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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
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    Question about electrical safety

    The other day I was up helping perform matinence on a RTU on a grocery store. After jumpering it we cant seem to get it to kick on, and the guy Im working with starts poking around with a regular ole screwdriver on the compressor contacts on a 460v system to try and push the contacts closed! Pretty much everything Ive learned says not to do anything like that.

    Im really new at this and even I knew that was extremely dangerous. Luckily Ive read enough to know that is bad. I even asked him if thats safe and he said "as long as you dont touch the sides." Hes a new hire also(albeit with experience), and Im just thinking what if I wouldnt have know that wasnt okay!?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    Western Wa.
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    You're right never push in a contactor with anything if there is power to it. That being said we all have done it and will probably continue to do it.
    UA Proud

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  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
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    Iowa
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    You are correct that is not an approved method of testing. It make no difference what the voltage is but as the voltage increases the potential for more damage increases as well.

    As for If he did not know and you did not know this was a poor maintenance practice then I hate to say at some time in your career the "school of hard knocks" will likely teach a lesson. The potential for Arc flash or other forms of machine failure is nothing to take lightly. Keep asking the "what if" question. You have a tool bag full of tools learn how to use them and always use the correct Personal Protective Equipment. At a minimum glasses and gloves.

    You did not say what type of maintenance you were doing; routine PM or there to really fix something. I understand you were the newbie and may have been intimidated about saying something. No one and I repeat "NO One" should have a hard spot in asking a safety question. If they do they should get out of the business. Here's where the what if's can help you sound as if you are not questioning your co workers skills. If you were to ask:Hey, if there is/was a short in that circuit what would happened? How do you check the screw driver to make sure it's not conductive?

    Lastly do not put yourself in the line of fire, move back as best you can, move around a corner, get something between you and the component (in my time we used say that's what apprentices are for portable shielding). I know bad joke but it makes my point. There were other much safer ways to check the circuit over the short cut of pushing in the plunger of the contactor that could have been done in just a few minutes.

    Good Luck

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Maine
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    So what was the problem with the system? Time delay?

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    New Mexico
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    If your company has a stop work policy for safety use it. That guy had no right to but your life in danger. If he wants to kill him self so be it it thins out herd. Not do it to somebody else.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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  8. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Richmond, VA
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    460V is nothing to be sticking a screwdriver in. I've done some pretty stupid things out of impatience, like tightening live lugs, and didn't learn my lesson until my screwdriver slipped and a flash of molten metal was thrown at me.

    Do not poke and prod anything live unless it's your meter.

  9. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    ARK.
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    Key Question,
    Was ANY Line Voltage,Safety Device Tripped or Blown? N-E-V-E-R On YOUR LIFE!!
    Yes,We all do 'Things not Prescribed,BUT,
    ON,KNOWN,Functioning Equipment,FOR,Test Purposes ONLY!
    AND, NO!
    You DO NOT PLAY WITH LINE VOLTAGE. PERIOD!!!!!
    No matter how long you have been doing this,
    Go back and reread the Basic's.You WILL Learn something.
    Why is it called,an Act of GOD when IT has Nothing to do with Him?
    Will of the Devil would be more appropriate IMO.Just Saying.
    PSALMS, 18 & 25.

  10. #8
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    Nov 2014
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    Hey I forgot to mention that! He tightend every lug while being life also!

    "Just dont touch anything else!"

  11. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    edmonds wa
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    You were given great advice about standing off to the side while this idiot is working. You get paid by the hour not by speed, do it the right way and you will be back tomorrow. This guy sounds like he is pushing his luck and if your too close, yours also.
    UA Local 32

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  13. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    New Mexico
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    Next to a screwdriver a jumper is one of the most misused things in the box. The jumper might have fried the transformer.
    I remember a guy pushing in contact on a part start compressor and he fried the compressor. Pushed the wrong one.
    I also was blind for a few days when by accident I got flashed on 460. Very painful.

    So like others have said there is a reason the contactor isn't pulling in and pushing in the contacts is backwards troubleshooting. Your partner might not be as experienced as you think.
    I should have played the g'tar on the MTV. MK

    You can be anything you want......As long as you don't suck at it.

    SMW Lu49

  14. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
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    New Mexico
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    Quote Originally Posted by GoCougs View Post
    Hey I forgot to mention that! He tightend every lug while being life also!

    "Just dont touch anything else!"
    Why would anyone do that?
    I should have played the g'tar on the MTV. MK

    You can be anything you want......As long as you don't suck at it.

    SMW Lu49

  15. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
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    Quote Originally Posted by hvacker View Post
    Why would anyone do that?
    I have no clue. The more I think about it the angrier I get. Luckily I had known. To think Id be walking around right now thinking thats okay.

    How would a jumper fry the transformer? How should we have done it?

  16. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Southold, NY
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    Quote Originally Posted by GoCougs View Post
    The other day I was up helping perform matinence on a RTU on a grocery store. After jumpering it we cant seem to get it to kick on, and the guy Im working with starts poking around with a regular ole screwdriver on the compressor contacts on a 460v system to try and push the contacts closed! Pretty much everything Ive learned says not to do anything like that.

    Im really new at this and even I knew that was extremely dangerous. Luckily Ive read enough to know that is bad. I even asked him if thats safe and he said "as long as you dont touch the sides." Hes a new hire also(albeit with experience), and Im just thinking what if I wouldnt have know that wasnt okay!?
    Run, don't walk away from him.

    This is what VOM meters are for, learn how to use them.
    Has this contractor given any Arch Flash training as required by law?

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