Risk Control Hierarchy Refines Electrical Safety

In the late 1880s, a young boy was electrocuted when he accidentally touched an unlabeled, energized telegraph wire. That incident ignited an inventor by the name of Harold Pitney Brown to make an impassioned plea in a New York Post editorial to limit telegraph transmissions to what he considered a safer level of 300 Volts.

Perhaps Harold thought that limiting electrical transmissions to levels of 300 Volts or less would provide instant electrical safety. With over 120 years of hindsight, we view things much differently today. Yet, Harold stumbled across two important concepts. The notion of “300 Volts” is a technical discussion about the laws of electrical energy (Ohm’s Law, etc) that lends understanding to how electrical energy can kill or maim. On the other hand, the term “safe” reflects a working knowledge of the fundamental principles of safety. Our challenge is to combine our technical understanding of electricity with the principles of safety to ensure electrical safety is both practical and effective. The better we understand both concepts the greater the likelihood we will have to improve the status quo. The Risk Control Hierarchy (RCH) does an excellent job in blending these two key concepts.

Risk Control Hierarchy

The heartbeat of safety is the Risk Control Hierarchy (RCH), which is found in Appendix G of the ANSI Z10 Standard. The RCH helps us prioritize safety initiatives from least effective to most effective. For example, will you be safer wearing a helmet while riding a motorcycle or by selling it altogether? Obviously, selling the motorcycle eliminates the risk of an accident, while wearing a helmet offers protection to your head from the risk of a head injury during an accident. The RCH works by helping us rank risk reduction measures from most effective to least effective as per below:

1.) Eliminating the risk.
2.) Substituting a lesser risk.
3.) Engineering around risk.
4.) Awareness of every risk.
5.) Administrate and regulate behavior around risk.
6.) Protect workers while exposed to risk.

Note that each step above is equally important, yet not equally effective in protecting workers. Eliminating a risk is the most effective way to keep workers safe while protection from a risk by using Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) is least effective. There have been great improvements in the design of PPE, but its primary purpose is keeping workers alive – not 100% safe.

Safety and Risk

Risk, which is defined as exposure to a hazard, is two-pronged. There is the probability of exposure and severity of potential injury. For example, a 120V outlet is a greater risk than a 13.8KV switchgear line-up because more people are exposed to the 120V outlet. Since risk is exposure to hazards, then safety is the reduction and management of risk. The management responsibility of an electrical safety program typically falls to an electrical engineer because he or she understands electricity. In our modern world we can never eliminate the risk, but are very good at finding new ways to reduce risk.

Another way to look at risk is the chart (Figure 2) developed by Ray Jones which shows the relationship between the worker and the safety infrastructure above him. A worker performing tasks must make many complex and specific the decisions that affect his safety. In the case of electrical safety, energy isolation is very personal for electricians facing deadly electrical energy every time they open a panel. By the time they touch electricity, it’s too late.

Zero Energy Verification–Is There Voltage?

Electrical accidents are impossible without electrical energy. If an electrician comes into direct contact with electrical energy, there is a 5% fatality rate. Shocks and burns comprise the remaining 95%. The NFPA 70e is very specific on how to isolate electrical energy. First, all voltage sources must be located and labeled. Multiple voltage sources are commonplace today due to the proliferation of back-up generators and UPS’s. Next, voltage testing devices must be validated using the LIVE-DEAD-LIVE procedure. Additionally, the voltage tester must also physically contact the voltage and must verify each phase voltage to ground.

The RCH and Electrical Safety

How does the RCH apply to electrical safety?
1. Elimination -Removing all electrical energy exposure.
2. Substitution -Lowering the electrical energy exposure.
3. Engineering Controls -Reinventing ways to control electrical energy exposure.
4. Awareness -Revealing and labeling all sources of electrical energy.
5. Administrative Controls -Regulations that teach personnel safety around electrical energy.
6. Personal Protection -Reducing risks of working on live voltage.

Electrical workers are exposed to the greatest risks at the lower levels of the RCH. Recognizing that these ‘residual risks’ are present; the NFPA 70e tells workers how to perform their work safely in spite of these risks. In fact a large portion of the NFPA 70e details how to best manage these risks through Awareness, Administration, and Personal Protection. On the other hand, the greatest opportunity for risk reduction comes by focusing in the upper part of the RCH. Huge improvements in electrical safety will come by Eliminating Substituting, and Engineering solutions that manage electrical energy exposure.
The Department of Energy (DOE)

For better insight into the RCH process, let’s look at a 2005 Department of Energy report on their electrical safety record. This report cited six reasons for their 14.1 electrical incidents per month.
Within this DOE report, “hazard identification” [Table 1] stood out as an administrative control issue resulting in numerous electrical incidents. The solution was to get tougher administrators or look for improvements higher up in the RCH. Right above Administrative Controls (see Figure 1) we learn that increasing employee’s awareness of electrical hazards will reduce these types of incidents. A potential solution is to label and mark all voltage sources (hazards) feeding the electrical system. Voltage indicators and voltage portals wired to each voltage source provides two benefits: It identifies the voltage source and provides a means to check the status of that voltage source without exposure to voltage. Apply the same process to “LO/TO violations”.

CAUSES OF INCIDENTS PRESENT RCH PRINCIPLE INCREASED RISK REDUCTION RCH PRINCIPLE Lack of hazard identification.

ADMINISTRATIVE Properly administrating NFPA 70e requires all electrical enclosures to have warning labels with incident energy level (calories). AWARENESS /ELIMINATION Marking all energy sources on the panel exterior provides personnel with simple yet safe hazard identification.

LO/TO violations including shortcuts or lack of energy verification

ADMINISTRATIVE Can the LO/TO procedure be rewritten to reduce exposure to voltage?

ELIMINATION /SUBSTITUTION Thru-door voltage pre-checking ‘eliminates’ all exposure to voltage for mechanical LO/TO* and provide significant risk reduction for Electrical LO/TO.

Reducing electrical energy to Cat 0/1 will greatly reduce the potential arc flash energy SUBSTITUTION Lowering the arc flash energy effectively ‘substitutes’ for a lower risk for a higher risk.

Elimination: The Hall of Fame of Safety

We can enter the Electrical Safety Hall of Fame by finding ways to eliminate voltage exposure. Here are a few practical examples that can be implemented today:
o Mechanical Lock-out Tag-out [LOTO]: LOTO procedures requiring electricians to verify zero energy before performing mechanical maintenance needlessly exposes workers to voltage. Since all voltages do not create mechanical motion, through-door voltage checking devices as part of a mechanical LOTO procedure will eliminate voltage exposure (see Appendix B).
o Why open a control panel? What maintenance functions can be moved to the outside of the panel? Thru-door data access ports are becoming commonplace because they allow programming with the panel door closed (Figure 3). A more recent example is an unmanaged Ethernet switch mounted outside the panel. This unique device allows full through-door access for a worker to troubleshoot and reset the Ethernet switch (Figure 4). What other devices can be re-engineered around through-door electrical safety? Perhaps putting certain branch circuit breakers on the outside of the panel is a good application?
o Control Panel Design: Provide a physical separation between the power and control compartments within an enclosure may become a standard. Voltages under 50 volts are considered safe, so reducing the control power to 24VDC makes the control power section safe to work on while it is energized.
These above examples are only ‘scratching the surface’, so I challenge you to find ways to eliminate voltage exposure.

Conclusion

When safety works perfectly, nothing happens! When there is an incident or a close call the RCH should be an inspiration to find a better way. By applying the RCH principles to electrical safety risks, it will open our eyes to see more practical ways to reduce those risks. Perhaps, we would expend more resources finding electrical safety solutions that will provide both higher safety and productivity dividends.

Harold Pitney Brown intuitively knew that eliminating risks would save lives. He just got one detail wrong when he thought that 300 Volts was not a risk. Now for the rest of the story: To prove that AC voltage is more lethal than DC, Thomas Edison hired Harold Pitney Brown to develop the first electric chair that executed William Kemmler on August 6, 1890. So much for electrical safety!

Electric Car Conversion – Better Way to Save Money and Environment

If you are considering making the switch to an electric car, then there are some things you should consider before getting started. The transforming is a method that say could save you money and lower the carbon footprint. However, there are some disadvantages and advantages of electric car conversion to consider.

Electric car conversion:

Rather than buying an electric or hybrid vehicle, some owners carry out an electric car conversion, in which gasoline-stimulated engine is converted with an electric-stimulated one. Electric car conversions are generally known as do it yourself projects.

There are pre assembled kits or full do it yourself car electric conversion instruction for sale. Generally, all of the non engine parts of the vehicle are not changed- car body, safety features, breaks etc.

Advantages:

If you choose to transform your car to electric, there are some genuine advantages to the project. Rather than filling up at the gasoline station, you can plug in your car. Your carbon foot print will be eloquently reduced. The conversion process is naturally easy to do with some mechanical skills. Normally this process can run less than $15000 and could easily save you money in the long term.

Some more benefits:

-You can convert your car to electric in few days

-You can follow step by step conversion process

-You can travel up to 65 miles per hour

Most people are capable to convert their cars by themselves. The result of car conversion depends on how much the car weighs and how many batteries you use. Charging the car is not that expensive. You only need to plug in your car to charge.

Some disadvantages:

Converted electric cars can beIf you are considering making the switch to an electric car, then there are some things you should consider before getting started. The transforming is a method that say could save you money and lower the carbon footprint. However, there are some disadvantages and advantages of electric car conversion to consider.

Electric car conversion:

Rather than buying an electric or hybrid vehicle, some owners carry out an electric car conversion, in which gasoline-stimulated engine is converted with an electric-stimulated one. Electric car conversions are generally known as do it yourself projects.

There are pre assembled kits or full do it yourself car electric conversion instruction for sale. Generally, all of the non engine parts of the vehicle are not changed- car body, safety features, breaks etc.

Advantages:

If you choose to transform your car to electric, there are some genuine advantages to the project. Rather than filling up at the gasoline station, you can plug in your car. Your carbon foot print will be eloquently reduced. The conversion process is naturally easy to do with some mechanical skills. Normally this process can run less than $15000 and could easily save you money in the long term.

Some more benefits:

-You can convert your car to electric in few days -You can follow step by step conversion process -You can travel up to 65 miles per hour

Most people are capable to convert their cars by themselves. The result of car conversion depends on how much the car weighs and how many batteries you use. Charging the car is not that expensive. You only need to plug in your car to charge.

Some disadvantages:

Converted electric cars can be more difficult to repair. Every few years’ electric vehicles will also require battery replacement. These are some of the major disadvantages of electric car conversion.

Electric vehicles help to reduce noise pollution. Their lower maximum speeds could mean less road deaths and are quiet running. New movements in machinery may show abundant advancement in environmentally friendly road vehicles but meanwhile it is not a bad deal- save the environment and save money. more difficult to repair. Every few years’ electric vehicles will also require battery replacement. These are some of the major disadvantages of electric car conversion.

Electric vehicles help to reduce noise pollution. Their lower maximum speeds could mean less road deaths and are quiet running. New movements in machinery may show abundant advancement in environmentally friendly road vehicles but meanwhile it is not a bad deal- save the environment and save money.

Wireless Electricity Monitoring and Control System With Monitoring Function of a Home Solar Plant

A home electricity energy monitor is an easy way to see how much electricity you’re consuming – as you use it – and what it costs. It provides prompt, convenient feedback on electrical energy consumption. Some devices may also display cost of energy used, and estimates of greenhouse CO2 emissions in real time. It is also known as a “real time display”. People who adopt home energy monitors tend to find that their energy usage drops by between 5 percent and 15 percent in the first year of using them. Various studies have shown such a reduction in home energy consumption.

A wireless smart electricity monitor is a device used to monitor electricity consumption, adopting the wireless technology. In a typical wireless electricity monitor configuration, a unit that measures energy output is connected to the electricity meter in a home meter box, and that unit transmits information about energy consumption wirelessly to a display unit. The display unit shows the amount of power being used, the cost of the power and the greenhouse gas emissions caused by the electricity being consumed. Some units also display other information such as ambient temperature and humidity.

Wireless electricity monitors are easier to use than wired electricity monitors because they allow users to place the display unit anywhere in their homes. This way, users can frequently check the amount of energy being used without having to walk to a meter or run wires through their homes. Wireless electricity monitors are usually battery-operated, though some units have direct current (DC) adapters that enable them to be plugged into wall power.

Most people who use a wireless electricity monitor do so to reduce energy consumption. Having a constant visual reminder of how much energy is being used at any given time, how much the energy costs and how much of an effect the energy use has on the environment can help people stay mindful of their energy use and remind them to turn off appliances when they aren’t using them. The monitors can also be used to figure out how much energy particular machines and appliances are consuming so users can determine how they can best reduce their energy use.

Sometimes, a wireless electricity monitor only shows how much energy is currently being used, but many wireless electricity monitors also store usage data and enable users to review their daily, weekly and monthly energy use. This tracking ability can help users review how they’re using electricity, stay motivated to continue using less electricity and develop strategies for reducing consumption. A wireless electricity monitor is not very expensive, and many users say they recoup the cost of the monitor in just a month or two by using less energy.

Some wireless electricity monitors also have the ability to connect to a personal computer. The transmitter unit can stream energy usage data to a device connected to the computer, usually through a universal serial bus (USB) port. Computer software that comes with the data receiver typically enables detailed electricity tracking and reporting.

More and more homeowners in the world have installed solar power system or wind micro generator in their homes to generate clean power, reduce the electricity consumption cost and protect the environment as well. Photovoltaic Solar Power is, in it’s simplest definition, the energy created by converting solar energy into electricity using photovoltaic solar cells. Solar power cells are made out of materials known as semiconductors, usually silicon. A semiconductor has the properties of an insulator, but when exposed to light or heat is capable of conducting electricity.

The electricity energy monitoring and control system with home solar plant monitoring function works 2-way and is developed specially for households installed with home solar plant, providing a good solution for the home owners to monitor both the home electricity consumed in total and the energy produced by solar. Meanwhile, the system displays the balance between the consumption and production to the family members and provide wireless remote control of home electrical appliances when the family members want to respond to unsatisfactory balance data.

How the system works?

The clamp of one power transmitter is attached to the cable from your electricity meter. The current is then measured and transmitted wirelessly to a monitor with display screen that you can keep anywhere in your house. The clamp of the other power transmitter is attached to the cable from the solar power plant to measure its yield. In this case, the data for the consumption and solar production is attained respectively and the comparison is possible.

When the home electricity consumption is higher than the electricity production of home solar system or wind micro generator, the controller of the electricity control system provides an alarm warning, reminding the family members to act to reduce the power consumption.

The LCD screen of the controller display home power consumption data, production output by home solar system, balance data, cost data, history data. It also shows time and date.

The system supports up to 12pcs sensor plug sockets, that means it can wirelessly monitor and control up to twelve connected electrical appliances.

With this system, you can keep track of how your solar system is performing, how much money you are saving in electricity costs, and how much your system is benefiting the environment.

The wireless electricity monitoring and control system with Home Solar Plant monitoring function is consisted by 1pc controller with power adapter, 2pcs transmitters with sensor clamp, A number of sensor plug sockets and 1pc RJ45-USB data cable to provide computer link

* The controller receives data from the transmitters and sensor plug sockets, displays the real time and history information on its LCD screen and sends powering on/off instruction to the sensor plug sockets.

* 1pc of transmitter will be used to monitor the electricity output of the solar home plant, the other transmitter will be used to monitor the electricity consumption of the whole home.

* The sensor plug sockets detect the electricity consumption of connected electrical appliances. The sockets detect the energy consumption data and send it to the controller. The sockets can be controlled remotely and wirelessly by the controller to switch on/off the connected electrical appliances. One system can support up to 12pcs sensor sockets.

* The RJ45-USB data cable (available with software) serves to provide connection between the controller and the computer so that the user can view the real time data, the history data from the computer or remotely switch on/off electrical appliances.

We recommend you to view Sailwider’s home solar monitoring system for more details.

Reconditioned Electrical Equipment Can Be Safe, Reliable and Sustainable

Just about every product in the world has two main markets: one for new product, and a second market for used sometimes referred to as surplus, reconditioned, rebuilt or remanufactured product.

Cars, computers, jewelry, and electronics are just a few examples of thriving industries that trade in used goods. The commercial and industrial electrical supply markets are no exception.

Electrical equipment, like automobiles and industrial machinery, are designed to last decades. However, like other durable goods, electrical equipment can be dangerous to the inexperienced whether it is new or used product. The confluence of these two facts means that product safety not just availability is critical to a healthy electrical marketplace.

In 1908, the National Association of Electrical Distributors was formed to “establish the electrical distributor as an essential force in the electrical industry and economy,” followed by the National Electrical Manufacturer’s Association (NEMA) in 1926. These venerable associations eventually expanded to include educational programs and standards to help improve the operations and safety of the electrical supply chain with a focus on new product from electrical Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs). During the next 50 years, two other associations emerged to help service the used and installed base of electrical equipment. The Electrical Apparatus Service Association (EASA) focused on rewinding standards for electric motors, while the InterNational Electrical Testing Association (NETA) offered guidance, education, and certification for field-testing electrical equipment. But it wasn’t until 1996 that a group of independent electrical distributors joined forces to promote the reconditioning of industrial electrical product. The Professional Electrical Apparatus Recyclers League (PEARL) is the only trade association that offers technical reconditioning standards for industrial electrical product, a code of ethics, ongoing education, site and technician certification, and best practices. Today, PEARL’s corporate membership has grown to more than 70 independent electrical resellers with revenues in excess of $500 million each year.

Why Do We Need Used Electrical Equipment?

Why does a secondary, or “out of channel” market for electrical equipment exist? It exists for the same reason that electrical OEMs and wholesale distributors exist – supply and demand.

Consider a manufacturing plant that has a failed component in a critical electrical service. A new replacement component is not available from the manufacturer and distributors for weeks, months, or worse, not at all. So what is the plant to do?

How about the power generating station that distributes electricity through a vintage – but perfectly serviceable – 15kv switchgear built in 1959. The station needs to upgrade their integral tie breaker from 2000A to 3000A to keep up with escalating demand.

The most cost effective (and practical) way to upgrade the service is to replace the tie breaker with one of similar vintage and design, but with the higher current rating. Unfortunately, primary supply channels stopped stocking this product 30 years ago.

What about the new office building that is falling further and further behind schedule waiting for a certain size and type of conduit or conduit fittings, only to discover weeks past the original delivery date that the material is on backorder with no estimated time of delivery?

Each of these cases represents need-it-now demand for electrical products – critical demand from the customers’ perspectives. Enter the secondary electrical supply house. They’ve acquired and warehoused hard-to-find electrical product for just these types of situation. However, even when the replacement component is located, the question remains: How safe is the replacement?

The only way to answer the “safety” question is to validate the component through acceptance testing, and when necessary, recondition the component to meet or exceed the product’s original performance specifications, or upgrade the component with newer technologies that exceed the original specification.

This is where a knowledgeable secondary channel for electrical product performs a valuable and necessary service, particularly as OEMs continue to adopt ‘lean’ manufacturing processes that extend lead times for many pieces of electrical equipment.

To answer this demand, independent resellers of new, surplus, and reconditioned electrical products have acquired massive inventories of electrical service equipment from closed industrial plants, scaled-back construction projects, and electrical distributors themselves when OEMs discontinue or change product lines. Unlike OEMs and franchise electrical distributors, these independent electrical distributors hold inventory much longer than the primary channel so that when customers need a component for expansion or replacement, the device is available and the customer can get back to business.