When it cannot be avoided. (often in commercial and industrial)I do the same thing everytime.
First, since being burned in the face from an arc flash. I will not go in a hot panel w/outa face shield on. Some people give me funny looks, but they have never been burned. Ever have painfuly chapped lips? Multiply that by 10!
Any way, when disconnecting a device or circuit with a neutral (circuit is hot) always disconnect the hot wire first. Than the neutral. Reverse when assembling. The "load" hurts alot more when it whacks you!
Also, be aware of where your limbs and other parts of your body are when handling live circuits. In a ceiling for example with steel joists, dont be holding on to the steel with one hand while handling circuits in the other. COMMON sense!
The best tool I ever bought, was a quality cicuit tracer. I use it everyday. DO nOT trip circuits, or attempt to to find breakers. People do it all the time, because they dont understand that the one time in a 100 time u do this u could cause a fire, injury or death.
Also dont be afraid to simply say, I will not work on this Hot!
I am sure the other experienced personnel on this forum can add, with there experiences.
[This message has been edited by ayrton (edited 03-07-2007).]
I'm in agreeement with Ayrton, stay out of the way of any possible blast (stand to the side), treat EVERYTHING as if it were hot, and get a good quality tester.
GE taught me to test "HOT-COLD-HOT"; it's good advice. Check your tester on something that you know is energized (to make sure it works), then test the conductors to make sure that they're dead, then go back to the energized conductors to make sure that the tester didn't pick that particular instant to break. It only takes a second and it can save your life.
Before cutting hot conductors, I always use a clamp-on amp meter. Checking to see if there is a load on the conductor, neutral no exception! This will lower the chance of cutting a shared neutral or a loaded ckt. Robert
cut one wire at a time, and never take for granted that just because it is 18 gage, or that it is control circuit, that you can just hack away at it. That control circuit may just short cycle a 400 amp chiller, cause some hammering on a 40 hp centrifugal pump etc etc.
Best tool I have is the good old volt stick. Detects voltages in cores without cutting insulation and even if there is no load. As Ghost says I test the volt stick on a live circuit first to prove it works.
Never be a loan worker have people around you who know what is going on, look out for your mate and he looks out for you. Should the worst happen someone need to take charge of the situation
Good LOTO works for the day, anything longer than that - I remove and cap all the circuits at the panel. Same goes for multiples of circuits. And definately when doing demo. Demo crews are often dumb as dirt, they'll be doing something - trip a breaker with a rot-hammer and 3 compressors on the same circuit then go through all the breakers that might be off - including the ones under those silly red things. So when I shut it off, I pull it right out of the breaker.
Oh, and good practice of working if "it might be hot" is to disconnect in the same way you should train yourself to connect things - but in reverse. >ground, nuetral, hots to connect. Then < all hots, neutral, ground to disconnect. Of course insulated tools, gloves and eye protection. Never ground yourself, even inadvertantly by the elbows, knees or especially the head, or any other part of the body. (When I was in the service - electricians were the only personel allowed to put thier hand in a pocket. But the other one had to be in a panel ) Good idea to test things one handed - get a clip for one meter lead, hard point in the other. Fluke makes a magnetic hanger for some meters, or use the clamp-on for your ammeter to hang it in the panel where you can see it.
Mark Heller "Well - I oughta....." -Jackie Gleason