Sep
30

Creating safer conditions for electrical workers and protecting equipment through safety by design

Electrical workers and facility owners rely on technical professionals to take prudent and economical steps towards increasing worker safety and protecting facility equipment. "Safety by design" describes, what I believe to be, a comprehensive approach to incorporating practical and feasible electrical distribution system design solutions. The three pillars of success for electrical safety include:

          1. Eliminating hazards by establishing electrically safe working conditions.
          2. Implementing designs that reduce the likelihood of a hazardous occurrence.
          3. Reducing the potential severity of injuries should an accident occur when justified energized work is required.

When the industry is focused on these three pillars, the result is safer conditions for electrical workers and better protected equipment.

Safety by design – A three-part approach

Every electrical product and system must be designed with worker and equipment safety in mind. The following section explores in more detail the safety by design approach and its three components.

Part 1 - Eliminate the hazard

Hazard elimination is the act of establishing an electrically safe working condition. The NFPA 70E (National Fire Protection Association) committee helped provide clarity around this topic by adding an informational note to the definition of an electrically safe work condition which reads as follows:

"An electrically safe work condition is not a procedure, it is a state wherein all hazardous electrical conductors or circuit parts to which a worker might be exposed are maintained in a de-energized state for the purpose of temporarily eliminating electrical hazards for the period of time for which the state is maintained."

Establishing an electrically safe working condition is critical. While de-energizing equipment is an important goal, a worker will always have to dress in appropriate personal protection equipment (PPE) and use a test instrument to verify absence of voltage. Lock-out/tag-out procedures have to be followed which can range from simple to complex. In fact, there can be situations (e.g., verifying absence of voltage) when there isn't PPE with a rating high enough to protect the worker. For those situations, system designs and solutions that minimize the likelihood of an occurrence and the severity of injury should an accident occur must be incorporated.

Part 2 - Designing for a reduction in the likelihood of occurrence

The following examples illustrate the many layers of safety that can be employed to reduce the likelihood of arc flash, arc blast and/or shock:

  • ELECTRICAL ONE-LINE DIAGRAMS: An important part of a facility's electrical infrastructure life begins even before ground is broken. This document is developed and used by engineers, suppliers, inspectors, workers and designers. Workers could be put at risk if one-line diagrams are not maintained and power system capabilities reviewed and updated as they change over time.
  • BARRIERS: Adding a local disconnect next to a panelboard or industrial control panel (ICP) that is accessed frequently for service provides electrical workers with clear visible indicators that the panel or ICP has been de-energized when the circuit breaker or switch is in the off position. When required absence of voltage testing is performed, the likelihood of an incident has been reduced.
  • DISCONNECTS: By placing a circuit breaker or fuse and switch in its own enclosure next to equipment, electrical workers have a readily accessible disconnect to remove voltage and establish an electrically safe working condition.
  • VISIBILITY: Equipping a panelboard with a window that allows workers to visibly see the blades being disconnected aids in worker verification reducing the likelihood of an incident.
  • INDICATORS: The presence of voltage indicators employed on equipment provides electrical workers a visible indication of which side of the disconnect is energized and which isn't.
  • KNOWLEDGE: Information on the condition and maintenance of equipment can provide electrical workers details that are critical to safety when performing justified energized work. Knowledge of the equipment itself is critical to recognizing hazards.
  • WORKING SPACE: Sometimes safety doesn't come in the form of a product, it can simply be in the fact that a design provides adequate working space for the electrical worker to safely perform functions.

Part 3 - Designing for a reduction in the severity of injuries

When justified energized work must occur, minimizing the danger associated with electrical hazards to the point at which injuries may be minor can be designed into the system. To that end, there are a variety of ways in which the electrical industry is making efforts to reduce the severity of injuries to workers should an accident occur.

  • DECREASED CLEARING TIME: By placing a circuit breaker with arc reduction maintenance switch technology or a fuse and switch in its own enclosure next to an upstream of electrical equipment likely to be a part of justified energized work, provides reduced clearing times for arcing currents reducing the level of incident energy exposure. The achieved incident energy reduction downstream can be significant such that minimal PPE is required which could also decrease the likelihood of an event occurring.
  • GFCI shock protection: GFCIs are specifically designed to protect people against electric shock from an electrical system, and to monitor the imbalance of current between the ungrounded (hot) and grounded (neutral) conductor of a given circuit.
  • IEEE 1584 and arc flash calculations: New updates to the 2018 Guide for Performing Arc Flash Calculations offer significant changes that impact the way arc flash hazards in electrical systems are analyzed. More precise calculations help reduce the risk to employees and contractors.
  • Arc reduction technologies: Arcing faults that occur within equipment need to be cleared as quickly as possible. Arc flash reduction technology reduces clearing times of arcing fault currents should a problem occur when working on energized electrical equipment. Arc Quenching equipment can extinguish an arc flash in approximately 4 milliseconds. Eaton's Arc Quenching Magnum DS low-voltage switchgear is a great example of such equipment.

"We must incorporate system designs and solutions that minimize the likelihood of an occurrence and the severity of injury should an accident occur."
Thomas Domitrovich, vice president, technical sales

A trio of documents critical to safety

The electrical industry looks to three key documents from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) that strategically work together to help increase safety for electrical workers by providing guidance and recommendations:

  • NFPA 70 The National Electrical Code (NEC) provides installation requirements
  • NFPA 70E-2021 covers the topic of electrical safety in the workplace
  • NFPA 70B covers electrical equipment maintenance

In particular, NFPA 70E includes requirements for safe work practices to protect personnel by reducing exposure to major electrical hazards, including shock, electrocution, arc flash and arc blast. These requirements rely on the fact that an electrical system was installed in accordance with the NEC and that maintenance has been performed leveraging reference materials found in NFPA 70B.

Recent changes to 70E highlight how important it is to design safety into systems and provide more detailed guidance for electrical workers. For example, the document addresses when the estimated incident energy exposure is greater than the arc rating of commercially available arc-rated PPE. We now have guidance for the purpose of absence of voltage testing. The following examples of risk reduction methods could be used to reduce the likelihood of occurrence of an arc flash, thus reducing the severity of exposure:

  • Use of non-contact proximity test instrument(s) or measurement of voltage on the secondary side of a low voltage transformer (VT) mounted in the equipment before use of a contact test instrument, to test for the absence of voltage below 1,000 volts
  • If equipment design allows, observe visible gaps between the equipment conductors and circuit parts and the electrical source(s) of supply
  • Increase the working distance
  • Consider system design options to reduce the incident energy level

In addition, the latest version of 70E recognizes the newly updated IEEE 1584, a resource that the industry will continue to explore and apply to new power system analysis studies.

P3 strives to bring you quality relevant industry related news.

See the original full article at: https://www.eaton.com/us/en-us/company/news-insights/for-safetys-sake-blog/protecting-workers.html

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Sep
18

Smart Tools that Simplify and Save Time for Busy Data Center Professionals

For many of today's data center professionals, it seems that everything is always happening at once – whether it be protecting a growing number of mission-critical applications, managing highly complex and heterogeneous environments, or evaluating the newest data center solutions.

Adding to this daily challenge of multi-tasking, most companies are now undergoing the process of digital transformation. This means that they are deploying more technology with the same resources and flat budgets. This combination of factors leaves data center teams with severely limited bandwidth to support their operations.

The data center administrators, networking specialists and data center managers I meet often need extra help in order to deal with their ever-widening scope of responsibilities. With that in mind, I'm sharing some free tools that were designed to simplify daily planning, product selection and education tasks, while ensuring smarter long-term data center builds.

Smart Tools for Busy Data Center Professionals

Many data center vendors provide tools for customers, but they are often difficult to learn and use. We at Schneider Electric took a different approach and offer customers certain tools aligned to their needs around procuring, implementing and supporting data center physical infrastructure solutions.

Below is a quick list of top tools to help choose, monitor and manage power, cooling, racks and environmental control devices:

Data Center Planning – Schneider Electric's Data Center Science Center team has built online TradeOff Tools to help you quickly experiment with "what if" scenarios to help with critical planning decisions like understanding the cost implications of deploying different power and cooling technologies. These TradeOff Tools are web-based, mobile-friendly and help data center operations quantify their decisions using data and science.
Research-based Designs – Choose from a library of tested, validated, and documented reference designs that enable data center professionals to determine key project parameters such as criticality, density, efficiency and budget. Recent enhancements to this library include greatly improved search, filtering and sorting functions, a reference design "details" page that simplifies information access and summarizes design benefits, and an easy-to-use CAPEX cost estimator. The information from the library can also be shared via social media. Once an approved reference design is chosen, it serves as a starting point for site-specific deployment. Reference designs make data center revitalization projects go more smoothly, cost less, and operate reliably over the long run.

Easy Product Selection – Several important product selector tools exist online to help save you time and money. These selectors cover UPSs, battery upgrades and rack PDU configurators. The UPS selector, for example, specifies the equipment you need to protect your IT assets and recommends the right product based on your specific needs. The selector determines the power draw of your equipment by asking you simple questions about your system and then querying an extensive database for the UPS that will provide the best fit. Also, check out our SketchFab tool which provides a 3D visual product overview to simplify decision making.

OnDemand Education – Our White Paper app provides users with convenient on and offline access to content, a robust search engine, and up-to-date research authored by our seasoned experts. Our APC blog provides thought leadership-based insights to keep readers up to date with the industry's fast-moving data center trends.

Start Using These Resources for Your Data Center Solutions

Data center teams are integral to the business impact their companies' make on customers. Their time is precious, and Schneider offers tools that can simplify their daily tasks. Where to begin? How about visiting our newly, redesigned data center product selector page and see how easy it is to find the right product for your business needs.

P3 strives to bring you quality relevant industry related news.

See the original full article at: https://blog.se.com/datacenter/2019/09/16/smart-tools-simplify-busy-data-center-professionals/

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Sep
10

NEC 2020 enhances four foundational elements of service entrance and surge protection

Short circuit current rating

The 2020 change

The new requirement parallels changes that affected power distribution blocks (PDBs) from the 2017 cycle, but now addresses other types of termination devices as well. The update has far-reaching implications for manufacturers. Effective January 1, 2023, pressure connectors and devices for splices and taps must be marked "suitable for use on the line side of the service equipment" or equivalent.


The rationale for change

The 2017 label change only accounted for one type of solution used in that application. The update now requires marking all termination types, including PDBs, pressure connectors and devices for splices and taps used in these locations, as suitable for use on the line side of service equipment to assure connectors are tested for given locations in the circuit.



What might the future hold?

Manufacturers currently don't build devices for use on the line side of service equipment, so manufacturers and standards developers must quickly bring solutions to market. The requirement's effective date offers manufacturers leeway to bring products up to speed.

"The changes passed enhance protection for persons and property at service entrance, potentially the most dangerous place in the power distribution system."
Thomas Domitrovich, Eaton vice president, technical sales

Safety disconnect (formerly the firefighter disconnect)

The 2020 change

Language now exists in Article 230.85 for emergency disconnects on the exterior of one- and two-family dwelling units so that first responders may quickly disconnect power to a structure. Language in Article 445.18 also addresses emergency generator shutdown.

The rationale for change

Aside from fire dangers, first responders often must account for electrical hazards during emergencies. Fires are chaotic, with firefighters rushing to ventilate buildings on rooftops, breaking through windows and opening walls in seconds. With that, there's a real danger of coming in contact with energized conductors and equipment.

Typically, first responders look to turn the power off before entering a blaze, but many homes' panelboards are in basements. Terminating power at the transformer, which could be atop a pole, is not something any untrained person should attempt. This change mandates placing emergency disconnects near the service entrance equipment outside of a structure. 

What might the future hold?

Concerns were raised during requirement debates that safety disconnects allow anyone to terminate the power to a home. The NEC's response was to allow the installation of disconnect locks to thwart unauthorized power access. While the locks will not impede firefighters or other first responders and may provide a level of comfort to the homeowner, contractors will still have to explain the expense of safety disconnects, especially in locations where it's not common practice to add outdoor service panelboards. When bidding on new jobs, technicians should stress the importance of safety to justify costs to consumers. 

Line side barriers and the six disconnect rule

The 2020 change

What many refer to as "the six disconnect rule" was modified per Article 230.71 such that service panelboards without a main and six or fewer disconnects will no longer be permitted. Hazards associated with six disconnects without a main in a service panelboard have always been a concern; 2017's changes in NEC Articles 110.16, 240.87, 240.67 and 408.3 during the 2017 review cycle furthered that awareness and inspired more change during the NEC 2020 development process.

The changes in the latest cycle provide options on leveraging up to six disconnects instead of a single main overcurrent protective device (OCPD), with a how-to section outlining four options:

  • Separate enclosures with a main service disconnect
  • Panelboards with a main service disconnect
  • Switchboards with only one service disconnect and barriers separating each vertical section
  • Service disconnects in switchgear/metering centers with disconnects located in separate compartments

In addition, line-side barrier requirements expanded to service equipment beyond panelboards and switchboards.

The rationale for change

Exposing hazards

The NEC changed Article 408.3 in 2017 to require barriers on service entrance panelboards, recognizing that adding line side barriers on panelboard service disconnects may not be possible with six disconnects used in the same panelboard. This decreased the likelihood of workers coming in contact with energized terminations on the line side of the main service OCPD or switch. However, one panelboard with six means of disconnect with no main circuit breaker results in electrical workers lacking the ability to apply barriers to the line side of each because the line side is a bus. The 2017 NEC update included an exception for these types of applications.

The 2017 Code focused on panelboards, switchboards and low voltage assembly solutions, but warranted an exception since technicians can't barrier the line side of six disconnects in a panelboard. Due to the new changes in 230.71, the NEC removed the exception in the 2020 update by including transfer switches, feasible disconnect switches and others with catch-all language. Now all equipment must have a barrier on the line side.

Better personal protection

NEC 2017 changed Article 110.16 to require marking service equipment with available fault current, clearing times and date of installation to help determine personal protective equipment (PPE). With six disconnects used in the same panel, six distinct clearing times must be labeled on the equipment. This update to what I believe is an obvious safety hazard has inspired electrical professionals to look at installations more closely. Since exposed energized buses in panelboards do not have upstream OCPDs, the NEC 2020 changes to labeling requirements raise awareness of hazards associated with six disconnects in the same enclosure.

Arc reduction

Arc reduction requirements have expanded during every review cycle since their introduction in 2011. While not for service equipment per se, this requirement is intended for any circuit breaker or fuse 1200 amps and higher and recognizes such applications are prone to high incident energy due to the longer clearing times of devices at these ampere levels.

By raising awareness of service entrance equipment hazards that lack upstream OCPDs, the changes help reduce the likelihood of exposure to an energized bus.

What might the future hold?

Aside from manufacturers creating new code-compliant products, technicians may need to review their designs against new requirements and will likely need to change the way they plan future projects. Some believe the changes could impact businesses financially. But I think resourceful contractors will find ways to meet the Code while becoming more cost-efficient.

"Technicians may need to review their designs against new requirements and will likely need to change the way they plan future projects."
Thomas Domitrovich, Eaton vice president, technical sales

Surge protection

The 2020 Change

The NEC recognizes in Article 90.1(A) that the purpose of the Code is the practical safeguarding of persons and property from hazards arising from the use of electricity. Updates to surge are twofold. First, Article 242, titled "Overvoltage Protection," does not add new requirements but rather consolidates surge requirements from around the NEC to bring attention to performance issues that align with circuit applications. Secondly, Article 230.67 now mandates services supplying dwelling units shall be provided with a surge protective device (SPD) as an integral part of equipment or located immediately adjacent, either Type 1 or Type 2 SPD.
The rationale for change

The surge requirement change is all about usability; the NEC has made the requirement easier to navigate and implement, which increases the likelihood of proper installation.

Protecting people is table stakes and a key driver for surge protection clarification and expansion. The requirements provide for life safety products like AFCIs, GFCIs, smoke detectors and other protection devices. But I could make an argument that the Code goes beyond life safety to include protection of property. Loss isn't always devastating; something as small a losing a TV or appliance to surge isn't life-threatening, but it is a nuisance. Insurance companies take the brunt of surge losses. While insurance companies don't often publish payout amounts due to proprietary information, my best guess is that it's millions of dollars. This, of course, results in higher insurance premiums paid by homeowners, something these requirement changes look to help prevent.

What might the future hold?

Not all surge devices are created equally. Devices feature different parameters, such as varied threshold voltages, but no performance-related requirement currently exists. I believe the NEC will push to mandate higher-quality products by establishing SPD performance requirements in the future.

Additionally, I feel the NEC should look to protect digital connections. For instance, we can protect the power supply for a TV, but surges also travel down data cables to cause damage. There's potential for the NEC to discuss this aspect of power protection as well.
Looking to the 2023 code review cycle

For years, the NEC has anticipated stronger protections for those who work on service equipment. With the updates passed by the NFPA, the Code enhances protections for workers and the equipment they service. As with any requirement update, feedback from professionals in the field is extraordinarily important. I look forward to seeing how technicians implement the new requirements so that we may refine the Code in 2023.

Further, I feel it's vital that everyone in the electrical field explore articles in their purview that could benefit from enhancement. Many 2020 updates were inspired by professionals who knew that more could be done to enhance safety, so I know the industry has the capacity to make proactive changes. With that, I encourage everyone in the industry to look to the requirements they know need improvement and start conversations now in preparation for the 2023 code review cycle.

Looking to the 2023 code review cycle

For years, the NEC has anticipated stronger protections for those who work on service equipment. With the updates passed by the NFPA, the Code enhances protections for workers and the equipment they service. As with any requirement update, feedback from professionals in the field is extraordinarily important. I look forward to seeing how technicians implement the new requirements so that we may refine the Code in 2023.

Further, I feel it's vital that everyone in the electrical field explore articles in their purview that could benefit from enhancement. Many 2020 updates were inspired by professionals who knew that more could be done to enhance safety, so I know the industry has the capacity to make proactive changes. With that, I encourage everyone in the industry to look to the requirements they know need improvement and start conversations now in preparation for the 2023 code review cycle.

 P3 strives to bring you quality relevant industry related news.

See the original full article at: https://www.eaton.com/us/en-us/company/news-insights/for-safetys-sake-blog/nec-2020-enhances-service-entrance-surge-protection.html

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Sep
09

Eaton transforms circuit protection with game-changing intelligence and connectivity to improve power system productivity and safety

  •  Innovative Eaton circuit protection provides highest level of metering accuracy available within a breaker and real-time monitoring, actionable facility insights
  • Advanced functionality allows fewer components, smaller assembly footprint

PITTSBURGH … Power management company Eaton today announced a leap in circuit protection technology with its new line of globally certified Power DefenseTM molded case circuit breakers. One percent metering accuracy, breaker health monitoring and integrated communications will help customers master power capabilities and safety systems that enable uninterrupted operations in a variety of applications, including commercial construction, data center and industrial projects.

By embedding protection, energy metering, intelligence and connectivity in a foundational electrical system component, Eaton goes beyond traditional circuit protection to provide deeper power system visibility and advanced predictive diagnostics

"Power Defense technology delivers never-before-available capabilities in a circuit breaker and gives customers expansive intelligence into the electrical system and their facility," said Rob Griffin, the global product line manager - molded case circuit breakers at Eaton. "We're building on Eaton's established leadership in circuit protection technologies to deliver industry-exclusive protection and monitoring capabilities that provide users with actionable data to drive more cost-effective operations and maintenance using less equipment."

Molded case circuit breakers provide vital functionality in nearly every low-voltage application around the world, protecting connected devices from overloads and short circuits. Now, in facilities that require hundreds of these devices, real-time data from the intelligent circuit breakers can be tracked and analyzed to prompt condition-based maintenance – an easier, faster and far more cost-effective way to maintain an electrical system than traditional methods. In the event of a fault, Power Defense circuit breakers are designed to provide visibility into where and why a fault occurred making it easier and faster to restore power, while giving the user critical information about the integrity of their power distribution system through a sophisticated breaker health algorithm.

Eaton Power Defense circuit breakers with Power Xpert® Release electronic trip units, leverage embedded communication capability to do the work previously required by multiple components, delivering critical information to analyze safety and system power dynamics. These capabilities are available in smaller, lower ampacity breakers than ever before, providing more granular information on connected systems and enabling greater uptime.

The globally accredited Power Defense platform meets key standards around the world, including applicable UL®, International Electrotechnical Committee (IEC), China Compulsory Certificate (CCC) and Canadian Standards Association (CSA).

To learn more, visit www.eaton.com/powerdefense.

P3 strives to bring you quality relevant industry related news.

See the original full article at: https://www.eaton.com/us/en-us/company/news-insights/news-releases/2019/eaton-transforms-circuit-protection-with-game-changing-intellige.html

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Sep
03

Introducing Schneider's New Monitoring & Dispatch Services!

APC by Schneider Electric introduces our newest Software & Digital Services offer, combining our newest cloud-based software, EcoStruxure IT and our best in class field service team. In one easy, factory warranty upgrade transactable sku, APC by Schneider Electric will provide your customer with:

• Cloud-enabled 24/7 Remote Monitoring & Technical Support
• Next Business Day Remediation

P3 strives to bring you quality relevant industry related news.


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