Q & A Archive

April – May 2022 Q&A

Q: Why are communications systems bonded to a utility system neutral? Doesn’t that make the communications messenger a parallel neutral path? A: Yes, it does, but this is a case of “Which is worse?” There are a number of things we do for one purpose that create hazards for another. We must know the issues […]

February – March 2022 Q&A

| Jim Vaughn, CUSP | ,
Q: Is it a good idea to wear dielectric boots in a substation? Do they provide additional protection to a worker? We feel that the worker is at equipotential – given the grid and stone are maintained per design – so we don’t believe that dielectric boots would provide extra protection. What are your thoughts? […]

December 2021 – January 2022 Q&A

| Jim Vaughn, CUSP | ,
Incident Prevention magazine still receives many questions about the different facets of equipotential bonding. In this installment of Q&A, we provide detailed answers to several of the most frequent questions in an effort to help the industry better understand and resolve these issues for the safety of their workers who use temporarily grounded systems. Q: […]

October-November 2021 Q&A

Q: We are contractors with a truck grounding question for work inside substations. Working within a proper clearance, the generation and transmission cooperative (G&T) that owns the transmission circuit coming into the substation believes 4/0 equipment grounding is needed, while the consumer utilities operating the substation say 1/0 or 2/0 is required. We sometimes are […]

August-September 2021 Q&A

Q: We have been reading OSHA 29 CFR 1910.269 regarding two-man work, but we cannot find a definition for “routine switching.” We are under the impression that a trained troubleshooter can replace blown fuses in cutouts without a second man. Since it is not specifically mentioned in the exceptions, do we have this wrong? We […]

June-July 2021 Q&A

Q: We have received some pushback from clients when setting up transmission pulling on EPZ mats that are constructed over crane mats, covered with galvanized cattle panels, overlapped, stapled down and bonded together. We follow a model passed down through our parent company’s safety research committee. Our clients have asked if the installation is certified. […]
Web Bonding OPGW

April-May 2021 Q&A

Q: I read the article “A Practical Review of the ANSI A92.2 Standard” in the October-November 2020 issue of Incident Prevention magazine (see https://incident-prevention.com/blog/a-practical-review-of-the-ansi-a92-2-standard/), and I’d like to know, is there a standard for the construction of electrically insulating bucket liners? We have problems with the geometry of a bucket. Because the walls of the […]

February-March 2021 Q&A

| Jim Vaughn, CUSP | ,
Q: Why do some experts say ground rods won’t work to trip a circuit? A: The experts say this because they are right depending on the conditions, which we’ll soon discuss. But let’s start with a definition of the idea of “remote ground” as the point at which we connect a protective system to earth. […]

December 2020-January 2021 Q&A

| Jim Vaughn, CUSP | ,
Q: We don’t provide self-rescue equipment for lone workers, but we recently heard that OSHA is requiring self-rescue equipment as part of the General Duty Clause. Are you familiar with this? A: This is a complex question, part of which might border on legal arguments. Incident Prevention relates legal opinions to our readers from case […]

October-November 2020 Q&A

Q: We have a crew performing pole change-outs with the line energized. They are suspending phases with a link stick and digger derrick to provide more clearance between phases to install new poles and hardware. The question is, can the operator leave the controls with the phase lifted? We thought they could, but it seems […]

August-September 2020 Q&A

Q: I read what was written about an air gap for worker protection in the June-July 2020 issue of Incident Prevention magazine, but one of our engineers who sits on a National Electrical Safety Code advisory committee brought something to my attention. NESC C2-2017 444.2 states,  “Air gaps created (e.g., cut or open jumpers) for […]

June-July 2020 Q&A

Q: Should we worry about beards in relation to arc flash? At our company, we think hair generally protects the body against extremes. Do you know of any evidence to the contrary? A: Here is what we know: Human hair is protein fiber. It will burn when exposed to a flame but stop burning when […]

April-May 2020 Q&A

Q: Recently we had an employee reference OSHA 29 CFR 1926.960(f) and 1910.269(l)(7), “Conductive articles.” The question is, can an employee work in an energized area while wearing jewelry, and earrings in particular? The rules discuss conductive articles such as watches, bands, rings and chains, but I do not see where it mentions earrings.  A: […]

February-March 2020 Q&A

| Jim Vaughn, CUSP | ,
Q: Where does OSHA’s switching and lockout/tagout policy draw the distinction between generating plants and the plants’ substations, particularly with metal-clad substations? A: It depends more on the equipment used than a distinct line, and it has to do with OSHA’s intent, equipment design and practicality. Let’s look at this from the perspective of intent. […]

December 2019-January 2020 Q&A

| Jim Vaughn, CUSP | ,
Q: As a contractor doing transmission maintenance, we see many different constructions of statics at the tops of transmission poles and structures. They’re grounded, and we always thought they were safe to handle with leather gloves. Now we’re hearing that statics should be grounded temporarily for worker protection. What’s the explanation for that? A: It’s […]

October-November 2019 Q&A

| Jim Vaughn, CUSP | ,
Q: Are utilities required to have a written fall protection program that follows a written hazard analysis? A: It’s not a bad idea because the process assures a fairly complete assessment of fall risks that makes training and protection of workers more effective. We know the source of your confusion because it’s a question we […]

August-September 2019 Q&A

Q: What is considered a forklift? We use wheel loaders equipped with accessory forks on our rights-of-way to unload and move poles and pole sections. We were told by our client’s safety inspector that the loader operators have to be certified as forklift operators because the loaders are equipped with forks. We have always used […]

June-July 2019 Q&A

Q: We experienced an event that has caused some confusion among crew and supervisors about what we thought we knew about grounding. We were working midspan on a de-energized 345-kV circuit. We drove a ground rod, grounded our trucks to it and grounded the phases to it. Almost immediately, we smelled hot rubber, and then […]

April-May 2019 Q&A

Q: OSHA’s digger derrick exception – found at 29 CFR 1926.1400(c)(4) – includes digger derricks when they are used for augering holes for poles carrying electric or telecommunication lines, for placing and removing the poles, and for handling associated materials for installation on, or removal from, the poles, or when used for any other work subject […]

February-March 2019 Q&A

| Jim Vaughn, CUSP | ,
Q: We have crews working under a clearance on a de-energized circuit jointly controlled by two different utilities (employers). The concern is that the other employer’s personnel, wishing to bundle maintenance opportunities during the outage, are taking protective relays out of service on their end of the circuit. If a switch were inadvertently closed on […]
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