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  1. #1
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    Default Electrically Insulated Tools

    North Carolina licensing board produces a 4 hr mandatory training class each licensing year. This years class is how to safely remove an electrical panel cover. Yes, 4 hours to remove a service panel cover. Thats all, just remove a cover and nothing else for 4 hours.

    The class teaches according to OSHA and NFPA that electrical workers would normally wear Arc Flash Resistant clothing, safety goggles AND full face shield, helmet, leather gloves, and EH rated foot ware. But would not require electrically insulated hand tools.

    $488.50
    Arc Flash Kit,Large


    Just curious what safety precautions any of you are taking when working around service and distribution panels.

    Do you use electrically insulated hand tools?
    Do you wear safety glasses, gloves, EH footware, etc?
    Check the panel with a sniffer?
    Touch back of your hand to the cover?
    Something else?

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  2. #2
    James Duffin's Avatar
    James Duffin Guest

    Default Re: Electrically Insulated Tools

    The only panel I have a problem with are the Zinsco with the exposed bus bars at the top where the cover goes. Not too concerned otherwise with a 120/240 volt panel that is intact and in use. Higher voltages=more caution from me.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Electrically Insulated Tools

    Always rap with my knuckle first.... I use a screwdriver with an insulated handle. I don't use any eye protection (I know, I know... I should). I do pull the cover off and hold it a few inches away briefly to use it as a bit of a shield. Of course, I always have rubber sole shoes and have thrown down a block of wood on occasion if I'm in a damp area.

    Okay.... that took 3 minutes. What's the other 3 hrs 57 mins about?


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Electrically Insulated Tools

    "Okay.... that took 3 minutes. What's the other 3 hrs 57 mins about?"


    Filling out the state required form.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  5. #5
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    Osceola, AR
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    Default Re: Electrically Insulated Tools

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Ramsey View Post


    Just curious what safety precautions any of you are taking when working around service and distribution panels.

    Do you use electrically insulated hand tools?
    Do you wear safety glasses, gloves, EH footware, etc?
    Check the panel with a sniffer?
    Touch back of your hand to the cover?
    Something else?
    I usually wear safety glasses during the entire inspection, just a habit I have gotten into over the years after a couple of eye injuries. Gas lines, metal plumbing pipes, AC units, ductwork, metal siding and panel covers usually get the sniffer ran across them before I touch them. I normally wear gloves when opening panels, handling ladders and such. I do use insulated screwdrivers, didn't even think about that one when I loaded my tool bag, another old habit I guess.

    Alton Darty
    ATN Services, LLC
    www.arinspections.com

  6. #6
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Electrically Insulated Tools

    Do you use electrically insulated hand tools?

    Screwdriver but normally when taking off a cover it is an electric screwdriver, Milwaukee


    Do you wear safety glasses, gloves, EH footware, etc?

    I wear glasses ans they are rated, but I mean, I wear glasses all the time in life. No gloves but rubber soul shoes that grip roofs well, not specifically for electric work

    Check the panel with a sniffer?

    Never, well, almost never.

    Touch back of your hand to the cover?

    Never, well, almost never, The first thing to touch the cover is the electric screw driver (battery)
    Something else?

    I will give you the tried and true stupid answer. I take caution with everything I do in some way like have the listing agent open the panel for me. I have the buyer go up on the roof first to test it out. If the seller is there I have him test all the electric switches and panel. If the termite folks are there I have them go in the crawl space first looking for Mr Boogidy. If the buyers agent is there I have them turn on the water.

    Yes, caution is key but I will only take it so far. 4 hours to learn how to open a panel ???????????? Not a snow balls chance in hell.

    As far as 90% of all the electricians I have worked around/with over all the decades....They might use an insulated screw driver and electrician pliers and tester on occasion....maybe glasses but rarely.


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Electrically Insulated Tools

    One safety precaution I used today. I did not bring the SawZall with me.

    I put my reader glasses on before starting on the panel. This helps me see as well. Will sometimes touch knuckles to the deadfront. I try not to have both hands in there at first, so will remove a few screws before holding the cover with my left. Electric screwdriver has a rubbery handle.

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  8. #8
    Ted Williams's Avatar
    Ted Williams Guest

    Default Re: Electrically Insulated Tools

    Rubber soled shoes, tap with back of hand, and if sketchy looking, will first shoot with infrared thermometer. If there are hot breakers, there's really no need to open. Evaluation by licensed electrician recommended.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Electrically Insulated Tools

    I have a set of the insulated Klein drivers, cutters, strippers, pliers. They've been good over the years and saved my butt a few times. Switched over to a Wera electrical set at christmas. I always touch the panel with the back of my hand and the sniffer in my shirt pocket before removal. Shoes, jacket, gloves seems a bit overkill.
    I won't take the cover off or assess the panel in any way whatsoever if I have to stand in a puddle of water to do it. I take the pick showing both and that's the end of it. Will something happen probably not, but I'm not interested in testing that.

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  10. #10
    Patrick McCaffery's Avatar
    Patrick McCaffery Guest

    Default Re: Electrically Insulated Tools

    Hi,
    Aren't the insulated screwdrivers used for working inside the panel?


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Electrically Insulated Tools

    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick McCaffery View Post
    Hi,
    Aren't the insulated screwdrivers used for working inside the panel?
    You are taking the screws out of the deadfront and the screw threads slice through the adjacent wire insulation and engerize the panel box, screw, and screwdriver you are holding. You are standing on a concrete slab with metal rebar that is used as the ground for the electrical system. $15 insulated screwdriver vs. $5 regular driver?

    Yes, technically OSHA and NFPA 70E do not require insulated tools when removing panel front covers. The extra $10 might save your life...

    "The Code is not a peak to reach but a foundation to build from."

  12. #12
    James Duffin's Avatar
    James Duffin Guest

    Default Re: Electrically Insulated Tools

    I consider my 6-way plastic handle screwdriver to be insulated. I use it check the tightness of breaker screws and so far so good. Again we are talking about 120/240 volts only.


  13. #13
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    Default Re: Electrically Insulated Tools

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Fellman View Post
    Okay.... that took 3 minutes. What's the other 3 hrs 57 mins about?
    Here is a link to the accompanying text and powerpoint slides for the class.

    Starts out with how atoms move around to make electricity and eventually moves on to things like removing the panel screws in a specific order while wearing Arc Flash protection.

    Class Handouts (different from powerpoint presentation)
    http://www.ncdoi.com/OSFM/Engineerin...2_handouts.pdf

    Power point Presentation (different from handouts)
    http://www.ncdoi.com/OSFM/Engineerin..._pptslides.pdf

    It introduced the concept of PPE and taking precaustions when playing around with electricity. Not everyone has a strong background in electricity or safety.

    "The Code is not a peak to reach but a foundation to build from."

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Electrically Insulated Tools

    Thanks Bruce
    After see that I may never pull another cover off again.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

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