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#147417 - 10/05/02 12:27 PM Resetting a Breaker  
Jennybean  Offline
Junior Member
Joined: Oct 2002
Posts: 1
In our kitchen at work, the dishwasher tripped the breaker and the electrician told me just to reset the breaker. My husband says you need to know what tripped it before resetting, because someone might get injured. Who's right? Your help would be appreciated! Thanks!

Arc Flash PPE Clothing, LOTO & Insulated Tools

#147418 - 10/05/02 09:25 PM Re: Resetting a Breaker  
sparky  Offline
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 5,311
basically, a breaker will 'trip' from overcurrent (drawing more umph that usual) or a ground fault ( hot wire meets ground)

#147419 - 10/08/02 10:07 PM Re: Resetting a Breaker  
jlhmaint  Offline
Joined: May 2002
Posts: 202
Fredericktown, OH, U.S.A
Technically yes. You are suppose to find the fault that caused the breaker to trip before resetting it. This is not always the case though. But if you have a plant electrician it is his job not yours to reset the breaker and address the problem. i would tell him to reset it because if something would happen, is he going to back you up and tell management that he told you to reset the breaker? Probably not!!

#147420 - 12/08/02 06:12 PM Re: Resetting a Breaker  
OSHA Professor  Offline
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 48
Did the electrician tell you not to stand directly in front of the panel when resetting the breaker ?
Don't want to alarm you but we have investigated decapitations as a result of someone closing (resetting) a breaker into a fault condition while standing directly in front of the panel. The panel cover actually blows off the enclosure with a very significant force (15 tons per square meter). This is called an arc blast or arc flash electrical hazard and is quite common. Once you have identified the breaker you want to reset you should always stand off to the side of the panel (not in front of it) when throwing the breaker handle. The same is true for throwing a handle on a disconnect switch.
There are work practices both in OSHA regulations / standards as well as NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) Standards that prohibit the manual resetting of circuit breakers untill "it has been determined that the equipment and circuit can be safely energized".
There are also requirements that you as an unqualified electrical person be trained to recognize and avoid electrical hazards which you are likely to encounter in the course of your work.
There are also training requirements for that electrician (qualified person according to OSHA)also.
Check out OSHA's site at
to find out more about osha programs and safety and health in the workplace.

[This message has been edited by OSHA Professor (edited 12-08-2002).]

#147421 - 12/08/02 06:29 PM Re: Resetting a Breaker  
sparky  Offline
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 5,311
OSHA prof's right.

there's been many a thread about being careful about tripped breakers here too,

many stories from many electricians here

we should have included a warning i guess.

[Linked Image]

#147422 - 12/14/02 10:56 PM Re: Resetting a Breaker  
ThinkGood  Offline
Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 1,081
Milwaukee, WI

It's nice to read that your husband truly cares about you. He's absolutely correct -- especially because it's in the workplace, where you may have no idea if somebody was "repairing" something and caused a problem with the circuit, etc.

OSHA Professor and Sparky:

Relative to the arc flash hazard, the breakers in my home (Square-D HOM type) have 3 positions for the toggle switch. If something causes a fault, the breaker "trips" but the toggle is halfway between "ON" and "OFF." The "ON" and "OFF" positions are just what their names imply. Thus it is easier to tell if something was shorted/overdrawn, etc. if various breakers are on and off at the same time.

That said...I just would like a clarification...are you saying that the threat of the arc flash is present only when there is something on the circuit that still needs to be repaired, (that would be the fault, for example, a short circuit, correct?) or is this threat always there?

I think a nice length of dowel stick might be worth it ;-)

#147423 - 12/15/02 07:41 PM Re: Resetting a Breaker  
OSHA Professor  Offline
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 48

I am not thoroughly familiar with that particular model of breaker, however all the breakers I am familiar with will trip with the “handle” resting in the middle position. This trip or “opening” (electrical tech talk) of the breaker could have been caused by an overload, as in plugging in too much stuff(load) or alternatively, a fault condition (short circuit in some stuff plugged into the branch circuit). The fault or short circuit condition could also have occurred in the branch circuit wiring itself rather than utilization equipment (some stuff) plugged into the branch circuit. There is no way of knowing by looking at the tripped breaker. If the breaker is closed (reset) into a fault there is a possibility of an arc flash. Still best to stand off to the side of the panel and turn / look away when resetting a breaker. Also a good safe work practice would be not to wear synthetic or synthetic blend clothing such as, poly blend shirts, nylon windbreaker jackets etc. when doing this operation. Wanna be extra safe also wear heavy cotton or leather gloves. It’s not really overkill it kind of like wearing the right clothing if you are welding underneath your car, or sandblasting, safety glasses ehen using a chain saw etc, etc, or anything which requires the right clothing AKA, PPE personal protective equipment).
When it comes to the wearing of PPE, remember. You can't win, you can only loose or break even! You go to work with two eyes, two hands, two legs, ten digits etc. You won't ever return home with more only the same or --if you loose, you'll return home with less.

OSHA Professor

#147424 - 12/15/02 10:37 PM Re: Resetting a Breaker  
ThinkGood  Offline
Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 1,081
Milwaukee, WI
[Linked Image]

#147425 - 12/17/02 11:07 PM Re: Resetting a Breaker  
james27613  Offline
Junior Member
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 3
Raleigh, NC
Time well spent, I learned something new today !

And my wife thinks I just look at ebay.

#147426 - 10/23/03 01:46 PM Re: Resetting a Breaker  
:andy:  Offline
Joined: Oct 2003
Posts: 289
regarding the ARC BLAST

what exactly is this? Here, When you switch a breaker of 16 or 25A into total short circuit, you will hear a POFF in the inside and the handle will be loose, because the inner mechanics slipped through. you will need to return the handle to Off position to re-pickup the mechanics inside.

why should this cause the panel to be blown off with 15 tons/meter??

i've never heard of anything like this??

[This message has been edited by :andy: (edited 10-23-2003).]

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