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#58247 11/03/05 08:31 PM
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 174
bot540 Offline OP
Today at work a plumber was shocked and I think he's lucky to be alive. He was cutting into a 2" copper line with a sawzall that was plugged into a gfi. Water was runnig all over the tool. I was on the seen just in time to see him jump of the ladder. Visibly he seemed quite shaken. I unplugged his extension cord wondering why the gfi didn't trip and found the ground pin had been broken off. Anyways, I threatened to cut it up if it wasn't repaired which caused a bunch of drama at the job today.
Has anyone had to destroy anyone else's cord because it was unsafe. How far would you take an issue like this? Being the electricians on the job we obviously have the obligation to keep everyone "electrically safe"

Jesus may have been a capenter,but God was an electrician.Genesis1:3
#58248 11/03/05 08:46 PM
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 693
While an intact grouinding pathway would have minimized or prevented the shock, a GFCI device does not depend on the EGC to operate. They're effective on non-grounded equipment, too.

I suspect a defective or miswired GFCI.

Larry Fine
Fine Electric Co.
#58249 11/03/05 08:46 PM
Joined: May 2003
Posts: 2,876
e57 Offline
Just got done mentioning in another post that GFI's and water don't mix well. Ground pin missing or not, it should have tripped, however is no guarantee of working 100% of the time.

As for the guys cord... Let him take his life into his own hands. If he's dumb enough to still use it after today, maybe he wants to die. As for the scene you made, did the GC catch any of it? After all it is his 'Comp, and liability that is on the line just as much as the Plumbers on site.

Side note: Years ago there was an Inspector around here that would give me the "Talk to the Hand" and walk right by me when I met him at the door or gate. And then go searching the whole site for frayed cords on site before he would start the inspection. He would start writing the red tag while you removed it from the site completely. Temp outlets before rock instead of a site box, just grab the meter and walk off with it. I'm glad that guy is gone, just for the bad additude, not for his concerns.

Mark Heller
"Well - I oughta....." -Jackie Gleason
#58250 11/03/05 08:47 PM
Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 141
I don't think it's our job to be the electrical police on job sites unless we are running that job or it has to do with our own work. I'd tell the plumber that the cord could get him killed, if he don't fix it then he's an idiot. Cutting someones cord may cause you to end up on the wrong side of a pipe wrench.

#58251 11/03/05 10:13 PM
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 174
bot540 Offline OP
I know that having the grounding pin wouldn't of prevented him from getting shocked. Espeacialy when the tool was double insulated and did not have a grounding cord.
Say someone did seriously get hurt and OSHA shows up. Couldn't the electrical contractor be fined along with the plumbing contractor?

Jesus may have been a capenter,but God was an electrician.Genesis1:3
#58252 11/03/05 10:34 PM
Joined: Mar 2003
Posts: 97
Five years ago I was a foreman on a school job. For some reason the school safety people decreed that I would inspect and mark with colored tape every cord used on the job by all trades. The safety person also made it crystal clear that if they found an unmarked cord or a marked cord that was unsafe they would shut the job down.

I must have cut a couple dozen cords in half.

Got a lot of mean looks and even a few threats but the bottom line was the safety people really would shut the job down if they found an unsafe cord. So when it came down to it all the foreman in the other trades understood my position.

Have not worked on a job like that since and hope I never have to. It was different because the school district had "self insurance" for workers comp and they had thier own rules and safety people.

Another rule, one contractor could not use a ladder belonging to another contractor. We could only use ladders supplied by our own company. Same with man lifts and scaffolds. One time the safety people caught the brick masons using the plasterers scaffold and shut them down. There was nothing wrong with the scaffold, just that it was not thiers.

#58253 11/03/05 11:09 PM
Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 20
I work in a cement plant and we are governed by MSHA and CAL-OSHA. The safety and HR guy has decreed that according to MSHA and CAL-OSHA that all cords on plant site have to be inspected for nicks, cuts, burns, exposed conductors and proper grounds yearly. We inspect and tag everything that has a cord on the plant site. Wether it is 110 V or 480 V cords. We don't inspect contractor cords outright, but if we see one that does not pass our criteria, it is cut up right then and there. The contractors know this will happen since they receive a copy of our safety policies and are told about are cord policy. If it is an easy fix, such as replacing a cord cap, we will usually do so.


#58254 11/04/05 12:10 AM
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,770
Likes: 13
The GFI doesn't need the EGC to operate but it does give the fault a more attractive path than going through the plumber (a fairly high impedance path).
~4ma is not enough to trip a GFI but it can make you dance. That is not a good thing to be doing on a ladder.
I suspect the EGC would have been a sufficiently low impedance path to trip the GFI. Your diagnosis was right.
My favorite builder will tell anyone they have to get unsafe equipment off her jobs. That can be bad cords, homebuilt ladders or improvised scaffolding. Those OSHA fines and insurance bills will seriously impact your bottom line. As an electrician you might not be able to cut up a bad cord but you can certainly point it out to the job super.
Let the super be the safety cop. It's their butt in the sling in the end anyway.

Greg Fretwell
#58255 11/04/05 05:15 AM
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
Cutting someones cord may cause you to end up on the wrong side of a pipe wrench.

If the guy wanted to get nasty it could also get you on the wrong side of the law. Over here, the deliberate and willful destruction of somebody else's property is legally classed as "criminal damage." I'm sure there must be similar laws in just about every state of the Union.

When I see a battered up cord I explain the dangers involved and suggest a remedy. If the damage is repairable by, say, just chopping off a couple of feet and reterminating the ends, I'll offer to make the repair myself in the interests of safety.

#58256 11/04/05 05:25 PM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 391
...It could also get you on the wrong side of the law.
I read a story somewhere (maybe on this very message board) about an EC who was called out for an appliance repair in a business. He found an extremely unsafe condition with the appliance, so to keep it from being used until he could fix it, he cut the cord off. Business owner called the cops, and the EC ended up facing some charges over it.

I've been on jobs where the safety guys cut up cords that weren't GFCI protected by some means. The only problem was that this guy--who was in charge of safety, remember--would cut through the cords without even unplugging them, using just a standard pair of Kleins. He was depending entirely on the CB and the PVC handles of the Kleins to keep him safe. He snipped one cord where the CB failed to trip and the fault current blew the jaws of the Kleins appart and took out the temporary power for the whole site.
Nothing like leading by example.
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