Working Hot

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flashlight

Senior Member
Location
NY, NY
I have encountered this issue on other threads recently ("me vs. customer", "split bolt connectors" etc.) and also in my own job.

It's almost like the elephant in the room. Obviously, and as we were all taught, standard practice is to deenergize any circuit you must work on.

However, in the real world in some cases, there are situations where hot work must be done. In my city (NY), I can't shut down 50 existing apartments to tap into the service bus. It is work approached with the utmost seriousness and caution and precautions-- by experienced people-- nonetheless dangerous.

A poster from L.A. (sorry I forget name) said in one of these threads that
he had no choice but to do it also. Some people from less populated areas said that they request a shutdown from the POCO and the homewner must wait if they have to. That's almost never done around here. Maybe it should be.

I realize this is a controversial topic. What do others think ?
 

don_resqcapt19

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Illinois
...
However, in the real world in some cases, there are situations where hot work must be done. In my city (NY), I can't shut down 50 existing apartments to tap into the service bus. It is work approached with the utmost seriousness and caution and precautions-- by experienced people-- nonetheless dangerous.
While hot work is often "required" it is almost never permitted by the OSHA rules.
 

augie47

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Tennessee
....However, in the real world in some cases, there are situations where hot work must be done. In my city (NY), I can't shut down 50 existing apartments to tap into the service bus.....
If a POCO problem or storm takes the power out to the 50 apartments for a brief period of time is it a tragedy ? Folks can live without power and do own UPS systems for such events. The consequences (physical & liability) from an error while tapping a service buss can not outweigh the inconvenience of a scheduled outage.
(I too have done it, but, with age and a few visuals of what can happen, I saw the light.)
 

iwire

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Massachusetts
While hot work is often "required" it is almost never permitted by the OSHA rules.
Can't put it much better than that.:)

Any company that allows there employees to work hot is very likely violation OSHA standards and putting themselves at great exposure to fines and more.
 

ultramegabob

Senior Member
Location
Indiana
In the past I have worked alot of things "hot" because something cannot possibly be shut down, as I get older I have learned to be less concerned with some workers inconvenience and more concerned with my safety.
 

don_resqcapt19

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Illinois
I submitted a proposal, 9-136, to require a line side barrier for service equipment so that you could work on the panel without working on or near energized equipment, but it was rejected. My proposal was based on the Canadian Electrical Code where this barrier is already required. Without the proposed barrier there is no legal way to work in the service panel unless you have the utility disconnect the power to the service.
 

augie47

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Tennessee
I submitted a proposal, 9-136, to require a line side barrier for service equipment so that you could work on the panel without working on or near energized equipment, but it was rejected. My proposal was based on the Canadian Electrical Code where this barrier is already required. Without the proposed barrier there is no legal way to work in the service panel unless you have the utility disconnect the power to the service.
That's very interesting.... never thought about it
 

StephenSDH

Senior Member
Location
Allentown, PA
Can't put it much better than that.:)

Any company that allows there employees to work hot is very likely violation OSHA standards and putting themselves at great exposure to fines and more.
I assume that "More" part is personal safety. Who cares about fines. The fines are a joke, and just a slap on the wrist after they doctors have reattached fingers or scrapped burnt skin off, and a team of injury lawyers are knocking on your door. No matter what your boss says, no matter what osha says, you have to know the risks and how to protect yourself.
 

iwire

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Massachusetts
I assume that "More" part is personal safety. Who cares about fines. The fines are a joke, and just a slap on the wrist after they doctors have reattached fingers or scrapped burnt skin off, and a team of injury lawyers are knocking on your door. No matter what your boss says, no matter what osha says, you have to know the risks and how to protect yourself.
Hang on, every time I bring up the safety aspect I get slammed for being too 'preachy'.:roll:

The fines may be a joke but the total cost to a company after a true accident is very high and it is only the fear of those costs that will change how middle managers make decisions about what can and cannot be shut down.

If you can show them the costs to shut down are more than the costs not to shut down you have a chance. :)
 

flashlight

Senior Member
Location
NY, NY
If a POCO problem or storm takes the power out to the 50 apartments for a brief period of time is it a tragedy ? Folks can live without power and do own UPS systems for such events. The consequences (physical & liability) from an error while tapping a service buss can not outweigh the inconvenience of a scheduled outage.)
Great point-- biggest problem is the bureaucracy.
 

LarryFine

Master Electrician Electric Contractor Richmond VA
Location
Henrico County, VA
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
Some times it is neccessary to work it hot.
Maybe, but nobody says it has to be me who does it.

If I say "It must be deenergized for me to do it," and they say "If you won't do it hot, I'll find someone who will," I say let 'em.

I'm not here to make that kind of impression on people.
 

Cow

Senior Member
Location
Eastern Oregon
If a POCO problem or storm takes the power out to the 50 apartments for a brief period of time is it a tragedy ? Folks can live without power and do own UPS systems for such events. The consequences (physical & liability) from an error while tapping a service buss can not outweigh the inconvenience of a scheduled outage.
(I too have done it, but, with age and a few visuals of what can happen, I saw the light.)
I completely agree. Unscheduled power outages happen and tenants/customers live with it. So how can it be such a big deal if you do schedule it?

Tell the owner/landlord/customer to make up 50 flyers about the upcoming power outage and drop them in the tenants mailboxes. Problem solved. You schedule it during the day when everyone is at work and you might have what, maybe 50% or less of the tenants home? Do you really think it's worth risking your life for the hour or two or whatever you need to shut the power off just for those few people?
 
Location
NYC
Occupation
Electrician
if you dont do it somebody else will, regardless of the financial climate.Electricians should be taught how to work live,precautions that should be taken and when absolutely necessary power should be disconnected.
 

ZCBee

Member
Location
Reno, NV
Some times it is neccessary to work it hot.
My company has an elaborate SOP detailing when it is OK to work on an energized circuit and what PPE must be worn. We are allowed to troubleshoot on energized equipment with appropriate PPE. Once the problem has been diagnosed, that's another story. All efforts to de-energized must be exhausted before a lengthy permit process to work on live equipment is filled out, with a thorough checklist of personnel needed and procedures to be followed. This is an arduous task to be NFPA 70E compliant. So, de-energize is best practice in my mind.

I'm curious, how do utility lineman work on energized circuitry? Our plant's 29,880KVA feed is nothing to mess around with.
 
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