A complete electrical hazard classification system and its application

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The Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace, NFPA 70E, and relevant OSHA electrical safety standards evolved to address the hazards of 60-Hz power that are faced primarily by electricians, linemen, and others performing facility and utility work. This leaves a substantial gap in the management of electrical hazards in Research and Development (R&D) and specialized high voltage and high power equipment. Examples include lasers, accelerators, capacitor banks, electroplating systems, induction and dielectric heating systems, etc. Although all such systems are fed by 50/60 Hz alternating current (ac) power, we find substantial use of direct current (dc) electrical energy, and ... continued below

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Gordon, Lloyd B & Cartelli, Laura January 1, 2009.

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The Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace, NFPA 70E, and relevant OSHA electrical safety standards evolved to address the hazards of 60-Hz power that are faced primarily by electricians, linemen, and others performing facility and utility work. This leaves a substantial gap in the management of electrical hazards in Research and Development (R&D) and specialized high voltage and high power equipment. Examples include lasers, accelerators, capacitor banks, electroplating systems, induction and dielectric heating systems, etc. Although all such systems are fed by 50/60 Hz alternating current (ac) power, we find substantial use of direct current (dc) electrical energy, and the use of capacitors, inductors, batteries, and radiofrequency (RF) power. The electrical hazards of these forms of electricity and their systems are different than for 50160 Hz power. Over the past 10 years there has been an effort to develop a method of classifying all of the electrical hazards found in all types of R&D and utilization equipment. Examples of the variation of these hazards from NFPA 70E include (a) high voltage can be harmless, if the available current is sufficiently low, (b) low voltage can be harmful if the available current/power is high, (c) high voltage capacitor hazards are unique and include severe reflex action, affects on the heart, and tissue damage, and (d) arc flash hazard analysis for dc and capacitor systems are not provided in existing standards. This work has led to a comprehensive electrical hazard classification system that is based on various research conducted over the past 100 years, on analysis of such systems in R&D, and on decades of experience. Initially, national electrical safety codes required the qualified worker only to know the source voltage to determine the shock hazard. Later, as arc flash hazards were understood, the fault current and clearing time were needed. These items are still insufficient to fully characterize all types of electrical hazards. The new comprehensive electrical hazard classification system uses a combination of voltage, shock current available, fault current available, power, energy, and waveform to classify all forms of electrical hazards. Based on this electrical hazard classification system, many new tools have been developed, including (a) work controls for these hazards, (b) better selection of PPE for R&D work, (c) improved training, and (d) a new Severity Ranking Tool that is used to rank electrical accidents and incidents with various forms of electrical energy.

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  • IEEE electrical safety workshop ; February 3, 2009 ; St Louis Mo

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  • Report No.: LA-UR-09-00502
  • Report No.: LA-UR-09-502
  • Grant Number: AC52-06NA25396
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 956350
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc930902

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Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

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  • January 1, 2009

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Nov. 13, 2016, 7:26 p.m.

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  • Dec. 9, 2016, 11:02 p.m.

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Gordon, Lloyd B & Cartelli, Laura. A complete electrical hazard classification system and its application, article, January 1, 2009; [New Mexico]. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc930902/: accessed August 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.