What to do when you are working for a heating and cooling company and they have no idea what NFPA70E stands for

Location
Massachusetts
Occupation
Electrician
Hi all. I’ve been working as an electrician this last year for an hvac contractor. I just wanted more experience in a field I didn’t know much about. Anyways, recently I have had issues with the general manager. My company has purchased new uniforms. 100% Polyester! I politely told them that I am not allowed to wear polyester and other fabrics per NFPA70E. The general manager told me no one can work unless wearing their uniforms. He said he knows all about OSHA regs (he doesn’t) and we could wear a kcal suit if needed.
He clearly doesn’t understand electrical safety. We don’t have an electrical safety program or anyone there with a clue.
I’d rather not just quit but when push comes to shove, I’ve asked to be written up and reprimanded for refusing to wear polyester. Who should I escalate this too?


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hbiss

EC, Westchester, New York NEC: 2014
Location
Hawthorne, New York NEC: 2014
Occupation
EC
Typical HVAC contractor. Apparently, they aren't using your license and you don't pull much weight. I agree that polyester is a poor choice not only for you but for the other workers who use torches for brazing and soldering. It doesn't sound like any thought was given when they purchased them.

From the tone of your post, it sounds to me like your only choice is to move on.

-Hal
 

tom baker

First Chief Moderator
Staff member
Hi all. I’ve been working as an electrician this last year for an hvac contractor. I just wanted more experience in a field I didn’t know much about. Anyways, recently I have had issues with the general manager. My company has purchased new uniforms. 100% Polyester! I politely told them that I am not allowed to wear polyester and other fabrics per NFPA70E. The general manager told me no one can work unless wearing their uniforms. He said he knows all about OSHA regs (he doesn’t) and we could wear a kcal suit if needed.
He clearly doesn’t understand electrical safety. We don’t have an electrical safety program or anyone there with a clue.
I’d rather not just quit but when push comes to shove, I’ve asked to be written up and reprimanded for refusing to wear polyester. Who should I escalate this too?


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Escalate to your states safety compliance division.
Or find a HVAC contractors association and see if they have a safety department,
In the late 1970s the Navy issued polyester uniforms to replace the cotton dungarees. These poly uniforms were only used for short time, they were hot and flammable.
But safety complaints often create animosity. As Hal said you may be better to move on.
 
Location
Massachusetts
Occupation
Electrician
Typical HVAC contractor. Apparently, they aren't using your license and you don't pull much weight. I agree that polyester is a poor choice not only for you but for the other workers who use torches for brazing and soldering. It doesn't sound like any thought was given when they purchased them.

From the tone of your post, it sounds to me like your only choice is to move on.

-Hal

Thanks Hal
They’re using some no show guys license. I’m going to move on but it’s because I’m fortunate to be able to. My concern is for the 3 other journeymen and our one apprentice who have all voiced that they need the job. I’d like to be able to atleast make it safer for them without them putting too much skin in the game.
I figured I’ll force them to separate from me but I’ve had countless emails voicing my concerns and it’s documented. Perhaps the state labor board or OSHA?


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Location
Massachusetts
Occupation
Electrician
Escalate to your states safety compliance division.
Or find a HVAC contractors association and see if they have a safety department,
In the late 1970s the Navy issued polyester uniforms to replace the cotton dungarees. These poly uniforms were only used for short time, they were hot and flammable.
But safety complaints often create animosity. As Hal said you may be better to move on.

Agreed. Thanks Tom.
Did the Navy switch back because of injuries sustained while wearing polyester?


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Location
Massachusetts
Occupation
Electrician
Polyester is a piss poor choice for a uniform for those that work outside, regardless of NFPA.

For real. Especially when you only needed to outfit 3-5 electricians with FR clothing.
We also do service so I got a call one day from a large building. One of their RTU’s wasn’t working. They’d just purchased the building and didn’t know where to look. So I figure it’s being fed from this breaker in the switch gear panel. I call the office (I’m still new at this point) to get assistance tracking it.
Electrical service manager comes out. I’m start telling him what breaker id like to check, see what can be done to make the switch gear safe, ask about kcal suit etc. This absolute clown starts removing the outside panel covers of a 2000amp, 480v gear. I stop him immediately and ask him what he thinks he’s doing. “Oh it’s fine kid” is the reply. So I object and leave the room. This guy literally gets on a 4’ ladder and starts REACHING IN THRU THE BUSS BARS! because he sees some butt splice in the back of the gear. It’s on cctv. I’d left the room after yelling at him and took my van and left. Told the GM, HR and anyone else that would listen how absolutely insane that was. Nothing happened from it
See the picture before I left the room


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8efacd7deae5e85c564fcd453ff02e64.jpg
 

Fred B

Senior Member
Location
Upstate, NY
Occupation
Electrician
NFPA-70E chart below. I see many residential main breaker panels rated with 10kA to 25kA main breakers. Most single phase breakers are now minimally rated at 10kA.

NFPA 70E Article 130.7(C)(11) continues to prohibit the use of certain flammable, synthetic materials as it has in the past. This means, at a minimum, wear clothing made from nonmelting, natural fabric when arc flash PPE is not required. (Extracted from ECMag online)

1660956269991.png
 
Location
Massachusetts
Occupation
Electrician
NFPA-70E chart below. I see many residential main breaker panels rated with 10kA to 25kA main breakers. Most single phase breakers are now minimally rated at 10kA.

NFPA 70E Article 130.7(C)(11) continues to prohibit the use of certain flammable, synthetic materials as it has in the past. This means, at a minimum, wear clothing made from nonmelting, natural fabric when arc flash PPE is not required. (Extracted from ECMag online)

View attachment 2561838

Thank you Fred.
It’s rather clear to qualified folks what type of a hazard these clothes bring to us.
Special thanks for the ECMag link


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tom baker

First Chief Moderator
Staff member
NFPA-70E chart below. I see many residential main breaker panels rated with 10kA to 25kA main breakers. Most single phase breakers are now minimally rated at 10kA.

NFPA 70E Article 130.7(C)(11) continues to prohibit the use of certain flammable, synthetic materials as it has in the past. This means, at a minimum, wear clothing made from nonmelting, natural fabric when arc flash PPE is not required. (Extracted from ECMag online)

View attachment 2561838
But the rating of the breaker has no relationship to the available fault current. A 22 kA breaker may of been used as it was on the truck or a contractor special purchase
 

jim dungar

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Wisconsin
Occupation
Retired Electrical Engineer - Power Systems
But the rating of the breaker has no relationship to the available fault current. A 22 kA breaker may of been used as it was on the truck or a contractor special purchase
Even more important is the amount of time it takes the protective device to clear the fault. A low level fault may not be cleared in the 2 cycles maximum required to use that table. This is one reason they were relocated out of the main text and into an appendix.
 

rambojoe

Wireman
Location
phoenix az
Occupation
Wireman
For real. Especially when you only needed to outfit 3-5 electricians with FR clothing.
We also do service so I got a call one day from a large building. One of their RTU’s wasn’t working. They’d just purchased the building and didn’t know where to look. So I figure it’s being fed from this breaker in the switch gear panel. I call the office (I’m still new at this point) to get assistance tracking it.
Electrical service manager comes out. I’m start telling him what breaker id like to check, see what can be done to make the switch gear safe, ask about kcal suit etc. This absolute clown starts removing the outside panel covers of a 2000amp, 480v gear. I stop him immediately and ask him what he thinks he’s doing. “Oh it’s fine kid” is the reply. So I object and leave the room. This guy literally gets on a 4’ ladder and starts REACHING IN THRU THE BUSS BARS! because he sees some butt splice in the back of the gear. It’s on cctv. I’d left the room after yelling at him and took my van and left. Told the GM, HR and anyone else that would listen how absolutely insane that was. Nothing happened from it
See the picture before I left the room


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8efacd7deae5e85c564fcd453ff02e64.jpg
There is about 25 things that are horrible in this pic....aside from sloppy practice. Who on earth cant take two minutes and complete the buss terms on a c.b.? $5 says its all loose. And sharpie marks on the dead front..
This is what it looks like when 5 people work in the same gear... is that soda stains on the buss?!
I cant quite see if the buss to c.b. jumpers are bolted... it sure looks like a t.i. mess...
 
Last edited:

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
Thanks Hal
They’re using some no show guys license. I’m going to move on but it’s because I’m fortunate to be able to. My concern is for the 3 other journeymen and our one apprentice who have all voiced that they need the job. I’d like to be able to atleast make it safer for them without them putting too much skin in the game.
I figured I’ll force them to separate from me but I’ve had countless emails voicing my concerns and it’s documented. Perhaps the state labor board or OSHA?


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Also maybe call their workers compensation provider. That might be fastest way to get things rolling when it comes to employee safety.
 

Jraef

Moderator
Staff member
Location
San Francisco Bay Area, CA, USA
Occupation
Electrical Engineer
We don’t have an electrical safety program or anyone there with a clue.
That right there is already a violation of OSHA regulations. ALL employers are required to have an electrical safety program. It's not a suggestion to have one, its the law.

Now, it's not REQUIRED to be NFPA 70E, but if there is ever an accident their safety program had sure better look like it, so most just go ahead and use 70E. Not having one at all means that if there is an electrical accident, they (managers and supervisors) could be making their arguments from behind bars. OSHA doesn't have enforcement police per se, but AFTER THE FACT, they can be brutal.
 
Location
Massachusetts
Occupation
Electrician
There is about 25 things that are horrible in this pic....aside from sloppy practice. Who on earth cant take two minutes and complete the buss terms on a c.b.? $5 says its all loose. And sharpie marks on the dead front..
This is what it looks like when 5 people work in the same gear... is that soda stains on the buss?!
I cant quite see if the buss to c.b. jumpers are bolted... it sure looks like a t.i. mess...

I walked away. Actually just now I was threatened to be fired Monday for not wearing the nylon uniforms. I told them to write me up. I’m going to not quit but play them out and regardless, contact osha and state labor board because they’ll get someone killed


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Location
Massachusetts
Occupation
Electrician
That right there is already a violation of OSHA regulations. ALL employers are required to have an electrical safety program. It's not a suggestion to have one, its the law.

Now, it's not REQUIRED to be NFPA 70E, but if there is ever an accident their safety program had sure better look like it, so most just go ahead and use 70E. Not having one at all means that if there is an electrical accident, they (managers and supervisors) could be making their arguments from behind bars. OSHA doesn't have enforcement police per se, but AFTER THE FACT, they can be brutal.

Well they’ve threatened to fire me over the uniform Monday. Let’s see what happens


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rambojoe

Wireman
Location
phoenix az
Occupation
Wireman
I walked away. Actually just now I was threatened to be fired Monday for not wearing the nylon uniforms. I told them to write me up. I’m going to not quit but play them out and regardless, contact osha and state labor board because they’ll get someone killed


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Did you mean threatened if you did wear gloves?
Look, this is a very pro-active trade. You are wrong for being reactive and not walking. In other words, you cant say its dangerous and still stay put.
Its not what you say in life, or write (i guess) its what you do.
Your actions. A cool head, listen to what people are trying to do you, and act. It will always save you. And please never use sharpie on gear. Use tape, then sharpie... some old codger will have a go at you.
 

jmellc

Senior Member
Location
Durham, NC
Occupation
Facility Maintenance Tech. Licensed Electrician
Move on but file a complaint with OSHA. They should not get away with this. Maybe go to a TV station too?
 
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