Opening live panelboards

jim dungar

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Wisconsin
Occupation
Retired Electrical Engineer - Power Systems
I recently took an NFPA-sponsored virtual live class and left with the understanding that when we do data collection for Arc Flash Studies we are okay to open panels and covers for documentation of the system without an EEWP as long as I'm suited to the incident energy level.
I know of several near miss incidents that happened when panel fasteners, or other parts fell into energized panels while the cover was being removed. I have seen many people move/manipulated energized insulated conductors while performing data collection that seems to go against the 130.2(A)(2) you quoted.

Unless the panels have been opened fairly regularly, I no longer like removing covers on gear whose age is measured in decades.
 

mayanees

Senior Member
Location
Westminster, MD
Occupation
Electrical Engineer and Master Electrician
I know of several near miss incidents that happened when panel fasteners, or other parts fell into energized panels while the cover was being removed. I have seen many people move/manipulated energized insulated conductors while performing data collection that seems to go against the 130.2(A)(2) you quoted.

Unless the panels have been opened fairly regularly, I no longer like removing covers on gear whose age is measured in decades.
Jim,
I'm a 62 year-old EE employed by a 280-person firm. We like to be a one-stop shop for arc-flash projects and I've become the connection for that type of work. I'm happy to open energized panels for data collection and I'm qualified to do that as a registered Master electrician, and I agree there's some risk associated with it. I don't manipulate conductors any more, because that's directly addressed in 70E's definition of "working on".
I also do 70E classes at the conclusion of a project to validate the labels and train people on what to do with energized equipment.
Personally I don't think there's much risk opening a panel when suited for shock protection and for the available incident energy. And if I can do this type of work: Power Studies, data collection, and the training classes for the rest of my days I'm a happy camper.
 

jim dungar

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Wisconsin
Occupation
Retired Electrical Engineer - Power Systems
Jim,
I'm a 62 year-old EE employed by a 280-person firm. We like to be a one-stop shop for arc-flash projects and I've become the connection for that type of work. I'm happy to open energized panels for data collection and I'm qualified to do that as a registered Master electrician, and I agree there's some risk associated with it. I don't manipulate conductors any more, because that's directly addressed in 70E's definition of "working on".
I also do 70E classes at the conclusion of a project to validate the labels and train people on what to do with energized equipment.
Personally I don't think there's much risk opening a panel when suited for shock protection and for the available incident energy. And if I can do this type of work: Power Studies, data collection, and the training classes for the rest of my days I'm a happy camper.
My previous company, a national engineering firm, was worried about the employee opening panels so that was their policy. But they were also concerned with their customer and what a near miss meant to them, such as explanatory paperwork, safety rating, and unscheduled loss of production. Surprisingly most customers agreed to have outages.
 

mayanees

Senior Member
Location
Westminster, MD
Occupation
Electrical Engineer and Master Electrician
My previous company, a national engineering firm, was worried about the employee opening panels so that was their policy. But they were also concerned with their customer and what a near miss meant to them, such as explanatory paperwork, safety rating, and unscheduled loss of production. Surprisingly most customers agreed to have outages.
Did you know Neil Swann? He gave me my first Study. I understand you were both employed by the same company, at least for a while.
 
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