I'm curious as to how many electricians actually shut off power before
working on a circuit. I'm currently working on a 240V circuit and
always shut down power, especially when it's work in the panel.
Anyone care to share their best practices when working in panels?
The saying is that there are old electricians, and there are bold
electricians, but there are no old, bold electricians...
Bottom line is you can't get electrocuted by a de-energized circuit. Shut it
I always shut the power off as well, but I've worked with lots of
electricians that preferred to work on "Hot" circuits. They also refused to
use hand tools that had insulated handles, such as pliers, side-cutters,
etc. Their thinking was they didn't want a false sense of security. I once
asked my helper if he had turned the power off on a circuit I was working
on. After being assured that he had, I preceded to start cutting wires. It
blew up in my face. It also ruined my glasses. I would have been blinded if
I hadn't been wearing them. Now the old farts that work on hot circuits
wouldn't have had my problem, they treat all circuits as if they were hot.
Are we talkin' home or commercial, cause sometimes its just not possible to
kill power when doin' renovations commercially. I work it hot, if I have
to. Just the other day we had to knock out a 2 1/2" hole in an MDP to
supply a new panel. We haven't pulled the conductors just yet, but I
suspect that we will have to work that hot as well.
Op --Old is a relative term and I certainly ain't bold--
just out of curiosity when you work it hot do you stick one hand in
"> I'm curious as to how many electricians actually shut off power
"> working on a circuit. I'm currently working on a 240V circuit and"> always shut down power, especially when it's work in the panel.
"> Anyone care to share their best practices when working in panels?
"Are we talkin' home or commercial, cause sometimes its just not
"kill power when doin' renovations commercially. I work it hot, if I
"to. Just the other day we had to knock out a 2 1/2" hole in an MDP
"supply a new panel. We haven't pulled the conductors just yet, but I
"suspect that we will have to work that hot as well.
"Op --Old is a relative term and I certainly ain't bold--
To Explain Oneself Is A Sign Of Weakness!
GNF has a point: sometimes there is no other way. And yes, the
very few times I -had- to, I made a conscious effort to keep my
one thumb tucked inside a belt loop while I was handling the
service entrance cable with the other hand.
Couple of tips I can offer to anyone in that situation --
1) Plan, plan, plan. Prep, prep, prep. Do -everything- you can as
far as readying the box(es), getting the old crap stripped out, even
getting the lugs ready to accept the wire. Back out the screws,
make sure they're not misthreaded, etc. When you have that live
wire in your hand, you don't want to have to "multitask".
2) Remove *ALL* distractions from the work area: kids, pets, cel
phones, etc. Your mind has to be 101% on what you're doing, or
you can leave the room in a big black bag.
This is Turtle.
His point is Your stupid plan and simple. Am I clear on this?
Second thing here. If a person tells me that he is working service entrence
lines hot and does not know how to will not cut the seal and pull the meter
is one of two things. He is very Stupid or lying through his teeth. Which
one is it tom ?
That sure is enough to intimidate anyone. To answer an earlier
question, this is in reference to residential, so I can shut off the
power w/o a problem, and I will do so. I can understand when an
electrician is in a commercial setting, and shutting down someone's
business isn't feasible.
After all, you should be able to handle a live wire provided your one
hand is in your belt loop and you're standing on a thick rubber mat.
ehhhhhhh, uhhhhhhhh, no. You have to be conscious of more than
your feet. The -box- you're working in is grounded, or at least
it should be. You need to be concerned with bumping a bare
forearm up against a concrete wall. It's all potentially bad,
some worse than others.
The stalking jerkoff pro gave some good advice (elaborating on
what I've said) about trying to cover up the dangerous contact
areas as much as possible. *Do**that*. And you should never
aim to touch the live, uninsulated wire on purpose unless you've
taken *all* of the safety precautions including the rubber
gloves. There's times you come damned close. If you use a metal
utility knife to strip it, you'll be in contact. Use a plastic
handled one and duct tape over the screws that hold it together.
Little things like that need to be done.
You have to prepare like you're *always* in contact with a live
wire, and then take precautions to try and *never* let it happen.
Bottom line = if you slip, and you've done your homework, you
won't even feel a tingle.
If u are gonna say that I said something,
Electrical safety in general.
The definition of a "qualified electrician" is not only someone who has the
skills and knowledge related to the construction and operation of electrical
equipment and installations, but also is someone who knows how to protect
oneself and others from the hazards involved while doing the work. That's
what we _do_. We can work energized equipment bare-handed if
necessary......but ONLY _after_ receiving proper safety training AND heeding
that training along with using PPE (Personal Protective Equipment.) _Never_
work something hot if you don't have to.
PPE starts with clothing.....100% cotton. In the event of an explosion,
cotton will burn off your body, as opposed to a synthetic fiber that will
burn into your skin and stay there. PPE also includes things like
non-conductive rubber gloves, rubber mats, face (flash) shields, hard hat,
and a whole slew of other products rated for the voltage being worked on.
First rule is to de-energize when possible........not always a real world
Second rule is to test the de-energized circuit or equipment with a
known-to-be-good voltage tester.......then, after testing the de-energized
equipment or circuit, test the test equipment again on a known-to-be-live
Many electricians have been killed or seriously injured by emergency
generators that start automatically.......sometimes the delay upon loss of
normal power can be longer than expected. Or emergency panels are tied in
to the normal power before the main and will still be energized when the
main is shut down.
The first question one should ask oneself when working something hot is:
"Am I grounded" IF you ARE grounded, then you need to seriously reconsider
working it hot.......or at least see if some PPE will help. Since
everyone's perception of danger is different, if at ANYTIME you feel unsafe,
STOP doing what you're doing........then schedule a shutdown. It requires
considerable training to be able to know if you're in real danger though.
Without _proper_ electrical safety training, it's stupid to work something
hot. Even trained workers following all the safety rules does not guarantee
Never work something hot when alone. Also helps if the person that you are
with knows CPR......and stands far enough away so as not to be injured in an
explosion or energized by flapping arms and legs if the worker doing the hot
work is being electrocuted.......so you can be helped. Never hurts to have
a 4' piece of clean, dry 2
x 4 close by.
Many electricians have been killed by a fall off a ladder, scaffold, or
other high place after a non-lethal shock.......the reaction to the shock
causes the fall.
Defective switches and circuit breakers have been known to explode upon
operation. In an
old, corroded panel, sometimes just removing the cover can cause some
serious arcing and sparking.
DC power equipment can be very dangerous......things like capacitors and
coils can retain a deadly charge if not properly discharged.
When working energized panels it helps to place non-conductive rubber mats
over the live sections of the panel. Of course, many electrical contractors
don't provide PPE.......so we're forced to chose between depending upon
clean, dry scraps of lumber and/or drywall.....yes, cardboard too.........or
drag up. Since most people have to eat and cardboard boxes are kinda rough
to live in, that's the reality of it.
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