dont fear 480V, I respect it. Always.
    Electricians do it until it Hertz!

  7. #7
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    Sorry gents. Been a few days. I'm not receiving notifications in my email of the new post responses. I have that same notification issue with another forum. It has to be AOL related. Not certain what's going on there. I'll have to make sure I drop in from time to time to check for responses.

    Fulthrotl--Wowsers Man! Thanks for sharing. I got sweaty palms just reading your story. Keep sharing it, may save someone's life. Thanks man.


    --I am looking into appropriate arc rated wear for purchase. I need to get me a paper copy of the NFPA 70. Dang!! One would think, as important as the topic is someone would make the dang copies more affordable. Ouch! that hurts at $155

    Although I know there is no definitive way outside of a bona fide arc flash analysis to know what calories/cm^2 one may be looking at, I'm trying to find appropriate clothing and gain an understanding of the better makes/ fabric / brand/ model suit/ etc; available. I will use the tables for the guideline because real world is, most panels outside of a controlled environment are not labeled. What are you all wearing in non-labeled locations in most commercial environments when dealing with Cat 3 panels, say 400 A and below? What are a few of the suggested makers, types of suit material that one would deem worthy? I'm certain there is quite a bit of attire available which simply isn't adequate.

    Considering there have been so many incidences having stemmed from improper meter usage(s) around the 480v equipment, it seems like there would be more in-depth response mentioned in the incident reviews covering critical details. Meter failure was the culprit in many, yet in other cases they seem to have stemmed from an arc jump between meter tips. I've done a lot of work in 480v panels, disconnects and equipment most of which I've always been fortunate enough that killing the power was feasible. But of course, the more one reads and understands, the more questions sometimes arise.

    So it is, I'm wondering about safe distances between meter test lead probes in those Cat 3 and 4 environs because of the propensity of arcs in that voltage class. For instance, consider load side breaker terminals of a three phase breaker. The screw terminals are buried down in that breaker casing you know, thereby preventing any phase to phase arc. However, an approach of a meter lead during an unknown transient, based upon literature reviews I've read, seemingly point to a high probability there could be incident perhaps between meter leads themselves. And that correlates with Fluke's newer test leads on the market now days which posses the deeper shrouded probe tips. What are your concerns here?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by amp-here View Post
    ...


    --I am looking into appropriate arc rated wear for purchase. I need to get me a paper copy of the NFPA 70. Dang!! One would think, as important as the topic is someone would make the dang copies more affordable. Ouch! that hurts at $155
    The pain of being burned and the pain that your family goes through and the pain of being charged and fined for copy write is a lot more expensive than $155.
    Edward
    Education is a progressive discovery of our ignorance.


  9. #9
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    In my 2nd semester of electrical program I was burned pretty bad.

    Stay safe and wear your properly "designed for application" PPE.
    Edward
    Education is a progressive discovery of our ignorance.


  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by edward View Post
    The pain of being burned and the pain that your family goes through and the pain of being charged and fined for copy write is a lot more expensive than $155.
    Well no kidding.

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