One-Step Automation to Supersede Multiple Manual Tests

Machine-driven outages at the factory are an expensive spanner in the works, so planned maintenance shutdown is critical in limiting machine glitches and production downtime. But in practice, equipment servicing isn’t always as frequently or regularly scheduled as desired. Why? Because planned servicing can be very resource taxing to the business.

Turnaround maintenance is highly orchestrated endeavor, as different internal teams, third-party technicians and contractors work concurrently on multiple machines for diverse servicing. An incident at any point in the operation can significantly impact turnaround cost, speed and safety.

Factory owners and operators will be pleased to know that machine maintenance just got easier. Panduit’s new VeriSafe absence of voltage tester (AVT) is bringing NFPA 70E-compliant automated testing and verification of energy discharge for lockout safety – to supersede the lengthy and complex manual tests – in as little as 10 seconds, and at no risk to the user.

5 Reasons Why VeriSafe Automatically Supersedes the Manual Process

1. Standardized and consistent testing
Manual testing is conducted on handheld tools, such as non-contact voltage tester for the first test, a digital, non-solenoid, electrical tester for the second test and a multi-meter with a low-impedance for live-dead-live test, and results can vary depending which tool the electrician chooses, his familiarity with its use, whether the tool is correctly used, and what is its state of maintenance and calibration as the time of use.

VeriSafe however, is permanently mounted on the electrical enclosure of the machine and will consistently run the standardized test sequence when activated – which automatically verifies the phase conductor or circuit part for both phase-to-phase and phase-to-ground, as well as check for both AC and DC voltage as a standard.

2. No exposure to electrical hazards
On the handheld process, the electrician can only know if energy discharge is successful after opening the electrical enclosure and going through the respective tests in exacting steps. But that means putting himself at risk of an arc flash upon opening of the enclosure, if the level of voltage present is still sufficiently high.

VeriSafe has provisions to ensure direct contact with the circuit at time of testing, while preventing hazardous voltage from reaching the mounted surface by way of an isolation module. Because the push button sits at the outside of the enclosure, the user will not be exposed to electrical hazards when activating the process.

3. Easy testing in difficult-to-access locations
It is cumbersome and time-consuming for electricians to test for absence of voltage in hard-to-reach enclosures, or in crowded or complex layouts that make using handhelds difficult. VeriSafe’s flexibility for different mounting and testing/detection applications makes it much easier to work in the tightest of spaces – which is also a significant advantage in shop floor design, as having more compliant options for placing capital assets means facility layout can be made more efficient.

4. Streamlined and simplified testing
The manual verification process is complicated, including different steps and checks within the general process to:

1. Select the tester
2. Test the tester
3. Check for voltage
4. Retest the tester
5. Perform work

VeriSafe begins with a simple activation and ends with the green light to open the panel, as the middle steps are completely automated based on the recommendations of NFPA 70E.

5. Error-less process
The problem with manual testing is the potential for errors that ranges the gamut, from human oversights and mistakes, to instrumentation fault, to possible missteps or omissions in the testing sequence, and more. Such is the over reliance on the electrician’s experience and skill to complete the job, which cannot be a comforting thought for the said worker, the maintenance staff, or the company.

VeriSafe’s automated process and single step activation are standardized to avoid missteps in execution and sequence. It is further constructed to resist factors that could affect its accuracy and functionality – such as mechanical or electrical failures from wear, mechanical shock and environmental extremes.

Safer Absence of Voltage Testing Begins with Simplicity

VeriSafe – Absence of Voltage Tester

There’s an interesting new exception in the 2018 edition of the tri-yearly NFPA 70E Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace for the use of an Absence of Voltage Tester (AVT) in place of handheld instruments.

In Asia Pacific, NFPA is the commonly referenced standard for mitigating electrical hazards in lock-out/tag-out (LOTO) practices. This exception opens plants and factories in the region to new opportunities in improving safety programs and planned maintenance efficiency.

Here’s why.

In factory machine servicing, the LOTO guidelines protect maintenance staff from electrical hazards, by mandating that an electrical professional first verify the absence of voltage, before maintenance, service or inspection work can begin. However, the guidelines don’t articulate the removal of the hazard, only in transferring the risk from the maintenance staff to the electrician.

This is not an ideal workaround, as no one knows if the energy discharge has been successful without first opening the electrical enclosure for tests. As such, the risk of the electrician getting a painful electrical shock or even dangerous arc flash, remains.

The beauty of an AVT then, is in how it overcomes the dilemma.

INTRODUCING AVT FOR SIMPLICITY
Panduit has recently released the first full-featured AVT product to general availability, and it is game-changing in its innovative approach to an old problem.

Called VeriSafe, the SIL rated, NFPA 70E-2018 120.5 (7) Exception 1 compliant AVT is permanently installed on the electrical enclosure of the equipment that it is testing for. Sitting on the panel door between the circuit and the outside of the enclosure, the self-contained unit consists of a testing and isolation component on the inside of the door, and a push button that faces externally.

The user pushes the button to activate the device, which runs an automated sequence of in-built pre-/post-verification tests, such as phase-to-phase and phase-to-ground testing for AC and DC voltage – to arrive at an active indication in as quickly as ten seconds!

What’s more, VeriSafe ships with a connectivity option as a standard. This allows smart facilities that run software management systems to draw essential logs and alerts from a connected VeriSafe device in real-time.

THE VERISAFE IMPACT
To plants and factories, safety pays. Electrical injuries can account for one of the highest average workers’ compensation costs, second only to motor vehicle accidents. Although estimates vary, studies indicate the average direct cost of an electrical injury ranges US$50,000 to $80,000, while indirect cost can exceed these numbers by a factor of nearly four, to include:

• Wages paid during work stoppage
• Administrative costs related to injury
• Property damage and repair
• Training and compensation for replacement workers
• Lost productivity with less experienced workers
• Lost productivity from low staff morale
• Fines related to workplace safety violations
• Potential increase in absenteeism

Because VeriSafe diffuses electrical risks right at the start, every potential incident avoided can translate to massive savings from side stepping a string of personal injury, and property and equipment damage costs.

VeriSafe also makes the absence of voltage testing more accurate and far less risky than the manual process – as its standardized, compliant and automated approach leaves little room for error on an effectively reduced workflow. With VeriSafe AVT installed in all high-risk machinery, large-scale facility lifecycle management activities can experience a cumulation of cost and time savings, to significantly benefit high-pressure events, such as a maintenance turnaround.

For more information, please visit www.panduit.com/verisafe

How Capturing Near Misses Can Put Facility Safety Managers Ahead of the Game

What is good safety practice today? Recording near misses.

The generally-accepted definition of a near miss is: “An unplanned event that did not result in injury, illness or damage – but had the potential to do so.” In terms of smart business choices, it’s important for company leadership to establish a near miss reporting culture. This kind of safety culture will, in time and in practice, reinforce the opportunity to identify hazards. And, when the hazards are known, action can be taken to mitigate them.

Encouraging employees to participate in recording near miss events doesn’t have to be a challenge. If the practice of making these records comes without blame or negative consequences, then employees are more likely to report. It’s common for employees to be cautious or even afraid to report near misses. Either they may not want to admit a mistake in following safety procedures or they may believe they could be mistakenly accused of some wrongdoing. To have an effective near-miss reporting program, the stigma of blame should be eliminated.

For a near-miss reporting structure to work well, employers need to create a safety culture and a comfortable atmosphere. The goal is to make employees so comfortable with the process that they will report electrical near misses nearly as freely as they might report that a hallway needs to be cleaned or that a hazard sign needs to be replaced.

For a safety manager to keep ahead of the game, it’s important to understand that near misses can lead to the identification of a hazard. Ultimately, identifying a near miss also allows the root cause to be determined. Once this is identified, corrective action or mitigation steps can be taken to prevent any additional incidents from occurring. This results in avoiding potentially serious injuries and disruptions to operations.

Near misses are common and many consider to be underreported within industry. They also occur with relative frequency in handheld voltage testing, which should further urge a safety manager to create a way to capture the near miss incidents. If knowledge is power, then learning from experience is even more powerful. In a case from the 1997 paper, “Personnel Safety and Plant Reliability Considerations in the Selection and Use of Voltage Test Instruments,” an error in reading the digital display of a multimeter was noted. As the case details: An electrician familiar with an analog multimeter was given a new digital multimeter. When he encountered an over range condition on a voltage measurement application, he interpreted an “OL,” or over-range, indication to mean “zero,” or no voltage present. This misunderstanding of the instrument indication could have resulted in a serious, perhaps fatal, accident.

This near miss demonstrates the importance of managing tools used to carry out a particular task. Facility and safety management should work together to develop a system to manage selection, purchase, training, maintenance, and operation of all safety and test instruments used in the workplace.”

In the 2018 paper, Electrical Investigations: Case Studies, Common Electrical Safety Mistakes, and Lessons Learned , an incident is recalled whereby improper tool usage proves a weakness in relying on portable voltage testers. This case study reveals that an electrician was removing a fluorescent ceiling light fixture and was asked if he had de-energized the circuit. The electrician indicated that he had used his non-contact voltage probe instead of a digital multimeter. The electrician was asked if the voltage probe he was using had feedback to the user to indicate that the battery was good. He indicated no but added that he had replaced the batteries that morning. The voltage probe indicated that the light fixture was de-energized, but when the electrician began removing the fixture he experienced a shock. An investigator that was on site at the time asked him to check the voltage again with a digital multimeter, which confirmed that the circuit was still energized.

Again, these examples indicate the importance of selecting the right tool for the job. A dedicated voltage tester, like an AVT, can eliminate these types of process failure modes by providing a simplified output with a dedicated indicator.

How To Optimize the Maintenance Budget and Reduce Unplanned Downtime

Over time, wear and tear accumulates on electrical equipment and that can lead to unplanned downtime. And, we all know that downtime is waste.

We can safely assume that the major benefits of preventative maintenance are about reducing planned and unplanned downtime, but optimizing a maintenance budget may include this one simple trick: Save time by automating tedious processes or work to make them more efficient.

When electrical maintenance needs to happen, NFPA 70E requires that workers establish and verify equipment is in an electrically safe state. This involves a test for absence of voltage, which – with handheld portable testers, is time-consuming.

The VeriSafe™ Absence of Voltage Tester (AVT) ensures the entire process of verifying absence of voltage is performed in the proper sequence every time. The process performed by the VeriSafe AVT tests the tester itself, verifies installation, checks for voltage, and retests the tester and installation; at the push of a button with no risk of exposure to electrical hazards.

With Panduit’s new VeriSafe AVT, testing for absence of voltage is now safer, easier, and more efficient . The VeriSafe AVT helps the maintenance budget in that it enables employees to verify an electrically safe work condition in a fraction of the time compared to using hand-held portable test instruments. When the maintenance budget is already spread thin, every little bit helps. And, when employees are able to move from job to job and task to task with confidence in their own safety, their time is better spent.

Optimizing a maintenance budget boils down to putting a priority on planning (and planning ahead). Planning for safety is an important first step in maintenance modernization. And, when safety matters, the VeriSafe AVT ensures the entire absence of voltage verification process is performed with reliable results every test, every time.

Smart Business 2018: Prioritizing Electrical Safety for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals

These days, smart businesses prioritize electrical safety. To maximize the benefit of electrical safety with regard to maintenance and reliability in the plant, it’s important to consider the allocation of resources.

When it comes to equipment maintenance, choose reliability over risk. Neglecting the maintenance of electrical equipment and wiring can lead to non-compliance with installation codes and practices, but it can also increase the probability of workplace injury.

Today, the smart business choice is to lean into safety.

It can be said that electrical professionals may be knowledgeable about electrical technology and how electrical equipment functions, but they may not be seasoned experts in safety management and maintenance and reliability systems. And, maintenance and reliability professionals may be highly skilled in understanding and implementing functional equipment, but they may not be familiar with safety management or the facility’s electrical systems.

A facility’s senior management may not have deep expertise in either of these areas, but they do hold the key to financial resources and human resources that can solve for issues of importance, like electrical safety. Therefore, their collective skills and responsibilities can create facility-wide collaboration to improve both the electrical safety program and the electrical system maintenance with an eye on uptime.

Smart businesses also put a significant emphasis on eliminating energized work, whenever possible. This means placing equipment in an electrically safe working condition and verifying that equipment is deenergized must be a primary focus of the electrical safety program.

Lockout/tagout is a critical step in verifying the absence of voltage

Every step to verify the absence of voltage is purposefully designed to serve as a critical safety step.

Eliminating a hazard is the most effective method according to the hierarchy of risk controls, and should be the first choice whenever possible. NFPA 70E emphasizes the need to work on electrical systems only when they are placed in an electrically safe working condition, but creating and verifying this condition requires more than just de-energizing, as it involves multiple steps to confirm the system is safe and verify the absence of voltage.

Though the entire testing process may seem complex, every step is purposefully designed to serve as a critical safety step, making it impossible to skip testing steps and still attain an electrically safe working condition.

Absence-of-voltage testers (AVTs) are permanently-mounted testing devices that are specifically designed to determine if a circuit part is de-­energized prior to opening panels or removing covers to access and maintain electrical equipment.

AVTs are a new product listing category in UL 1436, Standard for Outlet Circuit Testers. They are designed to automatically run internal diagnostics and administer the live-dead-live type of verification testing with an internal known voltage source and actively indicate the absence of voltage.

AVTs help improve electrical safety by way of a Prevention through Design approach, making them an ideal option for maintenance and reliability professionals and their staff.

Achieving New Goals: Maximize Uptime With an Enhanced Electrical Safety Program

Downtime is a killer to the bottom line. Whether planned or unplanned, downtime idles the workforce, slows production numbers, and can create downstream effects that may cause major disruptions to the supply chain.

How does the electrical safety program in your facility maximize uptime?

First, it’s important to bear in mind that although scheduled maintenance will create some amount of downtime, when maintenance is planned downtime can be minimized. Planned maintenance allows adequate time for pre-work safety assessments to be completed without the stressful time pressures that are commonly associated with unplanned downtime.

Taking time to plan for maintenance work creates opportunities to identify hazards, perform risk assessments, incorporate any mitigation techniques, review procedures and areas where training may need to be refreshed, and think about emergency response before work is underway. Thoroughly planning the work from start to end, as well as to complete any prerequisite job briefings and communicating planned actions to affected individuals, helps ensure the work goes safely and smoothly. Uptime is effectively maximized because safety inevitably achieves a decrease in incidents and thus scheduled work and production work can continue unabated.

Manufacturing facility floorplan

How does the electrical safety program in your facility maximize uptime?

In industrial facilities, it’s also important to remember that maintaining electrical equipment is fundamental to optimizing equipment performance that will prevent unplanned downtime. Reliability and safety are closely linked. In terms of electrical safety, reliable equipment requires less maintenance. Because reliable equipment is not being accessed as frequently, there are fewer occasions for workers to be exposed to hazards.

Panduit’s new VeriSafe Absence of Voltage Tester (AVT) can be used as a method of testing and verifying the absence of voltage once equipment has been de-energized. This product utilizes technology that reduces procedure testing time and reduces complexity in a way that improves productivity and maximizes uptime. In addition, because it is installed and mounted permanently on the outside of electrical equipment, it reduces the risk of exposure to electrical hazards for improved worker safety.

A New Approach to an Old Problem

An installed VeriSafe - Absence of Voltage Tester in an electrical enclosure.

The shortcomings of permanently installed voltage indicators led Panduit to create a new and innovative product: the VeriSafe – Absence of Voltage Tester.

The Absence of Voltage Tester (AVT) is a relatively new innovation. As we see it, it’s a new approach to an old problem.

Unlike traditional voltage testers, the AVT is not portable. It is installed in the equipment it is testing. An AVT can be used to determine if and when a circuit part is de-energized prior to opening doors and removing covers from electrical equipment. An AVT will automate the functions of handheld voltage testers for this specific task and will display information about the status of voltage inside equipment without exposure to electrical hazards.

AVTs are entirely different in function, and far more comprehensive than voltage indicators. Although they are both permanently mounted devices, voltage indicators merely provide a visual representation when voltage is present, they are not capable of testing for, nor indicating that, a de-energized condition exists. For instance, if a voltage indicator is not illuminated, it may be because the system is de-energized, but it could also be due to a device failure, an installation failure (if the device becomes disconnected from the wiring, it will not detect voltage), or an indicator (e.g., LED) failure. These are some of the reasons permanently installed voltage indicators were never recognized by OSHA as an alternative to the voltmeter test.

The shortcomings of permanently installed voltage indicators helped bring attention to an industry need and led Panduit create a new and innovative product. An AVT now provides a quick and reliable means of verifying the absence of voltage – a big win on safety and time savings for the electrical worker.

AVTs are defined in a new product listing category that was added to UL 1436, the Standard for Outlet Circuit Testers and Similar Indicating Devices, in September 2016. With the addition of these new requirements, products can now be listed and labeled as an absence of voltage tester. AVT listing requirements were brought about by research presented at the 2016 IEEE Electrical Safety Workshop on electrical injuries that occurred while voltage testing. Because there were no installed devices designed specifically to test for the absence of voltage, unique listing requirements for such a product were not addressed by standards for other product categories. Recognizing this, UL set out to define requirements and identify the best place to publish them. Ultimately, UL 1436 was selected because its scope included other installed testers and it could be revised in a timeframe that coincided with the NFPA 70E 2018 revision cycle, which was also considering provisions for AVTs.

Today, the AVT is truly a new approach to an old problem – and, it’s one that enables user to comply with the new requirements for verifying the absence of voltage in the 2018 edition of NFPA 70E.

The Top 5 Reasons for Modernizing Your Electrical Safety Program

Updated safety standards provide opportunities to modernize your electrical safety program.

In your plant, there’s a good chance your facility’s electrical equipment is constantly being changed or updated (moves and adds) and maybe even improved. Thus, your electrical safety program should also address these changes.

In keeping up with new technology and evolving safety concerns, safety standards are periodically revised. Updated standards should be viewed as a benefit to facility and safety managers, bringing opportunities to modernized your electrical safety program and to stay up to date on existing trends in electrical safety.

Below, we outline the top five reasons for modernizing your electrical safety program:

1. Changes in standards.
If there’s ever a constant, it is change. The NFPA Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace (NFPA 70E), is updated every three years. While NFPA 70E isn’t adopted into federal law or OSHA regulation, but OSHA has a history of citing it as a best practice when electrical incidents occur.

OSHA’s general duty clause requires employers (your facility) to provide employees with a place of employment that is “free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious harm.” Because OSHA regulations are not frequently updated, they will often reference consensus standards (like NFPA 70E) as a best practice when issuing citations to the general duty clause.

Therefore, even though NFPA 70E is a voluntary standard, and compliance is not required by law, it effectively describes electrical hazards and best practices to mitigate them. Thus, failure to comply with this or similar guidelines can result in OSHA citations.

2. Training will always be important.
For any worker who may exposed to electrical hazards, training is key. Employees performing electrical work need to understand the requirements of the electrical safety program, including the ability to recognize electrical hazards, know safe work practices and the procedures for protection against these hazards.

Non-electrical workers should also be trained to identify electrical hazards and recognize when electrical work is being performed so they do not put themselves or the electrical workers at risk. Training should be ongoing—do not underestimate the importance of retraining. Workers leave, new workers are added, and sometimes people simply forget what they have learned or they may become complacent as tasks become routine.

Additionally, retraining is important if you consider the Normalization of Deviance phenomenon, which is described as “when people within the organization become so much accustomed to a deviant behavior that they don’t consider it as deviant, despite the fact that they far exceed their own rules for the elementary safety.”

3. Facility updates and new equipment.
Electrical equipment in a facility is often moved, added, or reconfigured to keep up with changing production demands. Often, these changes may include updates to safety technology. Thus, the electrical safety program should be updated to address those changes.

So, when new equipment is added, a circuit is moved, protective devices get replaced or settings are changed and, generally, when any electrical wiring or cables) are modified in any way, it’s time to update your arc flash hazard analysis and revisit the safety program.

Retrofits and additions to existing equipment or reconfiguration of lines, are also a great time to evaluate if new electrical safety technology can be incorporated and will signal it’s time to update the electrical safety program.

4. Near misses.
According to the National Safety Council, almost 75% of all accidents are preceded by a near miss. It’s important to document and record near misses, minor accidents and close calls, especially those that have the potential for injury.

The overall safety culture in the facility gets stronger when reporting near misses are encouraged and not punished. If it’s not reported, the opportunity to mitigate hazards by taking corrective actions, including updates to the electrical safety program, are missed.

5. Employee and facility worker expansion.
A modern electrical safety program is all about teamwork. When a facility’s employee base has grown and/or when shifts are added, it’s a good opportunity to take the time to update the electrical safety program to demonstrate to employees – new and old – that the safety culture is strong.

Converse to expansion, if a plant experiences a reduction in staff, or significant employee turnover, this can lead to employees being asked to do other tasks for which they may not be adequately trained.

Therefore, changes that also affect the workforce should be a reminder to revisit the electrical safety program to assure that all workers are not only properly trained, but understand their roles in advancing the safety culture.

Reduce the Risk of Arc Flash With a Reliable and Repeatable Repair and Preventative Maintenance Program

The importance of preventative maintenance programs can’t be understated. Especially when it comes to reducing the risk for arc flash. Accuracy and repeatability are critical to any machine operation, but that also applies to the preventative maintenance program itself. Facility and safety managers understand that repeatability makes work easier to implement.

Even the most conservative estimates say that there are up to five arc flash explosions occurring in electric equipment every day in the United States. Even more electrical incidents happen daily, but there are ways companies can significantly reduce the occurrence of these incidents to create a safer workplace.

Preventative maintenance can increase machine reliability, which decreases the need to access that equipment for repairs. This, in effect, increases overall plant safety when machines and equipment are operating as planned without the need for unscheduled maintenance. NFPA standard 70B outlines the best practices for setting up and maintaining an Electrical Preventive Maintenance (EPM) program. Additionally, the InterNational Electrical Testing Association (NETA) offers tremendous resources on preventative maintenance with their PowerTest Conference seminars.

An effective Electrical Preventive Maintenance (EPM) program helps avoid extra expenses, disruptions and potentially lost profits that may result from equipment breakdown or an arc flash. Typically, in setting up an EPM, it begins at the main service entrance and works its way through the electrical distribution system to automation and controls all the way to the machine level.

There are a variety of reasons why an arc flash may occur; it could be an accumulation of conductive dust inside an enclosure or purely equipment failure – likely the result of inadequate maintenance. In short, if electrical equipment is not maintained, then something is going to give.

An effective means of preventing electrical incidents and arc flashes is the anticipation and elimination of the conditions that may cause them. Spotting potential signs of an electrical failure include:

  • Identifying and repairing compromised insulation before it fails.
    Predictive maintenance systems can provide early warning of insulation degradation or failure. Visual inspections of the condition of insulation and electrical joints should be conducted whenever maintenance is performed.
  • Monitoring electrical equipment at critical joints including, lugs and compression fittings.
    Over time, heat cycles and vibration can loosen connections which can cause overheating and may lead to an arc flash. Thermal sensors can help monitor these critical joints.
  • Using infrared windows.
    Using infrared thermal scanning through IR windows enable technicians to perform scans without removing equipment covers or opening doors, lessening the likelihood of arc flash events caused by accidental contact and exposure.

It should go without saying, that before performing any electrical work in any form of maintenance, that it’s important to de-energize the equipment and verify that an electrically safe work condition has been established.

Verifying absence of voltage is important and the testing method to work on de-energized equipment must also be safe and effective. The electrical worker who conducts the testing needs to understand testing procedures and be repeatedly proficient with the testing devices.

Verifying the absence of voltage with the Panduit VeriSafe Absence of Voltage Tester before equipment is accessed makes it easy to verify that an electrically safe work condition has been established without exposure to hazards.

The results of having a reliable electrical safety and preventative maintenance program will reduce risk, minimize business interruptions and even extend the life of your plant’s electrical equipment.

Understanding Electrical Safety in Today’s Changing Landscape

Being able to identify electrical hazards and having tools, safety procedures and instructions available to mitigate risk is essential to ensuring safety.

 

It’s important to have a workforce that understands how keeping up with the times is paramount to staying safe in the workplace. Much can said about the importance of creating an electrically-safe workplace, but it is the responsibility of any employer to provide a safe environment, free of hazards to its employees.

In 2015, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) created an accreditation, the “Certified Electrical Safety Worker (CESW)” certification program, which was based on the most current edition of NFPA 70E, the Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace. The program ensures that electricians have the knowledge, training and experience to perform their jobs at the highest, safest level possible. Obviously, one key to safety during times of change is keeping aligned with consensus standards, which the NEC and NFPA updates every three years. Below are changes any plant might encounter and thus has a need to be prepared for.

VeriSafe – Absence of Voltage Tester

Changes in Standards
As safety standards evolve, so too must the company and its workforce. The latest release of the NFPA 70E-2018, includes updates that are essential for the company and its employees to understand. When NFPA 70E released its 2018 update, a new exception was included that allows Absence of Voltage Testers (AVTs) listed to UL 1436 to be used to verify the absence of voltage instead of a handheld voltmeter. Changes to consensus standards can take safety at a facility from good to great.

Changes in the Plant
When business grows, the facility grows. New machines are added, the electrical capacity needs grow, and thus an increased need for overall, plant-wide electrical safety grows. Sometimes, there can be an overcrowding in electrical rooms and production areas with added equipment. Other times, challenges are created when multiple suppliers of equipment create anomalies. While codes and standards evolve, and as equipment is added, there can be these compatibility issues. Standardizing processes and procedures can help minimize or prevent human error. Panduit provides solutions for the electrical infrastructure that can help bridge multiple equipment manufacturers or areas of equipment as additions take place. The VeriSafe Absence of Voltage Tester is compatible across many equipment types and manufacturers, provided the specifications have been met.

Changes in Plant Operations and Performance 
The rise in automation in plants today is proof that the robots are here. The qualified electrical worker meets all of the training requirements set by NFPA 70E and OSHA, and as a general rule, each qualified electrical worker may need several days of training each year to maintain the level of skill. It may be a good idea to plan for that training over a three-year period – which helps to ensure that the qualification process continues to track changing requirements. It’s possible that effective training may be something that is repeated in different formats periodically in order to keep if fresh and top-of-mind. This may toggle between classroom instruction, hands-on skills demonstration and audits.

New equipment brings new types of hazards and risks. Being able to identify these hazards and having tools, safety procedures and instructions available to mitigate risk is essential to ensuring safety. Perhaps even more game-changing than automation is the availability of connectivity and networking on the plant floor. This allows safety procedures to become more connected and integrated into workflow with the ability to track and log tasks, as well as access to video for training and recording purposes.