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Joined: Mar 2003
Posts: 97
Intresting statement about since its a prison the power cannot be turned off. I am the electrician for a prison. I work for the maintenance dept, but I am the only licensed electrician.

I have shut the power off more times than I can count to various parts of the prison in order to fix things. When I first started I made the mistake of asking the post officer if it was ok, of course it was never ok. Now I go to the building supervisor and tell them I need to perform a shutdown and whats a good time for you. I have had zero problems since I took that approach.

They usually tell me to do it during rack up time when the inmates are already locked in the cells.

I made it clear when I was interviewed that I am the "expert" and if I decide the power needs to be shut down then thats the way it is going to be. They hired me so they must have agreed.

The keys are: do not ask them, tell them, be flexible with the schedule, and be creative in order to reduce downtime.

I had to kill complete power to a control room to fix a UPS that did not have a bypass, this was a few hours of work. Instead of leaving them in the dark for a few hours I made a cheater cord and rigged up some temp power. The total downtime was one minute to transfer to temp and one minute to transfer back to the UPS after it was repaired.

Once last example, I had to shut the power off to the wardens office. He did not care, thats because he had a laptop that ran off the battery.

Arc Flash PPE Clothing, LOTO & Insulated Tools
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,430
Likes: 3
Send me an e-mail.
I am to a degree right behind drillman.
Having done a large amount of prison work here, I'm peeved at the prison staff that seem to love control of anyone in a situation like this.
Why bother?.
Idiots. [Linked Image]

Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 141
What sort of ladder was he using and did the guy who grabbed him by the thighs have a reason for knowing he wouldn't also receive an electric shock?

Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,361
Likes: 1
Cat Servant
The ladder was a fiberglass ladder... keep in mind that the victim was also in contact with numerous pipes and ducting.

Grabbing the victim probably wasn't the wisest thing to do- but hindsight is always 20-20, and all was well in the end!

A fancy name for "safety' is "risk management." There simply are no perfect answers that fit all situations. Rather, we must weigh the risks, and take our chances.

And- lest we forget- in a case of complete cardiac / respiratory shut down, time is of the essence, and even the seconds required to raise the alarm might make a difference.

Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 141
well I hope these guys have had a serious look at their risk management.
At one place I worked we lost a father and son because the father tried to physically remove his son from a faulty welder. It always concerns me when I hear about someone else making the same mistake.

Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,361
Likes: 1
Cat Servant
The most recent issue of EC&M documents a similar case, where a man was injured by "only 120."

The list of long-term effects is impressive; most of them were experienced by the victim of the accident described. Incredable exhaustion being only one.

We have also had some more recent statistics come out regarding accidents in our trade. A surprising number of the electrocutions involved changing ballasts in 277 volt fixtures.

We tend to equate danger with either big wires or high voltages. Yet, as these two cases illustrate, the 'little stuff' can kill too!

Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,770
Likes: 13
The navy calls 120v the deadly shipmate.
More sailors get kiiled with regular consumer gadgets plugged into the wall than all the other electrical equipment combined ... or so the legend goes.

Greg Fretwell
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,430
Likes: 3
I agree mate,
There seems to be an attitude of only the larger voltages and the larger wires can harm or kill you.
To a degree yes, HV can kill you, but mainly most of the HV stuff is in areas not accessible to un-authorised persons.
In all the time that I have been involved with EHV and HV stuff, it has been the 230V stuff that has given me a decent bloody shock.
No Gloves, would be the answer for that.
You are a lot more aware working with higher voltages and a lot more careful.
Hot-sticks, rather than direct contact (even wearing gloves) is the rule, not the exception.

Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 233
I also am an electrician in a UK Prison and on several occasions have to kill the power to the entire establishment. I have never had hassel from management.
But warders are the worlds worst just becouse it interupts their normal routine. I just remind them what they said to me at work when they phone me up and say "my washing-machine keeps tripping the breaker. Can you come and look at it for me?"

What goes around comes around

der Großvater
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 2,527
Renosteinke raises some good points. I once heard a very interesting presentation about electric shocks by a neuropharamacologist, who held that 120V was statistically the most dangerous voltage because of the frequency of inadvertent contact with a live circuit—either by “trained” or “untrained” persons. [277V contact is more serious, but has less frequent occurrence.]

The presenter explained that a very common aftereffect is <i>delayed muscle atrophy.<i> As I recall, healthy nerve tissue normally regenerates itself, but electric shock halts that regeneration process. This leads to the inability to fully use the limb on the order of six months to years after the initial injury.

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