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May-June 2003
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Arc-Flash Hazards

by Todd Lottmann

Electrical hazards, such as arc flash, can be extremely damaging to equipment and, more importantly, to people. An alarming number of electrically related accidents occur each year, often resulting in serious third degree burns or death. Luckily there have been recent significant advances in the electrical industry surrounding electrical hazards, particularly arc flash. The following discussion will detail the dangers and nuances surrounding arc-flash hazards and overview recent advancements in the electrical industry to minimize their occurrences. Read more

Using Device Boxes in Ceilings

by Frederic P. Hartwell

If you install a device box in a ceiling, can you mount anything to it other than a blank faceplate? The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) for the 2005 NEC is attempting to clarify that you can mount a "device, smoke detector, carbon monoxide detector, or similar product” to a device box in a ceiling, as long as it does not weigh over 3 kg (6 lb). The comments from the NEMA representative and subsequent comments from contractor members of the panel (at the January meeting just concluded) suggest that large numbers of inspectors are saying no to this practice. Read more

Electrical Inspector Workplace Safety

by Michael Johnston

It seems that many people do not take electricity and the associated hazards seriously enough. As the use of this great power has expanded into everyone’s daily life, electrical safety in the home and workplace is expected and taken for granted. People have come to expect electricity to work without interruption and have taken comfort in the technology and protective devices that make our life easier and safe. Read more

Electrical Safety of Equipment in the Workplace: What 70-E Doesn’t Say…

by Greg Smith

There are many elements to electrical safety in the workplace. The entire process for each company is ultimately the responsibility of several key people or groups of people who will be involved at different times. First, there is the owner who needs certain things to happen, in an organized manner, including everything that will need to be in the facility. Next, architects help bring the idea to life, and give the buildings shape and definition. After this, the engineering firm designs the electrical systems needed, and specifies the safety considerations based on the activity that will take place in a particular area or room. After this, the plans reviewer verifies that the engineering plans conform to the local codes and the NEC. When this step is complete, the plans reviewer passes the baton to the building and electrical inspectors. But it does not end here…this is just the beginning. Read more

Product Listing – A Key to Increased Inspection Efficiency

by Doug Geralde

The National Electrical Code’s Section 90.7, Examination of Equipment for Safety, is possibly one of the greatest timesaving tools electrical inspectors have at their disposal. The intent of NEC 90.7 is to relieve inspectors of the burden of performing field inspections on factory-installed internal wiring or equipment construction at the time it’s installed. Read more

Electric Sign Inspections: Listed Signs and Listed Section Signs

by Michael Johnston

The National Electrical Code (NEC) is a minimum electrical safety standard; its primary purpose is directed at protection of persons and property from electrical hazards. Hazards of electrical shock, electrocution, and fires are some of the more serious consequences of noncompliance with minimum rules for safety. The NEC is the most widely adopted code in the world and many jurisdictions adopt it in its entirety without exception or local amendments or supplements. This article focuses on electrical signs and neon installations, what is included under the scope of Article 600, and some of the basics relative to the electrical inspection process. Read more

The Electrical Code in New York State

by Mark Anderson

The information in this article is applicable to New York State but does not apply to New York City, which has its own building code. Read more

Near Misses Are Too Risky

by Richard Owen

During your career as an electrical inspector, have you ever received a shock while inspecting? Have you ever accidentally faulted a circuit between phases or to ground? Have you ever tripped over something on the floor in a construction site because your attention was focused elsewhere? Read more

Implementing 70E in the Electrical Construction Workplace

by Robert McGregor

The development of NFPA 70E–2000 provides a roadmap for any employer to develop an extremely effective electrical safety program, which if followed, would most probably eliminate future electrical injury and fatalities. I believe there would also be a side benefit of increasing both management’s and their electricians’ overall safety awareness of other hazards as well. Many electrical contractors have both real financial roadblocks and misconceptions that are impediments that hinder implementation of many components of 70E. Read more

Homeowners Warned About Aging Home Electrical Systems

by Michael G. Clendenin

Owners of older homes may have a much more alarming problem than peeling paint and loose floorboards lurking behind their walls. According to the latest statistics from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), electrical distribution was the largest cause of property damage wreaking $643.2 million in property damage in home structure fires, and the third leading cause of home structure fires, causing 40,400 fires, the second leading cause of death (329) and third leading cause of home fire injuries (1,357) between 1994 and 1998, the latest data available. Read more

Performing Arc-flash Hazard Calculations

by C. M. Wellman

An arc flash is a potentially very hazardous event, in which the heat energy alone can cause ignition of clothing and extensive severe burns. The other affects of the arc flash can also cause severe injuries. The effects of an arc-flash injury can be life changing and the costs can be staggering. One utility company recorded three serious arc-flash injuries in a three-year period. Costs to date for medical, indemnity, and vocational retraining are $875 k with additional funds in reserve. Another company, a manufacturer, has reported it has experienced an average of 2.2 arc-flash injuries/year over the last ten years. Read more

Celona Story on Rhode Island’s Co Bill

by John Celona

All of us have been horrified in recent years to hear of the many deaths from carbon-monoxide poisoning in Rhode Island, especially in the winter months when homes aren’t as well ventilated as they are during warmer weather. Carbon monoxide is the leading cause of death by accidental poisoning in America. Read more



Electrical Safety, A Continuous Objective

by James W. Carpenter

May is National Electrical Safety Month, the time when we stress electrical safety to the public; but electrical safety is a continuous objective to those of us in the industry. That silent, unseen force works miraculously every time we turn on the TV, electrical range, or the light switch; and it is usually there waiting for the command to begin work. However, if the system that contains and controls that unseen power is not maintained or is abused, then a catastrophe can happen. Yet sometimes in our normal day-to-day living, the maintenance of the electrical system is occasionally overlooked and, just like our automobiles, as time and use go on things wear out. Read more

Canadian Code

Electrical Wiring – 2002 CEC Revisions

by Leslie Stoch

As expected, the 2002 Canadian Electrical Code contains some changes in the rules for wiring. Most of the new requirements are beneficial, in that they make some new products available or provide new applications for existing products without affecting electrical safety overall. This article reviews a few of the more meaningful changes in 2002. Read more

UL Question Corner

Some outlet boxes are sold with clamps packaged in bulk, rather than included?

by Underwriters Laboratories

UL Listed outlet boxes may or may not be provided with clamps. When clamps are provided, they are required to be already mounted in place or provided in the carton with the outlet box. If the outlet boxes are bulk packaged, the clamps may be in a separate bag, but are still required to be provided in the same carton. An exception to this requirement is applicable when the box is marked for use with a specific clamp. Read more

Other Code

Inspection of Lines and Equipment

by David Young

To insure that electric supply facilities comply with the rules of the National Electrical Safety Code (NESC), Rule 214A 2 states, "Lines and equipment shall be inspected at such intervals as experience has shown to be necessary.” What does this mean? How frequent is "…intervals as experience has shown to be necessary”? To understand this rule, we need to talk about the limitations of inspection in identifying NESC violations and averting electrical contact accidents. Read more

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