Electrical Safety, Arc-Flash Hazard, Switching Practices,and Precautions

Introduction

Safety in electrical systems concerns three different areas: protection of life, protection of property, and protection of uninterrupted productive output. The required investment to accomplish improved safety often consists merely of additional planning effort without any extra equipment investment. The protection of human life is paramount. Electrical plant property can be replaced and lost production can be made up, but human life can never be recovered nor human suffering compensated for. To achieve improved safety to personnel, special attention should be directed to energized equipment, adequate short-circuit protective devices, a good maintenance program, simplicity of the electrical system design, and proper training of personnel who work around electricity. Many of the items necessary to give improved protection to life will also secure improved protection to plant property and minimize breakdown of electrical system equipment. This chapter deals with electrical safety, switching practices, arc-flash hazard analysis, precautions, and accident prevention.

Most electrical companies and plants have safety programs and rules in the workplace and training programs for their employees. Most safety pro- grams embody company safety rules and practices, national and local codes and standards, and federal and state laws. For individuals to carry out their duties, they must be knowledgeable of the rules and standards that apply to their workplace. Electrical safety standards and requirements are varied; some are voluntary while others are laws that are mandatory, and provide guidance for safely working around or on electrical energy. Since the standards are periodically revised, one should always refer to the most recent version of the standard when consulting such a standard. A brief discussion of the safety standards, arc-flash hazard analysis and labeling of equipment, and regulations related to these topics and electricity are covered below to familiarize the reader with them.

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