When servicing electrical equipment, OSHA and the NFPA 70E Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace both direct these qualified electrical workers to de-energize all live parts to which an employee may be exposed.
Thus, the worker is required perform a voltage verification test to validate the absence of voltage. This is a complex testing process that includes a number of stages that can be cumbersome and time-consuming when using hand-held portable test instruments.
Before the testing even beings, it’s important for the worker to think ahead and not be forced to stop work to fetch other tools or testers that might throw their focus and contribute to an electrical accident.
Electrical safety, in terms of tools, has been advancing for decades. Today, we have infrared thermometers, cameras, and windows as well as laser distance meters and non-contact voltage detectors.
Early non-contact tools, like low-voltage, proximity testers were (and still are) good for a first test for voltage, but they required follow up with a direct-contact meter.
In general, proximity testers are flawed in that they may not work in all situations, as their readings are thrown off by a number of specific circumstances.
Solenoid testers used to be a popular tool of choice, but when voltage drops below 90 volts, the tool wasn’t reliable in indicating that voltage is present.
Some solenoid units with indicator lights stop lighting up at about 30 volts, some are prone to wear and scarring leaving inabilities to see voltage and today, solenoid testers aren’t fused and don’t comply with CAT safety rating requirements.
After the solenoid tester came the multimeter, which is a good tool for making accurate contact measurements to identify live circuits. However, one of the most common mistakes workers make when using a multimeter is turning it to the wrong function (amps instead of volts).
Verifying the operation of the voltage tester itself is also a task that needs to be performed.
Before beginning the absence of voltage test, it’s important to check the test instrument to ensure it is working properly – this is known as the “live-dead-live” test, which is mandated by OSHA and is also required by the NFPA 70E when voltage is above 50 volts. The live-dead-live requirement was written into 70E in the 2009 update.
The VeriSafe™ Absence of Voltage Tester (AVT) from Panduit simplifies the testing process by automating the voltage verification process.
Voltage indicators are tools that can warn of hazardous voltage but cannot be used to confirm if the equipment is de-energized. The VeriSafe AVT is a permanently-mounted test device designed to verify that a circuit is de-energized prior to opening an electrical enclosure.
The idea for VeriSafe came as a product of Prevention through Design. In concept, it was designed to eliminate or avoid the electrical hazard.
With VeriSafe, the absence of voltage test is initiated with the push of a button; No additional tools required. The simplified process of automating for voltage verification is here.
More facilities are implementing advanced safety-first systems that remove doubt, reduce the chances of human error and boost worker productivity.
Just as the modern facility has advanced, so too has test technology that verifies the absence of voltage.
Learn more about Panduit absence of voltage testers here: https://www.panduit.com/en/products/safety-security/active-safety-devices/absence-of-voltage-testers.html