Jan
29

Job Safety Planning and the 2018 NFPA 70E

A properly designed and executed job safety plan gives workers a practical tool to help ensure they make it home safely every day.

Planning for safety isn’t new to the electrical trade. Guidelines to conduct a job hazard analysis (JHA) for each individual job were first published by OSHA in 1989, and have since been regularly revised. However, complying with the 2018 edition of NFPA 70E “Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace” requires the completion of an in-depth “job safety plan,” probably in more detail than what most employers and electrical workers may conduct today.

Job Safety Planning 1
Job safety planning requires inspection of this transfer switch prior to performing maintenance. In addition to recording information from the arc flash warning label, the worker inspects the condition of the equipment to ensure it is suitable for normal operation.

Some workplaces use generic forms, often referred to as a job safety analysis (JSA), for identifying hazards and determining methods to mitigate those hazards. Whether referred to as a JSA, JHA, or other company-specific term, the objective is the same: Provide a structured method for workers to recognize hazards and identify the choices they will make to protect themselves from those hazards.

New NFPA 70E requirements

The 2018 edition of NFPA 70E contains new requirements for the worker to analyze the critical steps of the electrical job, assess the electrical hazards associated with those steps, and then determine how they will protect themselves. Prior to this edition of the standard, there was no requirement for workers to perform such a detailed risk assessment. This new requirement for a job safety plan must also be reviewed as part of the required job briefing. Should a change in work scope occur during the course of the job, the job safety plan must be revised as needed, and an additional job briefing must occur to reflect any change. Remember, the purpose of the job safety plan is to have the qualified electrical worker review each step of the job they are to perform, determine how safe it is to perform that particular task, and what actions are needed to ensure they will be protected.

OSHA Part 1926 “Safety and Health Regulations for Construction” requires the person in charge of the job to conduct a job briefing. Rules for job briefings have appeared in NFPA 70E since 1995. However, there is no reasonable assurance that the properly conducted job briefing itself will identify all electrical hazards. To ensure hazards are properly addressed, the job safety plan requires:

  • The employee in charge, who must also be a “qualified person,” is responsible to complete the job safety plan and job briefing.
  • The job safety plan must be documented.
  • The plan must include both a “shock risk assessment” and an “arc flash risk assessment.”
  • The plan must identify work procedures involved, special precautions to be taken, and the energy source controls for the equipment undergoing work.

Both shock risk assessments and arc flash risk assessments require the electrical hazards be identified and the likelihood of the occurrence and potential severity of any potential injury be considered. Once this information regarding the hazards is identified, any specific protective measures needed are determined. As expected, the assessments must be documented.

Completing the job safety plan

NFPA 70E doesn’t specify an exact type of job safety plan form be used for documentation. It is expected that companies will review and modify (as applicable) their own JSA, JHA, or similar documents used to plan work. The key points of the document is that each critical step of the job is analyzed for electrical hazards, and logical decisions are made to protect workers based on items such as use of work procedures, PPE, or other special precautions. In some cases, it may be identified that a particular step may not be completed safely at all, and other means, such as lockout/tagout must be used.

Informative Annex F Risk Assessment and Risk Control has been expanded for the 2018 edition of NFPA 70E to help companies and workers with the process of risk assessment. While different methods of job safety planning are mentioned, the concept of using a “risk assessment matrix” is typical for many organizations. A basic example of such a matrix is provided in the Annex. For a risk assessment matrix that assigns a risk code to each critical step see the Sample Risk Code Matrix.

Drawbacks

Workers who do not normally complete such detailed job safety plans may object to the complexity of the new requirements. It can be argued that determining the likelihood of an occurrence, or the potential severity of an injury, is subjective. Routine tasks are just that — routine, and should not require any special planning.

There is always a learning curve to any new process. Job safety plans can be streamlined for many jobs. Individual work steps should already be incorporated as part of a standard work or maintenance procedure. But when it comes to routine work, warning flags should go up. Human performance studies indicate such work can be more dangerous than tasks performed less often.

There’s a reason for proper job safety planning. Electrical accidents may not occur as often as other types of incidents, but they have much higher fatality rates. They typically happen in a fraction of a second, and the results can be disabling injuries/fatalities. Thinking about the job to be performed, what could go wrong, and how to best protect oneself before the job begins are effective methods of reducing risks to workers.

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See the origial article at: http://www.ecmweb.com/safety/job-safety-planning-and-2018-nfpa-70e

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Jan
22

Grid-edge technologies vulnerable to cyber threats

solar tech

  • Advanced Energy Economy Institute (AEE Institute) has issued a new report focused on cybersecurity challenges on a distributed grid, identifying key hurdles and best practices the group says state and federal policy makers will need to address to ensure a secure power system.
  • Among the recommendations is the development of a short list of "mandatory and standardized requirements" that could be implemented at little to no expense, and for cybersecurity to be embedded as part of standard security practices impacting manufacturers.
  • The utility industry has stepped up its focus on cybersecurity in recent years as threats have become more sophisticated and persistent. This month, two new widespread cybersecurity vulnerabilities have been identified, with solar inverters in particular at possible risk.

Securing the electric grid is a complicated challenge that becomes even more difficult as more resources are connected and the system becomes increasingly reliant on flows of data.

Lisa Frantzis, a senior vice president at Advanced Energy Economy, said the industry must prepare for "new vulnerabilities" as the grid evolves.

“As we transition to more advanced and intelligent technologies that improve our energy system and benefit customers, we must take into account and prepare for new vulnerabilities to the security of our nation’s energy infrastructure,” Frantzis said in a statement announcing the new report.

The paper focuses on several areas, including: cybersecurity threats to the economy and energy sector; best practices for a distributed, intelligent grid; cybersecurity policy and regulatory frameworks at the state and national level; and protective measures and protocols for grid operators.

According to the report, cybersecurity for grid-edge devices creates new challenges, in part due to their limited capabilities. Such devices are "high in number and limited in bandwidth, memory, and storage space," the report notes. "As a result, standard industry solutions for other technology areas such as malware protection, file integrity monitoring, firewalls, and whitelisting, have not been viable for edge devices."

Network infrastructure has also had similar limitations, AEE added. Kenneth Lotterhos, managing director of energy at Navigant Consulting, said in a statement that recent events show that the level of cyber threats is "increasing and targeting a broader range of assets, including advanced distributed energy technologies and smart grid applications."

Specialized applications for edge devices and critical network infrastructure have been developed in the past, the report notes, "but they have not been widely adopted." While some of that has been related to cost and complexity, AEE Institute also says that until recently there has been a perception that the threat was relatively low.

That perception has changed significantly in recent years, and cybersecurity is now a major focus of the industry.

A 2015 attack on Ukraine resulted in widespread power outages, serving as a wakeup call. Last summer, cybersecurity firm Dragos issued a report concluding the malware used in that attack could be modified by developers to target the United States.

The newest vulnerabilities identified, possibly impacting solar inverters, are known as Spectre and Meltdown, and leverage processing techniques known as speculative execution and caching, in order to access data that should be off limits.

One problem thus far, however, is that patches to address the vulnerability are significantly slowing down operating systems. The features Spectre and Meltdown attack were created to speed up computer processors, and plugging the leak has resulted in performance slowdowns of up to 30%.

P3 strives to bring you quality relevant industry related news.

See the origial article at: https://www.utilitydive.com/news/aee-grid-edge-technologies-vulnerable-to-cyber-threats/515138/

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Jan
15

Learn What's Next in Electrical Safety

electrical safety

Experts Hugh Hoagland and Lanny Floyd will share their insights on the future of electrical safety contained in NFPA 70E, NESC, IEEE 1584, IEC, NEC, and the ASTM Arc Flash Test Methods in a free OH&S webinar on Jan. 24. They'll reveal the future of electrical PPE, Safety-by-Design, Human Performance Factors, Risk Control Measures, and Continuous Improvement Models in a one-hour webinar Jan. 24.

Two electrical safety experts, Hugh Hoagland and Lanny Floyd, will share their insights on the future of electrical safety that's already contained in NFPA 70E, NESC, IEEE 1584, IEC, NEC and the ASTM Arc Flash Test Methods in a free OH&S webinar on Jan. 24. They'll reveal the future of electrical PPE, Safety-by-Design, Human Performance Factors, Risk Control Measures, and Continuous Improvement Models in this one-hour webinar starting at 2 p.m Eastern time.

Visit this page to register for their webinar, titled "The Future of Electrical Safety." >

Hoagland is one of the most active trainers and researchers in electric arc protection. His NFPA 70E and OSHA 1910.269/NESC Training Programs are used by many Fortune 500 companies and governmental agencies including Alcoa, GM, Toyota, Bechtel, DOE, and hundreds of electric utilities. He has performed and developed testing (by original research and participation in ASTM, NFPA, ANSI, CSA, IEC and ISO standards groups) for the electric arc since 1994 and has performed more than 50,000 electric arc tests.

H. Landis "Lanny" Floyd, PE, CSP, CESCP, CMRP, CRL, Life Fellow IEEE, joined DuPont in 1969 and retired at the end of 2014 as Principal Consultant - Electrical Safety & Technology and Global Electrical Safety Competency Leader. The last 30 years of his DuPont career focused on electrical safety in construction, operation and maintenance of DuPont facilities worldwide. He had responsibility for improving management systems, competency renewal, work practices, and application of technologies critical to electrical safety performance in all DuPont operations. He has authored or co-authored more than 70 papers and articles and has given more than 150 presentations at conferences, seminars, and webcasts in his work to advance the practice of electrical safety, as well as providing technical leadership in development of codes and standards, including the National Electrical Code, the Canadian Electrical Code, NFPA 70E Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace, CSA Z462 Workplace Electrical Safety, and IEEE 902 Guide for Maintenance, Operation and Safety of Industrial and Commercial Power Systems. In 2013, he joined the faculty of the Advanced Safety engineering and Management program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where he developed and teaches a graduate engineering course in Electrical Systems Safety.

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See the origial article at: https://ohsonline.com/portals/electrical-safety.aspx

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Jan
08

Final Tax Legislation Will Benefit the Construction Industry

tax reform Nerthuz iStock Thinkstock 887564224 0

Final measure included a number of key improvements after the AGC waged an aggressive education and outreach effort targeting key members of congress

Stephen E. Sandherr, the CEO of the Associated General Contractors of America, recently released the following statement regarding final passage of federal tax reform:

"Today, Congress passed comprehensive tax reform legislation that will lower rates, spur economic growth and impact construction businesses for years to come. However, this process did not start as well as it ended for the construction industry.

"Initially, the tax reform bill provided little relief for many construction firms organized as pass-throughs, such as S-corps, limited liability corporations and partnerships; eliminated Private Activity Bonds, essential to the financing of transportation infrastructure, low-income housing and other public construction and public-private partnership projects; and repealed the Historic Tax Credit, critical to the private construction market for the rehabilitation and renovation of historic buildings.

"AGC continued to fight for a better outcome for the construction industry by undertaking a rigorous direct lobbying campaign. Our efforts included connecting construction company CFOs and CPAs with tax writers, and generating thousands of pro-construction messages from members to key legislators. Our efforts helped convince members of Congress to ultimately reduce the corporate rate by 14 points; lower individual and pass through rates; double the estate and gift tax exclusion to $11 million; ensure the tax-exempt status of Private Activity Bonds remained untouched; and prevent full repeal of the Historic Tax Credit.

"That stated, there is still much work to be done in our nation's capital in the New Year. Though Congress missed an opportunity to address the long-term solvency of the Highway Trust Fund via tax reform, we remain focused on ensuring that this administration keeps its promise to rebuild the nation's infrastructure. And, we are committed to efforts to modernize multiemployer pension plans for the future, among other priorities for the industry.

 

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See the origial article at: http://www.ecmweb.com/construction/final-tax-legislation-will-benefit-construction-industry

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Jan
04

5 things to watch in energy in 2018

There will be no shortage of stories to follow in the energy sector in the coming year

An important year in the energy sector lies ahead, with pipeline disputes, OPEC trying to keep a grip on oil prices and a lot of U.S. natural gas about to flood the market. While many stories will be unfolding in the coming months, here are five that are sure to be making headlines.

Fuel prices

producer prices
Consumers can expect to pay more to fill up in 2018. Rising gasoline prices will be one of the energy sector stories making headlines next year.

Consumers can expect to pay more to fill up in 2018, according to Dan McTeague, senior petroleum analyst at GasBuddy.com.

McTeague anticipates gasoline prices will rise in the second half of the year as the U.S. economy strengthens and demand spikes. It's likely, he says, Canadians will see, on average, about a five-cent-per-litre increase in 2018 versus averages in 2017.

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National clean fuels strategy will affect all forms of fuels in Canada

"The whole issue of demand in the United States continues to drive prices up for Canadians, whether we like it or not," he says. "We are price takers, not price makers."

A strengthening U.S. dollar and provincial carbon taxes may also add to the pump price.

Pipelines

transcanada keystone decision 20171120
Pipelines will continue to be a lightning rod for protesters in 2018.

Don't expect an end to the pipeline drama as three major energy infrastructure projects remain in the spotlight in 2018: Trans Mountain, Keystone XL and Line 3.

Pipeline supporters, including Alberta's NDP government, believe the multibillion-dollar projects are needed to ease a transportation squeeze resulting from growing production and limited shipping options. It's one factor in why Canadian heavy oil sells at a discount to U.S. crude. New pipe would help.
TransCanada Keystone Decision 20171120

Pipelines will continue to be a lightning rod for protesters in 2018. (Nati Harnik/Canadian Press)

But opponents — whether they are jurisdictions, environmentalists or indigenous groups — remain determined to stop the pipelines. Their concerns are often both intensely local, like the direct impact on the landscape, and also part of the broader climate change issue.

Despite controversy, observers expect progress on Line 3 and Trans Mountain in the coming year. TransCanada expects to secure final federal U.S. permits for Keystone XL in early 2018.

Meanwhile, Canadian natural gas producers will be watching what happens next year when new pipelines start to move a lot more Appalachian gas out of Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio and into the continental market.

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Pipeline bottlenecks push Canadian oil price to deepest discount in 4 years

"So it's just a question as to how quickly some of that gas will come on, and what it will do to gas prices," said Samir Kayande, director at industry research firm RS Energy Group in Calgary.

"It is just a tremendous success story from a productivity standpoint — and it's frankly a disaster from a gas market standpoint, because it's a lot of cheap gas that's hitting the market," he said.

OPEC

austria opec
OPEC agreed to extend production cuts through 2018, but the cartel will evaluate market conditions at its June 2018 meeting.

OPEC and its non-OPEC allies, including Russia, surprised observers last year when they agreed to oil production cuts — and then stuck to them. With time running out on the pact, they agreed in the fall to maintain the cuts for all of 2018.
AUSTRIA OPEC

OPEC agreed to extend production cuts through 2018, but the cartel will evaluate market conditions at its June 2018 meeting. (Akos Stiller/Bloomberg)

The agreement is aimed at drawing down the surplus oil inventories that have dampened crude prices.

"We have seen very good compliance numbers from the OPEC members as well as Russia," said Dinara Millington, vice-president of research at the Canadian Energy Research Institute. "Whether that will hold or not remains to be seen."

OPEC agrees to extend oil production cut into next year
OPEC says winning battle to end oil glut

The cartel will reassess target production levels according to market conditions at their June 2018 meeting. In the meantime, OPEC and others will be watching to see if their efforts will be undermined by oil production increases from U.S. shale.

U.S. shale

usa shale permian
One of the big questions in 2018 is how much shale oil will the U.S. produce.

What will U.S. shale producers do in 2018? The answer is critical, and even the most informed prognosticators at OPEC and the International Energy Agency (IEA) can't agree on what will happen.
USA-SHALE/PERMIAN

One of the big questions in 2018 is how much shale oil will the U.S. produce. (Ernest Scheyder/Reuters)

Prolific shale production has reshaped the energy landscape in recent years. It's also a vital component of U.S. President Donald Trump's "America First" energy plan, with the potential to turn the world's largest oil-consuming nation into a net exporter of oil by the middle of the next decade.

But the more pressing issue is whether there's a big wave of shale production coming next year.

West Texas oil boom threatens recovery in Canadian oilpatch​​
Don't write oil's 'obituary,' IEA says in long-term demand forecast

OPEC doesn't think it will be big enough to harm the cartel's efforts to erase the oil glut. The IEA, meanwhile, thinks U.S. crude production will be strong and keep the overhang in place.

"The big macro question in this industry right now, on the liquids side, is which one of those is the right one," said Ian Nieboer, also of RS Energy Group. "Both can't be [right]."

Renewable energy

solar panels
Experts expect more advances in solar panel development in 2018.

No discussion about energy in 2018 can ignore the role of renewables.
solar panels

Experts expect more advances in solar panel development in 2018. (Robert Jones/CBC)

"This is a sector that's growing faster than any of the other energy sectors out there," says Warren Mabee, Canada research chair in renewable energy development and implementation at Queen`s University in Kingston, Ont.

"It's going to continue moving forward."

Decisions made this year will ring into 2018, including fallout from B.C.'s decision to proceed with the Site C hydroelectric dam, and Alberta's aggressive plan to build 600 megawatts of new wind generation by 2019.

Canada must reduce emissions from oilsands to meet climate goals: OECD report
Record cheap electricity is transforming world energy markets as Canada struggles to keep up

But Mabee is also looking for 2018 to provide key advances in solar panel development as the industry inches closer to grid parity — the point at which it might be cheaper for people to generate electrons on their roof than to buy electrons from a utility.

"It might not happen next year, but we're moving closer and closer," he said. "That's going to be a hugely disruptive moment in the Canadian power industry."

 

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See the origial article at: http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/energy-year-lookahead-1.4456819

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