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Employer won't provide arc flash PPE

2268 Views 41 Replies 21 Participants Last post by  superdeez
Like the title says, working for a municipality that expects me to work hot in big old switchgear from the 1970s and won't provide arc flash protection.

There is a suit available to me, but it is meant for a much smaller individual. This hasn't come to a head--yet, but any other place I've been expected to work on stuff that could really go boom there's at least been a jumpsuit and the orange face shield available.

Would it be best to buy my own gear, refuse to work in gear with potential for a big arc or just find another employer?
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· Registered
Electrical contractor 37 years. Electrical inspector 2 years
4,141 Posts
With all the safety training, now I am scared to do anything. Not scared of electricity but scared if somebody sees me doing something that I should not be doing.

· Total troll
78 Posts
Discussion Starter · #42 ·
I had a size 5 open delta starter (480v) from Eaton grenade inside an MCC. Door open, so we could see what happened. I was impressed, the flames went out the holes, the magic was ejected, the sound quieted down and the starter on the outside looked fine. It completely held the fault inside. We returned it to Eaton and I never did get to see any pics of what the inside looked like. I have never operated a piece of equipment standing in front or with the door open again and never will.

The power we all work around is beyond comprehension at times. Back when this happened we did not even wear safety glasses.
If I suspect a fault or if it's convenient, or possible I will operate gear using a long stick. Shovel handles work especially well. Hot sticks work also. I call it the "remote reset device" (or RRD for shoirt). People look at you like you're crazy carrying a shovel into a finished building. Saved my ass once resetting a breaker inside of a high mast pole. The SO cord was all melted and a DOT certified contractor had to pull new SO. We got used to seeing what we presume was lightning cause high mast fuses to all blow or the breakers to randomly trip but in this case it was 2nd shift just turning things off if they found faults, knowing 3rd shift would eventually get called and have to fix it. I would have been head and shoulders inside of the pole otherwise. I shall forever be grateful to the fibreglass shovel that gave its life to spare mine...
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