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Have your company/clients improved electrical maintenance as part of the electrical safety program
Yes - it has improved
No – maintenance was already good
No - nothing has changed
It depends
Doesn't apply to me
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ekstra   ara
 Post subject: Condition of Maintenance
PostPosted: Sun Jun 11, 2017 5:29 am 
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Location: Scottsdale, Arizona
A greater emphasis on the Condition of Maintenance of electrical equipment occurred in the 2015 edition of NFPA 70E.

The 2018 edition of NFPA 70E is also adding a new definition of Condition of Maintenance which is:

The state of the electrical equipment considering the manufacturers’ instructions, manufacturers’ recommendations and applicable industry codes, standards and recommended practice.

One of the issues, is the condition of protective devices can impact how they operate during a short circuit and affect the duration of an arc flash.

Here is this week’s question:

Have your company/clients improved electrical maintenance as part of the electrical safety program/risk assessment?

Yes - it has improved
No – maintenance was already good
No - nothing has changed
It depends
Doesn't apply to me

Stories are always welcome!


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 Post subject: Re: Condition of Maintenance
PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2017 7:26 am 
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Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2007 7:10 pm
Posts: 247
Location: NW USA
system protection settings have become more standardized.


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 Post subject: Re: Condition of Maintenance
PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2017 7:34 am 
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I voted NO because I work with a variety of clients. Those that did maintenance continue, those that don't still don't. IMO many look at arc flash as "what do I have to wear" or "what will this cost me" over how can the system be improved to make it better/safer.


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 Post subject: Re: Condition of Maintenance
PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2017 9:14 am 
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engrick wrote:
I voted NO because I work with a variety of clients. Those that did maintenance continue, those that don't still don't. IMO many look at arc flash as "what do I have to wear" or "what will this cost me" over how can the system be improved to make it better/safer.


The consultants, 70E Comimittee, etc., did it to us.

For YEARS 70E had all kinds of VAGUE language regarding when it is safe to do pretty much anything except for if you got all suited up. NO other options were available, discussed, etc. To this day they still keep deleting any reference to ANY work method except wearing rubber gloves in spite of referencing work standards that have other work methods for live work. And the maintenance requirements are jammed into a very thin article that is practically an annex towards the back, and even then they simply reference other standards that don't have the same (thou shalt) enforcement as 70E does (never mind NEC).

So if you step back and look at 70E up until the 2015 edition and even then what you see is a bunch of "if you don't do this then wear PPE" stuff. That would be fine except for "doing this" is so vague that it is left 100% up to the end user and/or a bunch of overpaid consultants who are totally risk averse. How risk averse are they? Well, have you EVER tried to get a direct answer from a consultant or a consulting engineer? Especially when they feel that there could be liability (law suits) tied to the answer? Yep...you will NEVER, EVER get one.

Everything is 100% focused on the PPE. Everything keeps ending with statements about PPE and frankly, over half of the "meat" is hung up on this. Outside of a few very vague paragraphs and almost nothing that has the same level of "thou shalt" type language in it, let's just saying doing pretty much anything while following 70E leaves a huge amount of guesswork and estimating up to the end user. So in order to "follow 70E" it almost forces you into the idea that basically you need to wear PPE (arc flash and shock) to do everything from actual downright dangerous and stupid things like attempting to land wires while energized down to going to the restroom.

What we really need is positive language that lays out the "right" way to do things and then gives PPE requirements as exceptions and catch-alls. Sort of like the informational note that basically states that if you don't do the required maintenance, IEEE 1584 is basically a waste of time. Except that it shouldn't be an informational note. It needs to be part of the Code.

As an example, I think we can all agree that de-energized work is the right way to do things. That pretty much becomes clear. But why is it so hard to figure out how to do a simple test for voltage (actually absence of voltage) "correctly" and why is this whole part of 70E so vague? Why can't we just spell it out the same way that the LOTO procedure is spelled out? Why is it hidden over a short section in Article 110 referencing an instrumentation standard (not how to actually check for voltage), and then we've got the whole insulated tools and equipment section that is all but deleted in favor of rubber gloves only which just encourages more stupid things like grounding in order to "check" for voltage (if it arcs, it wasn't dead). And then we need all that arc flash stuff even when we're going in with finger safe probes on a multimeter that are exposed for maybe 1-2 mm in length, so little that you can't even manage to short out a connection in a PC let alone any kind of industrial controls where an arcing fault could occur. Nope...all that is left to the end user to figure out on their own. So they ask the PE's and consultants how to do it and what they get back is "Shucks, I'm not an electrician. I'm an overpaid safety consultant. So whatever you do, make sure you wear the PPE while doing it".

Now I'm in the service business now so I have slightly more influence over this kind of stuff. When I can show a customer (true story) transformer oil that is totally black and point out that a simple $50 oil test done once a year probably could have picked up on an impending transformer failure and at least saved a lot of extra costs doing things under emergency/rush conditions, well that gets attention and maybe the customer makes testing their transformers routine. Same thing with circuit breakers, starters, etc. You can't always win and you can't fix stupid...and in some ways I'm screwing myself because we make a lot more money on those weekend emergency calls and patching things up jobs over just installing pristine new equipment during regular scheduled business hours, but I look at it as the idea that I'm selling reliability...doing maintenance is maintaining the equipment for the lowest cost which generally means following maintenance standards which include predictive and routine maintenance items.

Not that this will change attitudes towards whether or not to ever bother to do things "right" and people are certainly slow to change. But right now what we have is a system where the more "progressive" customers are doing absolutely stupid things by mandating PPE everywhere and the "do nothing" customers are practically in the same boat. And almost nobody is following the spirit of 70E (and safety in general) by approaching PPE as a last rather than first resort.


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