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#188620 - 08/20/09 08:22 PM Working hot  
Bigplanz  Offline
Member
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 73
Louisville, Kentucky
I was sitting in my cubicle today, when, one cube over, a guy from Facilities Maintenance was changing florescent bulbs out of drop lights. Next thing I hear is Pop! Hiss! OUCH!! as the Facilities guy got the living you know what shocked out of him. He was doing something to the wiring of the light itself while standing on a step-ladder (he had it dropped down, dangling). We all went over and asked him if he was ok, and he said he was, but that 277 hurt like a b****d.

I said, "Man, you're never supposed to work hot. The circuit panel is right here (five feet away)." His partner said, "Actually it's safer to work hot."

I laughed at him, right out loud, and said, "No it isn't. Check your work rules book, check your Union contract, check with your supervisor. You aren't ever supposed to do anything hot unless it's changing the bulb." They left, came back, turned off the circuit breaker and when they were done, kind of glared at me before they left. Is this a common attitude among maintenance people? I thought I was going to have to use the automatic heart defibrillator on his dumba--.

Last edited by Bigplanz; 08/20/09 08:23 PM.

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#188622 - 08/20/09 08:49 PM Re: Working hot [Re: Bigplanz]  
trobb  Offline
Member
Joined: Jun 2006
Posts: 110
Iowa City, IA
Working maintenance at a local theatre I follow the "more than changing a lamp" idea. If I need to do more than change a lamp or plug something in I kill the circuit. It just makes life easier... and perhaps longer.


#188623 - 08/20/09 09:00 PM Re: Working hot [Re: Bigplanz]  
renosteinke  Offline
Cat Servant
Member
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,316
Blue Collar Country
Lighting maintenance, especially with 277, is one of those areas where the rulebook clashes with reality.

Even under ideal circumstances (where you can kill power to the fixture without leaving everyone in the dark), the maintenance guy or electrician is sure to have a fight with management over flipping the switch.

Making things worse are the ways we design offices. In the old days (just 5 years ago), offices were deliberately designed so that everything was off one breaker, and there were no local area switches. Or, everything was routed through a contactor, making it a real puzzle as to which breaker was the right one; heaven help you if that was also the circuit that powered the contactor!

Now we have 'energy codes' that are introducing automatic switches into the mix. (Gee, it WAS off!). The EPACT rules also often result in each fixture having two circuits in it (which one has the bad ballast on it). Some recent code rules also want you to put ALL of the circuits that share a neutral on a common-trip or handle-tied breaker- so we;re back to working in the dark again.

They've come out with 'disconnects' for ballasts, yet unresolved is who supplies them, and what they look like. The result is that you're likely to wind up changing them every time you change the ballast - thus presenting yourself with the 'working hot' issue all over again.

Yet, one point cannot be stressed enough. 277 IS DIFFERENT from 120, or even 240. 277 is just enough to pass the 'I can't let go' threshold. Therefore, one DOES NOT work 277 hot - especially without proper gloves, etc. That little wire will kill you as quick as a big wire will. Plus, the secretary will really get upset when your body lands on her desk.

Management has to get this through their heads. Nearly every lighting maintenance fatality involves 277.


#188625 - 08/20/09 10:12 PM Re: Working hot [Re: renosteinke]  
Bigplanz  Offline
Member
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 73
Louisville, Kentucky
He left the scrap wire and the box for the new bulb in my wastebasket. It was really thin. Looked less that 14 gauge to me. The box said it was an "Advantage" bulb for 120/277 50/60 Hz circuits. On one of the cans he just replaced the bulb, on the one that shocked him, he must have been replacing the ballast too.


#188626 - 08/21/09 12:51 AM Re: Working hot [Re: trobb]  
noderaser  Offline
Member
Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 404
Portland, Oregon, United State...
Quote
Working maintenance at a local theatre I follow the "more than changing a lamp" idea. If I need to do more than change a lamp or plug something in I kill the circuit. It just makes life easier... and perhaps longer.


If you are in fact referring to THEATRE (and not THEATER), I hope you're de-circuiting the fixture to replace lamps as well... Unless you're just talking about standard resi/commercial house/architectural lighting.

Last edited by noderaser; 08/21/09 12:53 AM.

#188652 - 08/22/09 06:04 PM Re: Working hot [Re: noderaser]  
trobb  Offline
Member
Joined: Jun 2006
Posts: 110
Iowa City, IA
Aye, I work in theatRE, however the maintenance I am referring to here is for general (building) work. For the theatrical instruments I indeed also de-circuit the instrument. 575 to 1000 watts gets bright, hot and dangerous really fast.


#188653 - 08/22/09 08:35 PM Re: Working hot [Re: trobb]  
mbhydro  Offline
Member
Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 347
Winnipeg MB Canada
in Ky do you have to retrofit a disconecting plug from the supply to the new balast for safety?

In Manitoba as old fluorescent fixtures get new balasts they are being upgraded with plugs to meet the Manitoba version of cec Rule 30-308(4). The rules still suggest flipping the breaker off before opening the plug thought.


#188656 - 08/22/09 10:33 PM Re: Working hot [Re: mbhydro]  
Bigplanz  Offline
Member
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 73
Louisville, Kentucky
Originally Posted by mbhydro
in Ky do you have to retrofit a disconecting plug from the supply to the new balast for safety?

In Manitoba as old fluorescent fixtures get new balasts they are being upgraded with plugs to meet the Manitoba version of cec Rule 30-308(4). The rules still suggest flipping the breaker off before opening the plug thought.


I don't know the answer to this question, but I suspect not. Louisville is under the 2005 NEC. The maintenance person was back the next day replacing more bulbs and I noticed the circuit was off (all the other lights in the area were off where he was working) so he must have turned the circuit off at the breaker. The lights that were out, he just replaced the bulb. The light he was shocked from was one that had been flickering. He pulled it down, was working on it to replace the ballast and.... POP! HISS!! OUCH! was the result. I guess he got the message.


#188990 - 09/14/09 09:01 PM Re: Working hot [Re: Bigplanz]  
gpsparky  Offline
Member
Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 27
Kansas
In the plant that I work in we are changing all of the drop lights that people use to check bin levels, look in mixers etc to plug ins, that way they can unplug them before changing the bulb. That way we (electricains) don't have to do it for them.

It really doesn't matter what you are doing, it should be done with the power OFF, unless the power is required to be on for an adjustment. I can't quote all of the legalese, but that is the gist of the OSHA requirement.

The power not only has to be off, it needs to be locked out too. Trust me, that 277 will hurt even worse if you are holding the wire in your fingers and someone energizes the circuit.

You might think that I am kidding, but I recently changed some bulbs in the plant managers office, our compnay requires two individual locks be placed, a form filled out and then the work can start.

Not a bad system but I somedays think it's overkill for light bulbs.


Sometimes not getting what you want can be an incredible stroke of luck.

#189475 - 10/10/09 09:00 AM Re: Working hot [Re: gpsparky]  
sparky  Offline
Member
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 5,311
Quote
Is this a common attitude among maintenance people?


it is up my way, not that i condone it

for instance, i wish i had a $.05 for every time some siding crew took all the clips off a service drop, pried the meter off the dwelling, and left the whole thing flapping in the wind with the screws dangeling out the back of the meter

it just gets old.....

~S~


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