Same employer, just a new task. Fans. Rooftop Fans.
Following Murphy's Law, this came during the hottest, sunniest week of our delayed (and mild) summer.
As with 90% of electrical work, this job has little to do with Ohm's law, and even less to do with code minutia. Nope. It's just that a steel mill has suddenly discovered that most of the fans are not working over the hottest parts of the plant.
Let's see the results so far: 85% of the fans had failed belts, 15% have motors with destroyed bearings. Not a single, true "electrical" issue found yet. Fans are caked with inches of caked "grease," and in some places the roof deck will burn you if you touch it - even for a moment.
Starters turn out to be rather well marked - but most artfully hidden. LOTO is carried to an extreme, with every person supposed to add their lock to the starter. Sometimes you can't see the starter for the locks.
More interesting is the customers' "100% tie off" policy, on a roof where OSHA rules are a lot more lax. It seems half the day is spent fighting with the damn ropes. You are often 300 ft. from the edge of a nearly flat roof, and they want us tied off. At least they haven't discovered the OSHA rule against using a boom lift as an elevator
I'll tell you this: my kit now includes a large welders' blanket, to place between me and the hot tin roof. I have also found the only practical way to haul stuff around the roof is a children's snow sled - it rides across the ridges on the roof with ease.
Sunburn is an issue. Sun glasses a must. Gatorade by the gallon. Ice by the ton.
A solution to the starter full of locks is a box with lockout holes around the perimeter and a plexi window. The starter is locked out and the key placed in the lockout box behind the plexi window. Then, multi-locks are added around the lockout holes. It does get a little out of control.
You know it's hot when you open a junction box and the wire nuts have completely melted off. Ideal makes a high temperature wire nut. It's too late for me to try them but I love to hear how they work, if you get a chance.
Steel mills really should have a bring-your-spouse-to-work day. You just can't describe hell without actually being there.
"Hot" is a relative term. Had I put a thermometer on the roof decking, I probably would have measured a temperature of around 140F. Not hot enough to hurt much of anything except you. I woke this morning to some very nice little 1st degree burns ("sunburn") on my palms and knees.
I've used the black bakelite wire nuts for some "105C" light fixtures. They work just like the cheap plastic ones that come with the fixtures. Nicer hi-temp nuts have a bakelite shell that screws over a metal compression barrel.
The "tin" roof was, in reality, your usual sheet steel, corrugated steel roof deck, the sort with an inch or two of fiberglass under it.
I told the tale not just to accent the working conditions, but also the nature of the work. Instead of the usual dikes and strippers, I was using sockets and pry bars.
The site got off to a bad start this AM, when someone cut off their arm near the elbow. Patient and arm were flown 75 miles to the nearest 'real' hospital. Maybe they can fix it.
I can't speak for others ... but for me, this beats standing along a production line or sitting in front of a computer all day.
We do a fair share of rooftop work here in the desert. A wet rag tied around your head (made from a cotton tee shirt) long enough to cover your neck helps a LOT. Also, a long sleeved cotton shirt helps believe it or not. And a hat with a screened top to ventilate.
Oh, we all have our tricks - each area has its' own challenges.
BigB, you brought up a few interesting contradictions in the sacred quest for 'safety.'
A loose cotton shirt? A damp rag? No way.
The damp rag isn't nearly the help in 76% humidity it may be in 15%. Nor is it very effective when confined by a hard hat. Thank heaven they have vented hard hats - though it's an uphill battle getting them allowed, as they lack the 'electrical' rating.
Clothing has to be 'fire resistant.' All tails tucked in (might get caught on something). Then it's held tight to you by that 20# harness / lanyard combo. Oh, and don't forget the required reflective (and non-absorbent) vest.
Using 'tinted' safety glasses is also a matter of contention for many safety directors - regardless of the specific conditions. They must believe we're not smart enough to know when to take the sunglasses off! Tell these clowns about going 'snowblind' from the glare, and their response is 'you're tied off- so what if you step off the edge?'
Some days, I think the locks on office doors need to be turned around.
I remember those many projects where we were so safetied up that we could hardly get anything done, It was ridiculous.
I do agree safety is the most important aspect of any job especially the large ones with heavy equipment and cranes but to wear a safety harness when your feet are above 6ft. Such a joke .. Unfortunately when I was on a large job during the period when the corrugated decks were being laid there was one death, 1 unfortunate carpenter fell to his death while cutting the supports of a plywood cover over an elevator shaft that went multiple floors to the bottom, needless to say he didn't have a chance ..nor was he wearing a harness, very sad day.
You guys may of still needed to be harnessed simply incase the roof below your feet gave way ..
The worse project I was on would have to be the water treatment facilities .. nasty stink not to mention the soil can have very hazardous bio bugs. you certainly didn't want to put your fingers anywhere near your mouth or eyes ..
Last edited by MarkPerry; 09/22/1310:44 PM.
Anyone claiming to know everything about Electrical, is wrong.