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Old 01-22-2015, 07:50 PM   #1
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Default 1600A Ground Fault

Guy went to shut off (3) 600A Breakers after testing his machines, as he shut down the last one it blew !!!! I was about 30' away, grounding a de energized motor control cabinet. My employer thought he left my cabinet energized, and blew me up, and I thought my co worker blew himself up at another one.

It tripped a 1600A 480V breaker ahead of it. If you look at the burned wires, you will notice the green tarnished copper, indicating a long term problem, and caused by over heating from a loose connection. This wasn't the cause of the ground fault last night, just another area that needs to be replaced.

The cause of this explosion, was the bracket that holds a side of the dead front, was not bolted, and the support bar bent in as the guy put pressure on it and touched the lug. He was deaf in one ear last night, and didn't show to work today.
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Old 01-22-2015, 08:02 PM   #2
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These breakers are about $6K each. We have to replace one set of parallel wires to the machine
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Old 01-22-2015, 08:25 PM   #3
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Was the guy wearing a suite? I'm glad he is ok , mostly.
Who is responsible for the cost?
Wow.again I'm glad no one is seriously hurt!
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Old 01-22-2015, 08:31 PM   #4
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That's an OSHA reportable incident and I wouldn't touch anything until an investigation.
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Old 01-22-2015, 08:32 PM   #5
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Quote:
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That's an OSHA reportable incident and I wouldn't touch anything until an investigation.

I doubt that
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Old 01-22-2015, 08:35 PM   #6
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I doubt that
I actually wouldn't doubt it..
If the dead front was being replaced on a live panel. There's only several instances where live work is acceptable by nfpa 70 e standards. Which almost always apply to osha standards.
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Old 01-22-2015, 08:35 PM   #7
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Quote:
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That's an OSHA reportable incident and I wouldn't touch anything until an investigation.
It doesn't sound like a recordable to me. The fact that he didn't work was up to him, not a doctor.
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Old 01-22-2015, 08:36 PM   #8
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Lost work injury due to an arc blast,suffering hearing loss?
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Old 01-22-2015, 08:37 PM   #9
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I actually wouldn't doubt it..
If the dead front was being replaced on a live panel. There's only several instances where live work is acceptable by nfpa 70 e standards. Which almost always apply to osha standards.

Op stated the guy was simply opening a breaker. You don't need a suit for that
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Old 01-22-2015, 08:41 PM   #10
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Op stated the guy was simply opening a breaker. You don't need a suit for that
Yeah you do! Read up on arc blast and perimeters that are considered safe clearances
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Old 01-22-2015, 08:43 PM   #11
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Anyway, I hope the Electrician went for medical treatment to assess any permanent damages,hearing or other.
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Old 01-22-2015, 08:43 PM   #12
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Anyway, I hope the Electrician went for medical treatment to assess any permanent damages,hearing or other.
I would just for the potential hearing loss. I imagine that was an extremely loud event...
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Old 01-22-2015, 08:44 PM   #13
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Yeah you do! Read up on arc blast and perimeters that are considered safe clearances

Even with all covers in place? What voltage and current does that start at?
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Old 01-22-2015, 08:53 PM   #14
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Pony, he may have come off as a bit of an ahole, but he has a point. If you dont know that you need to be in a suit when opening a breaker that large, I wonder as well. I have no idea what the limit is, maybe I should considering what I do, but anything over 400 amp gets me in a class 1 suit up at least. Especially when working on equipment that old.

New construction guys that deal with brand new stuff may not understand that. I dont suit on on new jobs either. But old, bent up stuff? Damn right.
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Old 01-22-2015, 08:54 PM   #15
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If I ran a one man shop Id probably own a cal suit and use it even in routine things like taking dead fronts off. Never know if some idiot forgot a screwdriver on a breaker inside and that's all it takes to end up in the burn ward or dead. However I'm sure the % of electricians who really put on a cal suit to remove a panel cover is pretty low.
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Old 01-22-2015, 09:02 PM   #16
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Quote:
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Even with all covers in place? What voltage and current does that start at?
It's about available fault current. So a qualified person must determine what that is, by several factors.
Voltage and current.
Also overcurrent protection ahead of the panel in question.
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Old 01-22-2015, 09:03 PM   #17
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Covers in place, regular maintenance performed, Cat 0. I don't believe there was any inspection on this gear for a while which will be the first of many questions OSHA will ask.
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Old 01-22-2015, 09:05 PM   #18
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I had to suit up today, and open all of the other power panels to inspect brackets and bolts missing, and the condition of the thing. Lots of double tapped wires, and damaged panels from a forklift or something.

Yesterday we replaced a breaker with a new 480V 125A, and the old one had tex screws going into the bus !!!

Had to take a glove off to turn the screwdriver
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Old 01-22-2015, 09:10 PM   #19
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This one is still working and looks like a forlift got it ! This is on our replacement list
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Old 01-22-2015, 09:10 PM   #20
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hmmm, thanks for sharing man. Next time I will think twice while doing this kind of work. much appreciated
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