Would capping off live wires be considered securing a circuit.

James Lee

Member
Location
Dallas Texas
Occupation
Journeyman Electrician
We had an electrician get shocked working on a parking lot light pole at the hand hole junction, he's doing good, it doesn't look like a major injury, thank God he's good now.
When I arrived at the job site my supervisor arrived around the same time, he was acting frantic and asked me to turn off the power, I asked him where do you turn the power off at, he replied '' I don't know,'' so I capped off live wires and closed everything up so no one else would get injured or worse, he wrote me up on a SOCA which is a major write up saying I didn't secure power, I believe I secured power when I capped off the exposed wires as do many other electricians, supervisor's etc... I'm waiting on the NFPA for a response, I don't know if it's in the NEC-NFPA on a situation like this or if it could be added, what do ya'll think ?
Or what is the NEC'S interpretation
P.S. I know it would've taken a lot longer to look for the breaker than to make it safe on the spot like I did.

Thank you
Sincerely
James Leyba
 
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paulengr

Senior Member
NEC is for installations. NFPA 70E and OSHA 1910 Subchapter S cover electrical safety.

NEC does require disconnects, fuses, or breakers for equipment protection but aside from some residential requirements it is largely silent on required design elements. It is not a design standard but a construction standard. Safety disconnects are not required but it has details on how such a device would be installed.

When it comes to shutting off power OSHA has two provisions for removing power. The first is lockout/ragout. This is for maintenance purposes which is covered by OSHA 1910. This is done at a disconnect and all equipment is required to be built with provisions for this. OSHA doesn’t say how to do it, only that provisions must be made to break the power conductors. Control power doesn’t count. An actual breaker or disconnect switch is one way. But for instance roof top air handlers often use pull fuses which works as long as you can somehow provide a locking mechanism such as putting the fuse assembly in a lock box or locking the door shut.

The second provision is not obvious but it is taking equipment out of service (disconnecting wiring). This removes it entirely from OSHA 1910 which is for maintenance and moves it under OSHA 1926 (construction). In fact under the construction regulation only ragout is required and lockable disconnect provisions are not. Obviously once placed in service those provisions are required. This allows for things like hooking up power to utility lines once the meter socket, distribution panel, etc., are built. Mandating disconnects before they are even built is nonsense.

Highway lighting commonly has almost no provision for lockout due to the fact that the last thing we need is vandals turning off disconnects. However that doesn’t remove the requirement.

One of the issues with a lot of safety procedures though is OSHA regulations are riddled with lockout rules. 1910 Subchapter J is the most popular but does not apply to electrical work. 1910.269 has 4 different lockout procedures but is mostly for utilities. Few safety managers are even aware that Subchapter J doesn’t apply or that construction is different from maintenance.
 

petersonra

Senior Member
Location
Northern illinois
Occupation
engineer
I don't see how what you did turned off the power which is what your post says he told you to do. Your actions may have made the immediate situation safer but it wasn't what you were told to do.

Two questions.

Did you have a permit to work on an energized circuit when you capped It Off?

Were you wearing the appropriate personal protective equipment for working on such a circuit?
 
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__dan

Senior Member
No. Saying 'I capped it off' and saying 'I turned the power off' are two very different statements. If there were a resulting injury, I would say you would lose your court case, by your own admission.

Turning the power off means you can test it with a device like this and it will indicate green and not red.


The non contact voltage tester works pretty well but checking the voltage with a Fluke would be definitive (properly dressed for the hazard).

How you turn the power off to make it safe or work on it safely, LOTO, is the employer's program that the employee follows. Generally this requires (isolation, turning off the power), applying the lock and tag, verification, observing for other hazards. If the isolating device is not lockable, generally you may tag combined with another effective means of isolating the hazardous energy.

Clearly you did none of that and are wasting your time thinking the NFPA will take your side in this.

One of the things I look for in the other person is the willingness to continue learning, and the basic honesty. There is some added deficiency there in either unwillingness to learn the proper and very standardized LOTO requirement, honesty about not carrying out the task properly (by your own admission), or not yet realizing how much responsibility you carry for the mistake made.
 

jim dungar

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Wisconsin
Occupation
Engineer
We had an electrician get electrocuted...
Wording is critical.
Electrocuted means your coworker died. If he is doing better, than he received an electrical shock.
Did you simply cap the conductor where the incident occurred or at some other place upstream?
It appears neither you nor the supervisor knew the disconnect point for the circuit, did your co-worker? Were you called in after the incident?
 

James Lee

Member
Location
Dallas Texas
Occupation
Journeyman Electrician
We had an electrician get electrocuted working on a parking lot light pole at the hand hole junction, he's doing good, it doesn't look like a major injury, thank God he's good now.
When I arrived at the job site my supervisor arrived around the same time, he was acting frantic and asked me to turn off the power, I asked him where do you turn the power off at, he replied '' I don't know,'' so I capped off live wires and closed everything up so no one else would get injured or worse, he wrote me up on a SOCA which is a major write up saying I didn't secure power, I believe I secured power when I capped off the exposed wires as do many other electricians, supervisor's etc... I'm waiting on the NFPA for a response, I don't know if it's in the NEC-NFPA on a situation like this or if it could be added, what do ya'll think ?
Or what is the NEC'S interpretation
P.S. I know it would've taken a lot longer to look for the breaker than to make it safe on the spot like I did.

Thank you
Sincerely
James Leyba
To be more correct, coworker had gotten shocked, I wasn't there when it happened, hot work permit may not be needed, governmental entity idk, the only hot tickets I've ever seen is for welding, we work on live circuits everyday, whether it be demo, remodeling, new construction, preventive maintenance, troubleshooting etc... to keep all apparatus
un-interrupted or as little interruption as possible, I was wearing my PPE coworkers meter wasn't working so I checked voltage with my proximity tester and my fluke multi meter and confirmed the voltage was present, the pole I was at was the pole where co-worker got shocked, where the live wires were exposed, that's where I secured the circuit.
 

roger

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Fl
Occupation
Electrician
There are very few instances where OSHA and NFPA 70E allow hot work.

Roger
 

infinity

Moderator
Staff member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Journeyman Electrician
What does "securing a circuit" actually mean? Does it mean insulating the live ends of a conductor or completely de-energizing something.
 

James Lee

Member
Location
Dallas Texas
Occupation
Journeyman Electrician
We had an electrician get shocked working on a parking lot light pole at the hand hole junction, he's doing good, it doesn't look like a major injury, thank God he's good now.
When I arrived at the job site my supervisor arrived around the same time, he was acting frantic and asked me to turn off the power, I asked him where do you turn the power off at, he replied '' I don't know,'' so I capped off live wires and closed everything up so no one else would get injured or worse, he wrote me up on a SOCA which is a major write up saying I didn't secure power, I believe I secured power when I capped off the exposed wires as do many other electricians, supervisor's etc... I'm waiting on the NFPA for a response, I don't know if it's in the NEC-NFPA on a situation like this or if it could be added, what do ya'll think ?
Or what is the NEC'S interpretation
P.S. I know it would've taken a lot longer to look for the breaker than to make it safe on the spot like I did.

Thank you
Sincerely
James Leyba
Good morning
I sent you a work email
Couldn't find Norman's
We had an electrician get electrocuted working on a parking lot light pole at the hand hole junction, he's doing good, it doesn't look like a major injury, thank God he's good now.
When I arrived at the job site my supervisor arrived around the same time, he was acting frantic and asked me to turn off the power, I asked him where do you turn the power off at, he replied '' I don't know,'' so I capped off live wires and closed everything up so no one else would get injured or worse, he wrote me up on a SOCA which is a major write up saying I didn't secure power, I believe I secured power when I capped off the exposed wires as do many other electricians, supervisor's etc... I'm waiting on the NFPA for a response, I don't know if it's in the NEC-NFPA on a situation like this or if it could be added, what do ya'll think ?
Or what is the NEC'S interpretation
P.S. I know it would've taken a lot longer to look for the breaker than to make it safe on the spot like I did.

Thank you
Sincerely
James Leyba
 

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James Lee

Member
Location
Dallas Texas
Occupation
Journeyman Electrician
After securing the circuit that day, I continued working on the same live circuit troubleshooting and repairing pole lights that were out, completing the job and I went on to the next job.
 

roger

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Fl
Occupation
Electrician
After securing the circuit that day, I continued working on the same live circuit troubleshooting and repairing pole lights that were out, completing the job and I went on to the next job.
You and your employer need to look into OSHA 1926 subpart K, here is part of it.

§ 1926.416 General requirements.
(a) Protection of employees - (1) No employer shall permit an employee to work in such proximity to any part of an electric power circuit that the employee could contact the electric power circuit in the course of work, unless the employee is protected against electric shock by deenergizing the circuit and grounding it or by guarding it effectively by insulation or other means.

(2) In work areas where the exact location of underground electric power lines is unknown, employees using jack-hammers, bars, or other hand tools which may contact a line shall be provided with insulated protective gloves.

(3) Before work is begun the employer shall ascertain by inquiry or direct observation, or by instruments, whether any part of an energized electric power circuit, exposed or concealed, is so located that the performance of the work may bring any person, tool, or machine into physical or electrical contact with the electric power circuit. The employer shall post and maintain proper warning signs where such a circuit exists. The employer shall advise employees of the location of such lines, the hazards involved, and the protective measures to be taken.
Roger
 

infinity

Moderator
Staff member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Journeyman Electrician
After securing the circuit that day, I continued working on the same live circuit troubleshooting and repairing pole lights that were out, completing the job and I went on to the next job.
So you put some wirenuts on the exposed conductors and closed the enclosure to make it safe. I don't know what SOCA is but it seems to me like you did the right thing. Still don't know what "secured power" means but from what you've said the guy doing the write up doesn't agree that what you did meets that definition. If he's was on the scene first why didn't he "secure power"?
 

James Lee

Member
Location
Dallas Texas
Occupation
Journeyman Electrician
Wording is critical.
Electrocuted means your coworker died. If he is doing better, than he received an electrical shock.
Did you simply cap the conductor where the incident occurred or at some other place upstream?
It appears neither you nor the supervisor knew the disconnect point for the circuit, did your co-worker? Were you called in after the incident?
10/4 Jim I'm trying to revise my statement to shocked.
Thank you.
 

roger

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Fl
Occupation
Electrician
10/4 Jim I'm trying to revise my statement to shocked.
Thank you.
You don't have to change your original post, Jim pointed out you used the wrong term and if it were changed the thread would become confussing.

Roger
 

roger

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Fl
Occupation
Electrician
Thank you Roger, is there anyway to remove original post ?
Removing the original post (in most threads not just this one) makes others post nonsensical, don't worry about the original all is well.

Roger
 

__dan

Senior Member
After securing the circuit that day, I continued working on the same live circuit troubleshooting and repairing pole lights that were out, completing the job and I went on to the next job.
You can troubleshoot live with metering (properly dressed) or by observing the equipment operation powered under load, but if you were doing any component repairs, changing ballast, photocells, sockets, that would be deenergized only work and you would have been making multiple trips back and forth to the power disconnecting device repeatedly all day.

You would have had to become very familiar with the circuit isolating device location and have been using it (properly).

It's possible that the prior accidential injury to the coworker may have been something the people higher up wanted tagged locked off, for their accident inspection report, before returning the system to normal. The parking lot light is not one of the critical equipment at the site (I would guess).

The miscommunication between you and the supervisor, should you lock off or should you continue with repairs and live power testing, could be but was not part of the OP.

Receiving an instruction to "turn off power", but leaving the power on and putting wirenuts on it, that's a problem (imo). Working the wirenuts live by the prior electrician may have been the root cause of his injury. Standard safety training advises to attendant to not rush in and fall victim to the same hazard as the coworker he attends to.
 
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