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#59 - 11/08/00 12:44 PM LOTO and working on live equipement
Schiebs4 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/08/00
Posts: 2
Loc: Bedford Park, IL
I am setting up a LOTO program. A question of when is it appropriate for craft electrician to work on live equipment? What are the allowable situations?

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#60 - 11/08/00 04:00 PM Re: LOTO and working on live equipement
Wrradd Offline
Member

Registered: 11/04/00
Posts: 15
Loc: NY, USA
What is a LOTO program?

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#61 - 11/09/00 01:25 PM Re: LOTO and working on live equipement
Bennie R. Palmer Offline
Member

Registered: 11/09/00
Posts: 72
Loc: Milwaukie, OR 97267 USA
My personal opinion is; There is no situation, or condition, that requires a system, or equipment, to be worked while it is energized. Electing to do so, is a personal choice, of the individual. OSHA rules forbid working a live system. There is always alternatives.

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#62 - 11/10/00 04:54 AM Re: LOTO and working on live equipement
Bill Addiss Offline
Member

Registered: 10/07/00
Posts: 4196
Loc: NY, USA
That is a question that may not have a specific answer. Even though, in practice, many tasks are often carried out "Live", as Bennie says, it is usually out of convenience not necessity. How can you tell someone that it is acceptable to risk Injury or worse?

Even using myself as a example, there are times that I will work on an energized system, and times I will not. It is not always for the same reason. Sometimes, I will just not feel comfortable doing it live that day and will request a shut down - even though it may be a task I have performed many times in identical situations. I feel that working live requires a cool head, a steady hand and a degree of concentration. When one of those is out of place, I usually just won't do it. That is what causes accidents.

I would like to see more opinions on this.

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#63 - 11/10/00 08:12 AM Re: LOTO and working on live equipement
resqcapt19 Offline
Member

Registered: 11/10/00
Posts: 2209
Loc: IL
OSHA allows only very limited wotk on live equipment. Troubleshooting is the most common reason to work equipment live. There are very few others and they involve equipment where the deenergization of the equipment would introduce more serious safety hazards. Some chemical processes fall into this catagory. Even when OSHA permits work on "hot" equipment, special PPE (personal protective equipment) is required. 1000 volt rated tools and gloves is the minimum. If the energy level is high then much more is required, up to and including full head covering with flash protective lens and full insulated nomex (or other flame resistant) outer clothing. Non-electrically qualified people can not be within 3'6" of any exposed energized electrial equipment of any voltage above 50 and less than 750 volts.

These rules have been in OSHA for at least 10 years and the industry is just now starting to follow them. Also look at NFPA 70E, Standard for Electrical Safety Requirements for Employee Workplaces.

LOTO= lock out/tag out
_________________________
Don(resqcapt19)

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#64 - 11/10/00 11:32 AM Re: LOTO and working on live equipement
Scott35 Offline

Broom Pusher and
Member

Registered: 10/19/00
Posts: 2724
Loc: Anaheim, CA. USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Bill Addiss:
That is a question that may not have a specific answer. Even though, in practice, many tasks are often carried out "Live", as Bennie says, it is usually out of convenience not necessity. How can you tell someone that it is acceptable to risk Injury or worse?

Even using myself as a example, there are times that I will work on an energized system, and times I will not. It is not always for the same reason. Sometimes, I will just not feel comfortable doing it live that day and will request a shut down - even though it may be a task I have performed many times in identical situations. I feel that working live requires a cool head, a steady hand and a degree of concentration. When one of those is out of place, I usually just won't do it. That is what causes accidents.

I would like to see more opinions on this.


Bill;
You took the words right out of my mouth, more like my fingers . Everyone in the trade knows how that feels to be a little "Off The Norm" on a project, usually brought on by what happened on the way to the job that morning [cut off by some clown on the freeway and nearly had an accident, lost wallet, etc.]. That's definitely not the time to work on a hot 480 v 3 phase 3 wire corner grounded Delta subpanel [or any other panels and/or system voltage].
What's funny is that I didn't know that too many other people felt this way, as a lot of the contractors that I had worked for when I was in my twenties would go balistic and call you a pansy if you didn't feel completely secure that day to dive into live switchgear and land those subfeed breakers!! Luckilly, since the early 1990's, I have been fortunate enough to be in the position where I don't need to work for another Electrical Subcontractor, so the whole working on hot equipment situation has completely changed and I will only work on live equipment if it just cannot be shut down without causing problems. If so, none of the guys working for or with me will be required to work the hot gear [I will do it], unless I absolutely need someone elses help.
Went through enough headaches and BS on the job when I was a kid to know it sucks! Damned if I'll turn around and make someone else do it now!

To sum up this message; You, Bennie and Don have said a mouthful in relatively few words. Very few situations call for working on hot equipment, but where [or when] it is considered to be Allowable Situations - as far as OSHA is considered - is unknown to me, other than with proper protective gear + proper training for the type system; to diagnose system performances and troubleshoot, or if the location cannot be powered down without some major catastrophy occuring.
I personally would like a LOTO program and devices to be as "Idiot Proof" as possible, having been the sorry victim of a determined moron turning on breakers because they wanted to use the copier so bad and couldn't wait another 10 minutes, then to find out that the copier's power switch was turned off and that's why it wasn't working.. not because the breaker I had tagged / locked off in the 277 volt panel was feeding it [sounds stupid, but it happened and BOY I was PISSED !!]

I'll go back to my room now

Scott "S.E.T."
_________________________
Scott " 35 " Thompson
Just Say NO To Green Eggs And Ham!

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#65 - 11/10/00 01:56 PM Re: LOTO and working on live equipement
Vin Offline
Member

Registered: 11/10/00
Posts: 14
Loc: North Jersey
Another reason to work live would be for life support systems. Also, if shutting the power to the circuit leaves a work area in the dark it would be permissible to work live. The osha standard you're talking about is 1910.333 The industrial facility where I work has all the panel boxes and disconnects retrofitted with lockable access panels for the very reason Scott mentioned. I know this is an electrical site but just in case someone doesn't know: to be locked-out tagged-out the equipment must be at zero energy potential meaning electrical,hydraulic,pneumatic, steam,etc. One thing to add,if starting a LOTO program, remember to tell your employees the obvious which is to "try" the equipment when it's locked-out.

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#66 - 11/25/00 09:40 AM Re: LOTO and working on live equipement
doc Offline
Member

Registered: 11/25/00
Posts: 119
Loc: Texas
ok someone help me here there is a article in the NEC code on working on live parts but is for testing only.
Now if you are serious about a LOTO system then you have to be trained in it before teaching others ,you must have a complete commitment from upper management for this to work and you have to be prepared to either walk out the door and call the proper legal authorities if the rules are broken by upper management,if you don't then you are wasting your time .YOU cannot have a part time loto system it is more dangerous than none at all in my opinion. With a loto system still do not assume that the power is off make this part of your rules { AFTER TURNING OFF AND LOCKING OUT YOU MUST STILL TEST CIRCUIT WITH METER BEFORE WORK CAN BEGIN,NOT DOING THIS IS SUBJECT TO DISCIP. ACTION. Last remember no one can remove the lock except the person that puts it on or someone willing to take responsibility for any harm to persons or equipment
_________________________
MAY THE SUN SHINE ON YOUR FACE IN THE MORNING AND YOU AWAKE WITH A SMILE

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#67 - 11/25/00 06:29 PM Re: LOTO and working on live equipement
resqcapt19 Offline
Member

Registered: 11/10/00
Posts: 2209
Loc: IL
Doc,
Not only must you test the equipment for voltage after you have locked it out, you must also verify that the test equipment is in working order before and AFTER you have tested the voltage at the equipment that has been locked out.
Don(resqcapt19)
_________________________
Don(resqcapt19)

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#68 - 11/26/00 06:26 AM Re: LOTO and working on live equipement
Bennie R. Palmer Offline
Member

Registered: 11/09/00
Posts: 72
Loc: Milwaukie, OR 97267 USA
Don has made a very good statement. The SOP of a circuit, or high voltage line clearance, is to test "live", and then test when "dead". The live test, tests the tester, also retest tester after clearance.
I once, had the blades of a disconnect, separate from the operating shaft. I pulled the handle and locked it with a padlock. The circuit was still live. There is occurrences of one, or more, blades not being disengaged. The test procedure should follow accepted methods.

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