NFPA 70E, CSA Z462 and OSHA 1910 are very clear: equipment must be de-energized ("electrically safe work condition") if the worker is exposed to a possible hazard (within the limited approach boundary, or performing a task that increases risk of arc flash).

But when is it OK to use appropriate PPE and work?

1.When working at less than 50V.

2.When de-energizing could "introduce additional hazards or risks" - for example if it could cause someone's life support system to crash.

3.When it is "infeasible" to perform the task de-energized - as with many diagnostic tasks that require a loaded system.

Exceptions #1 and #2 are pretty cut and dry. Exception #3, however, is easily the most misunderstood and misused exception to the "de-energize it" rule.

In many facilities, "infeasible" has been (intentionally or unintentionally) misinterpreted to mean "inconvenient." Too many times, Energized Work Permits are completed, and work is performed because the facility manager does not want to interrupt production, or because administrative staff "can't be without power" during a lighting ballast replacement (one of the most common sources of workplace electrocution). These excuses are not infeasible, they are just inconvenient.

How inconvenient would it be, though, if you had to inform a family that they lost their husband and father so that the administrative staff didn't have to work with less light for a few minutes? Tragically, multiple facilities are making that call every year.

Is your facility misinterpreting exception #3?

Tip Provided By: Tim Rohrer, President of Exiscan

Exiscan Logo

Upcoming Events

August 9 - August 11 2022

MaximoWorld 2022

View all Events
80% of newsletter subscribers report finding something used to improve their jobs on a regular basis.
Subscribers get exclusive content. Just released...MRO Best Practices Special Report - a $399 value!
Conducting Asset Criticality Assessment for Better Maintenance Strategy and Techniques

Conducting an asset criticality assessment (ACA) is the first step in maintaining the assets properly. This article addresses the best maintenance strategy for assets by using ACA techniques.

Harmonizing PMs

Maintenance reliability is, of course, an essential part of any successful business that wants to remain successful. It includes the three PMs: predictive, preventive and proactive maintenance.

How an Edge IoT Platform Increases Efficiency, Availability and Productivity

Within four years, more than 30 per cent of businesses and organizations will include edge computing in their cloud deployments to address bandwidth bottlenecks, reduce latency, and process data for decision support in real-time.

MaximoWorld 2022

The world's largest conference for IBM Maximo users, IBM Executives, IBM Maximo Partners and Services with Uptime Elements Reliability Framework and Asset Management System is being held Aug 8-11, 2022

6 Signs Your Maintenance Team Needs to Improve Its Safety Culture

When it comes to people and safety in industrial plants, maintenance teams are the ones who are most often in the line of fire and at risk for injury or death.

Making Asset Management Decisions: Caught Between the Push and the Pull

Most senior executives spend years climbing through the operational ranks. In the operational ranks, many transactional decisions are required each day.

Assume the Decision Maker Is Not Stupid to Make Your Communication More Powerful

Many make allowances for decision makers, saying some are “faking it until they make it.” However, this is the wrong default position to take when communicating with decision makers.

Ultrasound for Condition Monitoring and Acoustic Lubrication for Condition-Based Maintenance

With all the hype about acoustic lubrication instruments, you would think these instruments, once turned on, would do the job for you. Far from it!

Maintenance Costs as a Percent of Asset Replacement Value: A Useful Measure?

Someone recently asked for a benchmark for maintenance costs (MC) as a percent of asset replacement value (ARV) for chemical plants, or MC/ARV%.