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A t a b o u t 1 : 4 5 a . m . , t w o j o u r n e y m a n e l e c t r i c i a n s b e g a n r e p l a c i n g b u l b s a n d m a k i n g r e p a i r s o n l i g h t f i x t u r e s i n a s p r a y p a i n t b o o t h a t a n a u t o m o b i l e a s s e m b l y p l a n t . T h e j o b r e q u i r e d t h e t w o electricians to climb on top of the booth and work from above. The top of the booth was filled with pipes and ducts that restricted visibility and movement. Flashlights were required.

The electricians started at opposite ends of the booth. One electrician saw a flash of light, but continued to work for about 5 minutes, then climbed down for some wire. While cutting the wire, he smelled a burn- ing odor and called to the other electrician. When no one answered, he climbed back on top of the booth. He found his co-worker in contact with a single-strand wire from one of the lights. Needle-nose wire strippers were stuck in the left side of the victim s chest. Apparentl , he had been stripping insulation from an improperly grounded 530-volt, single-strand wire when he contacted it with the stripper. In this case, the electricians knew they were working on energized circuits. The breakers in the booth s control panel were not labeled and the lock used for lock-out/tag-out was broken. The surviving electrician stated that locating the means to de-energize a circuit often takes more time than the actual job.

The electrician would be alive today if the following rules had been observed.

  • Always shut off circuits—then test to confirm that they are de-energized—before starting a job.

  • Switchgear that shuts off a circuit must be clearly labeled and easy to access.

  • Lock-out/tag-out materials must always be provided, and lock-out/tag-out procedures must always

be followed.

  • Always label circuit breakers.

Lock out and tag out circuits and equipment

Create a safe work environment by locking out and tagging out circuits and machines. Before working on a circuit, you must turn off the power supply. Once the circuit has been shut off and de-energized, lock out the switchgear to the circuit so the power cannot be turned back on inadvertently. Then, tag out the circuit with an easy-to-see sign or label that lets everyone know that you are working on the circuit. If you are working on or near machinery, you must lock out and tag out the machinery to prevent startup. Before you begin work, you must test the circuit to make sure it is de-energized.

Always test a circuit to make sure it is de-energized before working on it.

Lock-out/tag-out saves lives.

Section 7

Page 39

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