Hot tips for industrial electrical safety

July 7, 2022
Sheila Kennedy says innovative tools and accessories help protect against serious industrial hazards.

Electric shock, electrocution, and arc flash hazards are top of mind for industrial workers dealing with electricity. Ensuring that personnel are fully qualified, using the right tools, and following the appropriate NEMA safety standards is the best way to protect against the risk of injury or death. Modern safety devices and wearable solutions help to achieve this vital goal.

About the Author: Sheila Kennedy

Safety devices

Ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) technology is improving. The new SB5000 Industrial Shock Block GFCI from Littelfuse reduces unnecessary tripping using DFT filtering and the full UL 943 inverse time curve. Its ground-check capability with a Zener termination option monitors the ground wire for continuity between the Shock Block and load, and trips if it is compromised.

The SB5000 Shock Block is “putting the best/latest safety technology into a smaller, more functional package,” says Richard Dale, product manager for relays at Littelfuse’s Industrial Business Unit. The new packaging is IP69K-rated, making it well-suited for equipment washdown environments, and the SB5000 series is fully certified to meet Class A or Class C/D requirements, he adds.

The 1000 VAC/VDC Safe-Test Point from Grace Technologies is a permanent electrical safety device (PESD) designed to allow absence of voltage testing (AVT) from outside the electrical cabinet. The self-powered device, which can be combined with a voltage indicator, enables AVT with a multimeter through high impedance protected test point jacks, without wearing special personal protective equipment (PPE).

“The development of this new Safe-Test Point will bring optimized electrical safety to more doors and, consequently, more people,” observes Drew Allen, president and CEO of Grace Technologies. “Our team is very proud to provide a safer and more productive method of performing lockout/tagout (LOTO), which is critical for minimizing injuries in the workplace and maximizing equipment uptime.”

External oil sampling devices for cabinet transformers avoid de-energizing the transformer or opening the cabinet door. SampleSafe ST and the new SampleSafe Essential from SDMyers are valve extensions for cabinet transformers that are designed for this purpose. SampleSafe ST has the added benefit of a steel powder-coated lockable enclosure. Available dual configuration provides the ability to complete online oil processing services such as top-offs or reinhibiting.

All SampleSafe kits come standard with a viewing window, Schrader valve, and relocation of the pressure vacuum gauge, says Kyle Johannes, product manager at SDMyers. “These features allow for the critical step of a visual inspection on the cabinet, adding of nitrogen (if necessary), and checking the pressure of the unit prior to sampling,” he explains.

Technology Toolbox

This article is part of our monthly Technology Toolbox column. Read more from Sheila Kennedy.

The Safe-Connect product line recently acquired by IRISS complements the company’s other electrical maintenance safety devices. “Safe-Connect offers the advantage of thermochromic science for visual indication of asset health,” says Martin Robinson, founder and CEO of IRISS Group. The thermochromic technology causes a color change based on temperature ranges, enabling 24/7 safety monitoring and the ability to detect overheating before an electrical fire or equipment failure occurs.

For instance, Safe-Connect ThermoClips used in tandem with large-format infrared (IR) windows from IRISS enable visual inspections for overtemperature conditions in electrical equipment before and between IR and ultrasound inspections, even in intermittently loaded systems. Thermochromic cable wrap and label solutions are also available.

Wearable protection

Knowing where people are located is crucial, especially in emergencies. The new Safety Watch industrial real-time location solution (RTLS) from Honeywell improves safety, security, and compliance monitoring and accelerates mustering and search and rescue operations. Its small, battery-operated RFID tags can be integrated into employee badges or affixed to critical assets, including in hazardous areas. Honeywell’s OneWireless network infrastructure and RTLS software platform complete the solution.

RTLS helps users “do more in the safest and most productive way possible with real-time data, and safeguards your most valuable assets, thus improving the overall effectiveness of your workforce,’’ says Nisha Lathif, safety solutions business director at Honeywell Process Solutions.

The Bussmann series of arc flash PPE recently launched by Eaton marks a milestone for the company. “Eaton is now the only manufacturer that can partner with customers through every step of their electrical safety journey, from conducting arc flash risk assessments and personnel training to recommending a PPE portfolio and now providing the PPE itself,” says Thomas Domitrovich, Eaton’s vice president of application engineering for the Bussmann division.

Available as a kit or in components, Bussmann arc flash-rated clothing meets or exceeds all related standards, and the shields or hood window panels achieve 100% color acuity with clear true gray color, notes Domitrovich.

This story originally appeared in the July 2022 issue of Plant Services. Subscribe to Plant Services here.

About the Author

Sheila Kennedy | CMRP

Sheila Kennedy, CMRP, is a professional freelance writer specializing in industrial and technical topics. She established Additive Communications in 2003 to serve software, technology, and service providers in industries such as manufacturing and utilities, and became a contributing editor and Technology Toolbox columnist for Plant Services in 2004. Prior to Additive Communications, she had 11 years of experience implementing industrial information systems. Kennedy earned her B.S. at Purdue University and her MBA at the University of Phoenix. She can be reached at [email protected] or www.linkedin.com/in/kennedysheila.

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