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Thread: inspection of live components

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    inspection of live components

    I have been asked to aid in inspection of live components 480v for nsurance certification. The inspection officer will be using infrared equipment.

    They claim they need a licensed electrician to open covers and such to inspect live components.

    In compliance with OSHA and I believe NFPA 70E

    What is necessary?

    I know there is PPE this is a old facility that does not have a arc flash study. What is the required PPE?


    Also if a live work permit is required do I just create one myself and issue to myself as i am the licensee and the worker?


    Thanks for your guys help.

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    Quote Originally Posted by flatlander View Post
    I have been asked to aid in inspection of live components 480v for nsurance certification. The inspection officer will be using infrared equipment.

    They claim they need a licensed electrician to open covers and such to inspect live components.

    That is probably true.

    In compliance with OSHA and I believe NFPA 70E

    What is necessary?

    I know there is PPE this is a old facility that does not have a arc flash study. What is the required PPE?

    You can't select PPE without knowing the incident energy unless you can use the tables in NFPA70E. Look carefully at the tables and the conditions where you can use them.

    Also if a live work permit is required do I just create one myself and issue to myself as i am the licensee and the worker?

    The work permit would be from the building owner.

    Thanks for your guys help.
    Or you could just not worry about it all that much about it and just do it if you are a principal of your business. You might want to consider just how dangerous what they want you to do actually is. It may turn out that in your risk assessment, you decide it is not especially dangerous.

    My guess is no one else cares all that much if you get hurt or dead, but you can bet your bottom dollar you will be sued if something you do causes an arc flash and damages the equipment. Could be multi million dollars at stake in equipment damages, lost production, fires, etc. Might want to see if you can get enhanced insurance just for this particular event.
    Bob

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    Proof may be required for payment for all paperwork.

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    Quote Originally Posted by flatlander View Post
    I have been asked to aid in inspection of live components 480v for nsurance certification. The inspection officer will be using infrared equipment.

    They claim they need a licensed electrician to open covers and such to inspect live components.

    In compliance with OSHA and I believe NFPA 70E

    What is necessary?

    I know there is PPE this is a old facility that does not have a arc flash study. What is the required PPE?


    Also if a live work permit is required do I just create one myself and issue to myself as i am the licensee and the worker?


    Thanks for your guys help.
    Here's what I understand (based on 2015 NFPA 70e).

    1. They don't need a licensed electrician. They need a qualified electrical worker. i.e. someone who understands the dangers of working with hazardous voltages and understands the construction and operation of electrical equipment. In this case, their presumption is that a licensed electrician could be considered such a person.
    2. You don't need an arc flash study, NFPA 70e allows for the use of a table to determine PPE required based on the task at hand. (An arc flash study would of course be better but the code writers understand this isn't always available.)
      • You say 480V work but leave out a little more information. What is the maximum short-circuit current available? fault clearing time? What type of 480V equipment?
      • Assuming 480V panelboards and not switchgear or MCCs; normal clearing time of 2 cycles or less; 65kA available fault current; Then according to the table HRC 2 is appropriate. (Switchgear or MCC requires HRC 4).
      • The arc flash boundary is slightly different for each task but five feet (1.5m) or less is the arc flash boundary (i.e. no inspector without PPE closer than that). If they stay back at least five feet then the inspector doesn't need PPE, otherwise, insist they suit up. If they aren't a Qualified Electrical Worker (and if they were they wouldn't need you) they must only approach closer than 42 inches (1m) under your direct supervision and never closer than one foot (300mm) to the energized equipment (Get a ruler to whack their knuckles).

    3. I don't believe you need an Energized Electrical Work permit either. NFPA 70e allows for an exemption for the hot work rules for "testing, troubleshooting, and voltage measurement." (I understand the the 2018 version also clarified that "visual inspection" is included.) Of course, there isn't a reason you can't use a permit. Examples can be found on the web easily enough, just find a reliable source and edit to your needs.


    Disclaimer time: I am not an expert in any of this subject matter. I don't even claim to portray one on TV. You alone are responsible for your own safety and the others working with you. The full text of NFPA 70e is available with a free registration on the NFPA website--I implore you to read it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Timbert View Post
    Here's what I understand (based on 2015 NFPA 70e).

    1. They don't need a licensed electrician. They need a qualified electrical worker. i.e. someone who understands the dangers of working with hazardous voltages and understands the construction and operation of electrical equipment. In this case, their presumption is that a licensed electrician could be considered such a person.
    2. You don't need an arc flash study, NFPA 70e allows for the use of a table to determine PPE required based on the task at hand. (An arc flash study would of course be better but the code writers understand this isn't always available.)
      • You say 480V work but leave out a little more information. What is the maximum short-circuit current available? fault clearing time? What type of 480V equipment?
      • Assuming 480V panelboards and not switchgear or MCCs; normal clearing time of 2 cycles or less; 65kA available fault current; Then according to the table HRC 2 is appropriate. (Switchgear or MCC requires HRC 4).
      • The arc flash boundary is slightly different for each task but five feet (1.5m) or less is the arc flash boundary (i.e. no inspector without PPE closer than that). If they stay back at least five feet then the inspector doesn't need PPE, otherwise, insist they suit up. If they aren't a Qualified Electrical Worker (and if they were they wouldn't need you) they must only approach closer than 42 inches (1m) under your direct supervision and never closer than one foot (300mm) to the energized equipment (Get a ruler to whack their knuckles).

    3. I don't believe you need an Energized Electrical Work permit either. NFPA 70e allows for an exemption for the hot work rules for "testing, troubleshooting, and voltage measurement." (I understand the the 2018 version also clarified that "visual inspection" is included.) Of course, there isn't a reason you can't use a permit. Examples can be found on the web easily enough, just find a reliable source and edit to your needs.


    Disclaimer time: I am not an expert in any of this subject matter. I don't even claim to portray one on TV. You alone are responsible for your own safety and the others working with you. The full text of NFPA 70e is available with a free registration on the NFPA website--I implore you to read it.
    Thank you for the information. I have been looking at.the free NEC it's a bit difficult to read the free version.

    As to the site conditions , I have never been there. I will be providing access (removing covers live) to all electrical distribution , MCC and other electrical as requestrd.. I hope they do not ask me to remove covers of a transformer, I won't do that live.

    The testing company says maximum risk category 2, so I don't understand why this switch gear would be HRC4 ?
    This company has been around for years. Could be 1200a or more service, maybe a high fault current too. I won't know till I get more info.

    If it is HRC4 I won't do the job. I don't have that PPE, I don't think it's a big enough job to invest in the equipment.

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    Timbert is correct and if you are not qualified per the 70E and don't have the correct PPE you are not the person for this job.

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    If all they want is IR thermography, all you'll be doing is opening/removing the panel covers and dead fronts. 70E says that opening or removing covers presents an arc flash hazard. If the testing company specifies PPE Cat. 2--clothing, gloves and a balaclava (head cover) arc-rated at 8 cal/cm^2, hard hat rated E with an arc-rated face shield, and ear plugs, it sounds like they've done an incident energy analysis already. You should ask. Some MCC's and switchgear <600V might indeed be PPE Cat. 4, depending upon the available fault current, fault clearing time, and working distance. Without that information, you don't know. If the testing company knows, get them to tell you.

    The person doing the thermography doesn't need any of that PPE as long as he stays out of the Restricted Approach Boundary, because by definition, he or she won't be "working on" exposed conductors or circuit parts.
    Last edited by wtucker; 09-26-18 at 10:39 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wtucker View Post
    The person doing the thermography doesn't need any of that PPE as long as he stays out of the Restricted Approach Boundary, because by definition, he or she won't be "working on" exposed conductors or circuit parts.
    He really needs to be outside of the Arc Flash Boundary to not need any arc rated PPE. The AFB is typically larger than the RAB.

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    I always thought the person doing the thermography needs the PPE even if they stay out of the RAB. Good to know. I guess it makes sense, but regulation sometimes doesn't. haha

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    Definition of the Arc Flash Boundary (70E, Art. 100): "Boundary, Arc Flash. When an arc flash hazard exists, an approach limit from an arc source at which incident energy equals 1.2 cal/cm2 (5 J/cm2)." Emphasis on "when an arc flash hazard exists." If there's no arc flash hazard, there's no Arc Flash Boundary.

    Table 130.5(C) says that no arc flash hazard exists during thermography (because nobody's messing with any parts). If no arc flash hazard exists, there's essentially no Arc Flash Boundary.

    And, Art. 130.2(A)(3)(2) says thermography is exempt from an energized electrical work permit--probably because Art. 100 defines "working on" energized electrical conductors or circuit parts as, "Intentionally coming in contact with energized electrical conductors or circuit parts ...with tools, probes, or with test equipment..." Thermography is done from a distance; there's no contact with energized conductors.

    However, removing the panel covers DOES present an arc flash hazard, so everyone within the Arc Flash Boundary must be protected.

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