working live

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Old 09-23-05, 10:12 AM
bigmacgyver
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Smile working live

hi guys iam new to this forum iam at college at the moment on an electrical installations courses i need to know in what situation an electrician can work LIVE i need about 10 answers [thank you]
 
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Old 09-23-05, 11:10 AM
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bigmacgyver, Welcome to the DIY Forums.
I am not an electrician but this subject has been touched on before. You will probably get at least ten answers that say never. Good luck.
 
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Old 09-23-05, 11:12 AM
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I believe that you will find that many people on discussion boards such as this feel that it is cheating to simply give someone answers that they will use in a course.

I personally don't think of it as cheating, seeing as you could go look the answers up in a book, but still won't give such answers out because they defeat the purpose of having homework in the first place. If your instructor wanted you to simply be fed a set of 'these are the situations in which an electrician may work live', then your instructor would have given you the list and you could have read it.

But homework is about practice thinking things through. In this case you need to ask yourself 'why _might_ an electrician want to work live' and then do the research to determine what the requirements for live work actually are.

A far better way to use resources such as this forum for homework would be to come up with a set of situations, and do your own research, and then present the results here for discussion. This in my mind is like writing a paper and then getting a friend to edit it. You do the original work, and then get help from others to improve it.

-Jon
 
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Old 09-23-05, 11:24 AM
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GREAT point Winnie. My thinking was running along the lines that at DIY we do not promote unsafe or illegal practices. This is why you will find no info on recharging AC units here.
 
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Old 09-23-05, 11:32 AM
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I agree with winnie and would be interested in knowing what your course and instructor would consider the correct answer.
majakdragon is also correct because what is right for your field may not be for mine.

I will tell you that in my field working on live circuits would only be appropriate for certain testing procedures.................Not sure how this would apply to yours.

So, read the book and tell us the right answers.
 
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Old 09-23-05, 01:23 PM
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To get you pointed in the right direction: working live is not an issue of structure safety or functionallity so you will not find information in the building or electrical codes. Working live involves personal workplace safety of the electrician, therefore the regulating agencies are OSHA and the state/local OSHA. Try exploring that angle for information.

Consider the risks of working live; the life and well-being of the electrician is at stake. What situations is keeping the power on worth the risk of killing an electrician?
 
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Old 09-23-05, 03:36 PM
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OSHA is a very large document. I'm going to give in. Start here:
Part Number: 1910
• Part Title: Occupational Safety and Health Standards
• Subpart: S
• Subpart Title: Electrical
• Standard Number: 1910.333
• Title: Selection and use of work practices

Then go to the NFPA website and check the text of NFPA 70E
 
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Old 09-23-05, 04:38 PM
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I work at a Utility, so this may not be in the same category.

We work circuits live all the time. A typical example is the linemen that glove our distribution lines. They do "hot" work almost every day on 12.4 kv and 24.9 kv circuits that cannot be readily killed out. They all have specialized training and use speciallized equipment and procedures.

Another example at the other end of the spectrum is in the substation. An example would be changing a CT ratio on a relay or meter. As long as the CT circuit is shorted properly, the voltage is essentially zero; but it is technically still energized.

Having said all that, we still try to do as much de-energized as possible.

As to reading "intent" into an e-mail statement. I learned a long time ago it can't be done. I know that the most valuable information I learned in this trade was from the older guys that took the time to teach me. Stuff that doesn't come in a textbook.

If bigmacgyver is taking a shortcut, it will catch up with him. Personally, I prefer to give him the benefit of the doubt and will share what I can.
 
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Old 09-23-05, 06:30 PM
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WFO makes a key point. I think we are all aware that the utility workers perforce work on energized equipment. The procedures, special precautions and equipment are all carefull spelled out IN WRITING and trained for.

If you are referring to ANY type of work in a residential situation, the answer I believe is NEVER. In industrial situations, there may be cases for working on or near energized switchboards, etc. Again, carefully regulated and trained for.

OSHA (fed. and state) are the agencies which regulate this.

In any situation where you would consider live work because it is more convenient, quicker. or less of a hastle, these are the situations where people get killed.
 
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Old 09-23-05, 06:59 PM
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594tough pointed out something that I didn't clarify. Utility work IS specialized, and none of these lineman would work on an energized line in their house; they'd kill it out. Nobody works anything hot if they don't have to.
One piece of advice I always remember....work it dead, but treat it like it's hot.
 
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Old 09-23-05, 11:12 PM
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Never say never.

In Las Vegas, IBEW Local 357, at least, permits 5th-yr. apprentices, even, to work live circuits under the supervision of a journeyman, whether or not I agree with that is irrelevent. There's a heck of a lot of union journeyman that I wouldn't trust on my jobs, let alone let them work something hot.

Have I worked live circuits? MANY times. This is why you work even dead circuits as if the WERE hot, for the most part, so that when you do work something hot, you still work it like you are practiced.

Situations for working live circuits vary. If you've ever screwed a light bulb into a live socket so that it came on as soon as it bottomed, you did LIVE electrical work.

Even in residential settings, you can find circuits that are critical. Of course, TOO critical and they would require a UPS system anyway.

Am I extremely careful and well-trained for working live circuits? Heck yeah. Do I charge a lot more money when I have to do it? Heck yeah.
 
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Old 09-24-05, 03:30 AM
bigmacgyver
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we were asked in class to look on the internet and find out in what situations electricians can work live i am only on my third week at college and from the start they have always told us NEVER to work live unless its absolutely necessary so i am not trying to cheat
i am just doing what i was asked by my tutor
 

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Old 09-24-05, 06:42 AM
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I think the discussion here has been helpful to you. I hope we made the point that mere convenience is never a justification to work live.

Work that would require turning off power to a whole CITY may qualify. I notice that if the utility locally here needs to replace a transformer, they don't seem to do that live. They will black out a fairly large neighborhood in order to work more safely. Work in a main switch at a hospital might be another example of where hot work is justified.

To some extent, you could look at an electrical distribution system as a tree. Every leaf on the tree is fed by a little twig. Each twig is fed by a small branch, which is fed by a big limb, which comes from the trunk. So, every load in a system is fed from somewhere. That feed can always be disconnected, but not always easy. In your house, each outlet is fed by a breaker. That breaker is fed by a main breaker. Both of these are easy to secure. Now, to isolate the main breaker means pulling the meter. Now, to isolate the meter feed means disconnecting from the pole, and THAT job is probably going to be done live.
 
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Old 09-24-05, 11:47 AM
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Originally Posted by bigmacgyver
we were asked in class to look on the internet and find out in what situations electricians can work live i am only on my third week at college and from the start they have always told us NEVER to work live unless its absolutely necessary so i am not trying to cheat
i am just doing what i was asked by my tutor
I always find this "cheating" discussion interesting. In all the electrical classes I have taken there has never been an "equal playing field" among students. Many have far reaching resources to help them, while others do not. But I will say you dont learn as well having others do for you. That unfortunately doesnt keep the instructor from giving you a non-passing grade while the cheaters pass. This can usually be offset by an instructor who doesnt put a lot of points on homework but makes the tests he/she gives the majority of your grade. If this is just something that was asked by your tutor and not your classroom assignment, then I wouldnt call this cheating.
However giving you the answers isnt a learning experience IMO. Try giving google a search like "live electrical work". Make a list that you have researched yourself then come back to the forum and we can discuss it, thats not cheating but expanding your knowledge beyond the minimum required by your class.
 
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