Electrical workers must comply with safety regulations that require a voltage verification test before servicing electrical equipment. NFPA 70E, the Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace, addresses best practices for protecting employees from electrical hazards through the use of safety programs, hazard and risk identification, training, and procedures.
One of the best ways to protect workers is to isolate the electrical supply, follow lockout and tagout procedures, and verify the equipment is de-energized before any electrical work is performed. Until now, this process has been complex and time-consuming, fraught with possibilities for human error and potential exposure to hazards.
The verification step often puts electrical workers at risk for exposure to electrical hazards while testing a handheld tester on a known voltage source, testing for absence of voltage phase-to-phase and phase-to-ground inside the equipment, and re-testing the tester to ensure it is still functioning properly.
Until these steps have been completed, it is best to assume the equipment may be energized and take all necessary precautions including use of adequate personal protective equipment.
In the 2018 edition of NFPA 70E, a new exception was included in Article 120.5(7) that offers an alternative to the traditional hand-held testers method used to verify the absence of voltage: the option to use a permanently mounted device.
The permanently mounted test device can be used to test the conductors and circuit parts at the point of work before the equipment is accessed preventing exposure to electrical hazards. These permanently mounted devices must be installed at the point of work in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions, listed and labeled for the purpose of verifying the absence of voltage, and satisfy additional requirements outlined in the standard.
The permanently mounted test device is different from the test portal interface that is sometimes used with a handheld voltage tester. Although the test portals reduce exposure when verifying the absence of voltage, this process– working with hand tools via a portal – does not meet the requirements of the new Exception 1 in 120.5(7) because:
- It is not listed for the purpose of verifying the absence of voltage
- There is no way to confirm that the probes of the tester are actually in direct contact with the electrical conductors inside the enclosure at the time of the test
- They bring hazardous voltage to the door
An example of a permanently mounted device that does meet the requirements of NPFA 70E is the absence of voltage tester (AVT).
The VeriSafe Absence of Voltage Tester from Panduit is specifically designed to verify the absence of voltage and fully complies with the new NFPA 70E standard. This ultimately simplifies the testing process and reduces risk for the qualified worker performing electrical work.
Automating this process with the VeriSafe AVT:
- Reduces testing procedure time and complexity
- Reduces the risk of exposure to electrical hazards
- Supports compliance in the lockout/tagout process described in NFPA 70E
A facility’s electrical infrastructure is a top priority. With more than 60 years of infrastructure expertise, Panduit is committed to developing innovative solutions to help companies achieve their operational goals, reduce risk, and increase electrical safety.
Learn more about the VeriSafe - Absence of Voltage Tester here: www.panduit.com/verisafe