Available fault current is an important parameter to consider when reviewing a new or even an existing installation of electrical equipment. When standing in front of a line up of switchgear, panelboards, or switchboards, you may be amazed at how many labels you see. These labels are there for a reason. They can be very helpful if you just take the time to understand them. A label that includes the available fault current just may be one of those labels, as it is a requirement of National Electric Code (NEC) Section 110.24, "Available Fault Current." Let's review this section and a few other associated sections to understand this requirement and the various ways it impacts safety.
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The story of the arc fault circuit interrupter (AFCI) is an interesting one as it is technical in nature, wrapped in controversy, fueled by passion, and delivers a positive electrical safety impact to the electrical industry. The 2014 National Electrical Code® (NEC) again modified Section 210.12, expanding AFCI coverage and providing more options. When you open your code book to Section 210.12 this year, don’t let the size of the section intimidate you. It’s not all that big of a change.
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Water at the right place at the right time sustains life; water at the wrong place and the wrong time can become a nightmare. We need water to survive, but on the other hand, water can be quite dangerous and create unsafe conditions especially where electricity is involved. An important part of any design addresses and manages water. Builders work to ensure water does not intrude into the structure and their fight rages on many fronts; some are as obvious as dealing with rainwater through proper roof structures and a gutter system that removes the rainwater from the structure. Other less obvious fronts include preventing water intrusion from ground springs. Managing the elements of nature is important for safety as water intrusion can cause mold, rust, and other similar types of degradation that also may not be received well by electrical equipment. Mixing water and electrical equipment can have devastating results for safety. It’s worth a probe on this topic to get you and your team in the game and ensure safety is not compromised on your next project.
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The beginning of a new year is a great time to refresh your focus on safety. Take this time to brush off your safety plan and get your head back in the game. Triggers are useful ways to initiate good practices. We use triggers for many safety related tasks; one good example is the replacement of batteries in smoke detectors when we change the clocks each year. As you take this opportunity to initiate a focus on safety, here is a list of items that you can use to stir discussion with your team on this topic.
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Keep your eye on the ball. You may have heard your coach tell you that over and over until you realized that’s just what you needed to do in order to succeed. In business, the message is the same, and it doesn’t change when it comes to electrical safety. In order to keep our eye on the ball, we need a clear understanding of what that ball is. When it all comes together, our designs, plans, and actions ensure we achieve our goals.
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Electrical distribution systems serve us on a daily basis, regardless of if we are sitting in our home, driving down the road, or at work. This important infrastructure must be maintained, if not for longevity sake, then for safety sake.
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Written by Thomas A. Domitrovich
 

Our hands and fingers are some of our greatest assets, which is why giving them the attention they deserve is important for a host of reasons. We use our hands and fingers to do many things on a daily basis. They pull wire, make terminations, steer vehicles, create wonderful works of art, shape and form metal and wood, and they make the impossible possible. Unfortunately, many know what it is like to not have these assets at their disposal and understand the challenges that presents.
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Think back in time to when you had that “aha” moment and began a statement with those two, sometimes embarrassing, words, “I thought.” Maybe you thought the door was locked and it wasn’t. Maybe you thought the car was in “Park” or in “Reverse.” Some of life’s most embarrassing moments begin with those two words “I thought.” When working in and around electricity, those “gotcha” moments can be avoided if we understand what it means to test before touch.
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The National Electrical Code (NEC) is a document that seeks the practical safeguarding of persons and property from hazards arising from the use of electricity. We all too often forget about how important the NEC is to those working on, in, or around electrical equipment. Some State Code adoption hearings include discussions of delaying adoption of the NEC due to cost of the provisions within these requirements or even the cost of buying new books and conducting training. The most disappointing experiences in my book are the discussions that never happen as states drag their feet and take a casual approach to NEC adoption; yet another way to indirectly achieve a delayed adoption of requirements that are there to save lives and property.
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Terminating conductors may seem to be a menial task, but make no mistake – it is important. Mistakes here could cause hours of troubleshooting or other types of problems after continued hours of use and aging of the installation. NEC 2017 has recognized the importance of this task as well. Let’s explore this topic further and shed some light on what many think can be left to the most inexperienced on the job. I think you may see that this task deserves closer attention.
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