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Thread: PLT License Restrictions

  1. #1
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    PLT License Restrictions

    I work for a large state employer with over 100 electrical worker's with various levels of licenses, everything from a RT to Class A Masters. There recently has been a lot of discussion on what scope of work a PLT License allows the license holder to preform. I'm looking at this mostly as a safety issue but also concerned about a PLT doing work they are not licensed to do. For example when working in a control cabinet with exposed voltages above 30 volts would the PLT need direct supervision by a licensed Journeyman Electrician? Can a PLT extend and/or install new wiring that would not be associated with normal trouble shooting of a low voltage system? I have been reading the Department of Labor and Industry website and it's not crystal clear, any input would be appreciated.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nietzj View Post
    I work for a large state employer with over 100 electrical worker's with various levels of licenses, everything from a RT to Class A Masters. There recently has been a lot of discussion on what scope of work a PLT License allows the license holder to preform. I'm looking at this mostly as a safety issue but also concerned about a PLT doing work they are not licensed to do. For example when working in a control cabinet with exposed voltages above 30 volts would the PLT need direct supervision by a licensed Journeyman Electrician? Can a PLT extend and/or install new wiring that would not be associated with normal trouble shooting of a low voltage system? I have been reading the Department of Labor and Industry website and it's not crystal clear, any input would be appreciated.
    in most cases, governmental units are exempt from the rules the rest of us are forced to live by.
    Bob

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    Quote Originally Posted by nietzj View Post
    I work for a large state employer with over 100 electrical worker's with various levels of licenses, everything from a RT to Class A Masters. There recently has been a lot of discussion on what scope of work a PLT License allows the license holder to preform. I'm looking at this mostly as a safety issue but also concerned about a PLT doing work they are not licensed to do. For example when working in a control cabinet with exposed voltages above 30 volts would the PLT need direct supervision by a licensed Journeyman Electrician? Can a PLT extend and/or install new wiring that would not be associated with normal trouble shooting of a low voltage system? I have been reading the Department of Labor and Industry website and it's not crystal clear, any input would be appreciated.
    All the license terminology you gave is specific to your state. Without knowing where you live, we cannot do any research to offer you assistance.

  4. #4
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    Sorry, the state is Minnesota,
    My employer is not looking to skirt any rules that would apply to normal industry standards, they are interested in compliance. The more I dig into this the more vague it seems to be. I know you can only work on voltages your personal license allows but what about working in say a fire alarm control panel with exposed line voltage? ( I realize new panels would have a cover over the line terminations) Who determines if this is safe and if the technician is Qualified? remember their PLT does not cover line voltage. Just seems very vague.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nietzj View Post
    Sorry, the state is Minnesota,
    My employer is not looking to skirt any rules that would apply to normal industry standards, they are interested in compliance. The more I dig into this the more vague it seems to be. I know you can only work on voltages your personal license allows but what about working in say a fire alarm control panel with exposed line voltage? ( I realize new panels would have a cover over the line terminations) Who determines if this is safe and if the technician is Qualified? remember their PLT does not cover line voltage. Just seems very vague.
    Your employer may not be subject to the rules at all, if so they could not "skirt" them. The first thing you should do is check to see if they are actually subject to the rules us mere mortals are. If not by law, some governmental entities choose to bind themselves to the rules anyway.

    Are you saying that a guy with a PLT license can work in an alarm panel but not if it has exposed 120V power coming in? That seems like an absurd license restriction. As I understand it, in most states, a low voltage license (or whatever it is called) allows one to work on the whole system, not just the low voltage part.

    ETA: In any case, normally OSHA would not allow an employee to work inside a panel where he is exposed to potentially lethal voltages with some very limited exceptions that involve required PPE regardless of what license one might have. And regardless of what license one might have one would need to be specifically qualified by one's employee to do the specific task involved. Now an employer might decide that a guy with a specific license is qualified by virtue of that license to do certain tasks. But that is the responsibility of the employer. OTOH, OSHA generally does not apply to governmental entities.
    Last edited by petersonra; 07-06-17 at 12:09 PM.
    Bob

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    Thanks Bob,
    This is where it gets vague to me, so we have a Power Limited Tech (PLT) who's license is good up to 30 volts working in a fire alarm control panel. Now we need to do some work on the 120 volt line voltage, so since the PLT is already working on the panel he just goes ahead and works on the 120, maybe wires in a new power supply. I know this happens frequently, the question I have is if this is legal? My guess is no, if the PLT were to get shocked and injured would the employer be liable for allowing this?

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    Quote Originally Posted by nietzj View Post
    Thanks Bob,
    This is where it gets vague to me, so we have a Power Limited Tech (PLT) who's license is good up to 30 volts working in a fire alarm control panel. Now we need to do some work on the 120 volt line voltage, so since the PLT is already working on the panel he just goes ahead and works on the 120, maybe wires in a new power supply. I know this happens frequently, the question I have is if this is legal? My guess is no, if the PLT were to get shocked and injured would the employer be liable for allowing this?
    first. does the license actually restrict him to working on specific voltages, or does it restrict him to working on specific types of systems. this is an important distinction that you need to research.

    second. generally, the employer is liable for injury to employees on the job, regardless of any licensing that may or may not be required. a license grants nothing to an employer as far as limiting their liability for OTJ injuries. Nor does it grant an employer any exemption from the employer determining whether a specific employee is "qualified" to engage in a specific task.
    Bob

  8. #8
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    The easy answer is yes, a license limits what voltages you can work on, that is the point of different license classifications. It has always been my understanding you can work on voltages below what your licensed for but not above. So a licensed Journeyman electrician can work on the entire 24 volt systems, but a low voltage electrician can only work on the 24 volt portions of a system.
    This comes up more than one would imagine, for example when a carpenter installs a power door operator would he be allowed to install the 120 volt power and low voltage controls if he has a PLT licenses? My opinion is no on the 120 volt power and maybe on the low voltage controls. This is the type of question I'm trying to resolve.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by nietzj View Post
    The easy answer is yes, a license limits what voltages you can work on, that is the point of different license classifications.
    Where does it say this in the rules or the law that established the license? Do you have some kind of citation you can show for this assertion?

    I don't know how it is in MN but my understanding is that in most states with low voltage licenses it is about the system being worked on and not the voltages, so if there was some part of the system that was line voltage the low voltage guy could still work on it.
    Bob

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    Quote Originally Posted by nietzj View Post
    Thanks Bob,
    This is where it gets vague to me, so we have a Power Limited Tech (PLT) who's license is good up to 30 volts working in a fire alarm control panel. Now we need to do some work on the 120 volt line voltage, so since the PLT is already working on the panel he just goes ahead and works on the 120, maybe wires in a new power supply. I know this happens frequently, the question I have is if this is legal? My guess is no, if the PLT were to get shocked and injured would the employer be liable for allowing this?
    I frequently work with a landscape lighting guy who has a low voltage license. His license does not allow him to work on 120 volt circuits. He calls me in to repair outside receptacles or install new ones so he can plug in a low voltage transformer he hangs on the wall.

    I have also worked with a fire alarm company. They install the entire system except the line voltage feed to the control panel. I do that.

    However, these may be the only two guys in Florida who are not violating the limitations of their licenses.

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