Archive | Safety


9:23 pm
September 8, 2014
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5 Expert Tips: Achieving Arc Flash Safety


When it comes to electrical-safety issues, expert advice is always in order. 

By Jane Alexander, Managing Editor

Electrical safety is an overarching concern for plants and facilities everywhere. In the United States, providing a safe workplace for employees is required—and enforced—by OSHA. Relative to electrical workplace safety, OSHA issues citations based on the requirements of NFPA 70E Electrical Safety in the Workplace. Here, Reza Tajali of Schneider Electric Field Services offers several timely tips for complying with those requirements, along with some specifics on arc flash concerns.

Tip 1

Follow the steps outlined in NFPA 70E – 2012.

To meet the requirements of NFPA 70E-2012, the following steps must be properly executed and re-visited on a regular basis.

  • Develop and audit an electrical safe work practices policy.
  • Have an arc flash analysis performed by a professional engineer and label the equipment.
  • Provide personal protective equipment (PPE) and properly rated tools for electrical workers. Also assure that contractors working in your facility have and use their own safety gear. (According to OSHA, a qualified person is one who is knowledgeable in the construction and operation of the electric power generation, transmission and distribution equipment involved in his or her job, along with the associated hazards.)
  • Conduct regularly scheduled safety training and employee assessments.
  • Perform electrical maintenance on all electrical-distribution-system components.

Remember: Compliance is an ongoing process that requires deliberate thought and actions to ensure workers are aware of the electrical hazards present.

Tip 2

Develop and follow strategies to mitigate and control arc flash hazards.

The goal of arc flash mitigation is to reduce the arc flash energy, and thus the PPE, to a level that permits normal tasks to be performed on equipment. Arc flash mitigation strategies can be attained by:

  • Reducing the arc flash energy to a level where routine tasks can be performed. (Example: Specialized relaying, such as light sensing technology)
  • Locating the worker such that he/she is not subject to harm.  (Example: Remote racking for circuit breakers when performing maintenance activities)

Tip 3

Keep accurate, up-to-date records and documentation.

Have there been any changes, additions and/or upgrades to your electrical system since the equipment was installed? If so, the single-line diagram should reflect the changes. What does this have to do with workplace safety? If an electrical anomaly occurs (breaker trips, transformer overheated, etc.), maintenance personnel need accurate information to know how to correct the problem. This helps alleviate surprises which could lead to accidents.

Consider this analogy: A person goes to his/her doctor to get a physical for the first time in five years. Does the doctor pull the existing five-year old chart without wanting to know what’s gone on since then? No!

Remember: To accurately and safely run or improve a process, the latest information is needed.

Tip 4

Assess the current state of your power system: Outsource if necessary.

Building upon tip #3, it is also important to know the current state of the electrical system. If electrical systems have not been properly maintained, they can pose serious risks. A power system assessment will identify potential high-risk issues (including safety and operational) within the electrical distribution system.

Finally, with electrical power systems becoming more complex due to technological advances, many companies may not have the experienced electrical engineering personnel to assure the compatibility and optimum functionality of the sophisticated and inter-connected equipment. An electrical power system assessment can be performed with minimal invasiveness if you engage the right firm with proven experience.

Tip 5

See Tip 1… Electrical safety is an ongoing process.



Tajali reminds readers that electrical hazards are responsible for over 300 deaths and 4000 workplace injuries each year. While such hazards are not the leading cause of on-the-job injuries and accidents, he notes that they are disproportionately fatal and costly. (Source: Electrical Safety Foundation International,

That said, Tajali offers these final  ‘words to the wise’ in today’s plants and facilities: If you are not already, it’s time to become familiar with codes, regulations and standards, including OSHA, NFPA 70E, NEC and IEEE. “Safety awareness and how to recognize electrical hazards should be a ‘way of life’ for electrical workers,” he says. “Literally.”  MT

Reza Tajali, P.E., is an Engineering Manager for Schneider Electric Engineering Services. He has over 30 years of experience with electrical power distribution and control, and holds two United States patents on switchgear products. He currently manages the company’s power-system engineering team in the Midwest region of the U.S., which supports industrial and commercial customers with power system design, analysis and power-quality improvement plans. Tajali holds a Master of Science degree in electrical power systems from Tennessee Technological University and is registered in seven states. For more information on the company’s engineering services, visit


6:19 pm
July 8, 2014
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Interlock Technology Improves Process Safety in Tanker Loading/Unloading Operations

image009Kirk Key’s (Kirk) Eagle Series interlocking products provide process-safety control in tanker loading and unloading operations. The company’s trapped key interlocking systems ensure that users follow a pre-determined sequence of operation for activating road, rail, and sea tanker control valves in oil refining, petro-chemical, pulp and paper, liquefied gas and other industrial applications. Kirk Eagle Series valve interlocks integrate with its mechanical and electromechanical trapped key interlock series to form a comprehensive safety scheme.

According to the manufacturer, product-transfer procedures that rely on manual control can lead to spills or leakage of hazardous gases or liquids, causing injury, property damage and potential fines. By controlling a defined sequence of equipment operation, such hazards are minimized.

The company says its interlocking systems are designed to site requirements and ensure that safety processes move smoothly across a range of equipment including road, rail or marine barriers, hoses, gantry accesses, valves and pump electrical switches. Each step in the scheme releases a uniquely coded key required to move safely on to the next step of the sequence. These oversized keys can’t be duplicated and the sequence can’t be circumvented.

The Eagle Series includes integral valve interlocks to fit every type and size of quarter and multi-turn valves, as well as bolt and electro-mechanical interlocks. To support long-term use in harsh environments, all Eagle Series products are manufactured entirely of 316 stainless steel and incorporate keyways that are protected by a gasketed flip covers.


3:06 pm
June 28, 2014
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Increased Flexibility in Power Transmission with High-Protection Cable & Hose Carriers

New_Cover_USAU.S. Tsubaki Power Transmission, LLC, has introduced TKA Series Cable & Hose Carriers, the newest product family from TSUBAKI KABELSCHLEPP.

According to the manufacturer, TKA Series Cable Carriers are especially tight, which allows them to better protect cables from dirt, chips and circulating spray water and prevent the ingress of coolants and lubricants. With their enclosed stroke system and pin-hole joint, even large amounts of atomized oil and flying particles no longer pose a problem during cleaning of the work area. This level of protection for the installed cables into the connection area has been tested and confirmed in line with IP54 protection ratings. U.S. Tsubaki says the new cable carrier is the only one in the world to comply with this high-protection rating.

All TKA carriers are also available in extreme-heat-resistant versions that incorporate special material to protect cables against damage, e.g. from chips with temperatures up to 850 C. The optimized geometric shape of the chain links and a triple encapsulated stroke system of this new series allow for extensive unsupported lengths that remain resistant to torsion. These components can be used standing or hanging, and the dividers can be placed in variable arrangements, offering users greater flexibility in their applications.

The U.S. Tsubaki TKA series is offered in multiple size ranges that are available for immediate shipment.



8:50 pm
June 20, 2014
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Hydrostatic Testing of Pipelines Goes Digital

Screen Shot 2014-06-20 at 3.42.51 PMMeriam Process Technologies’ PIT5000 Pipeline Integrity Tester  replaces the deadweight and chart recorders that have typically been part of the hydrostatic testing landscape. The product’s real-time data-collection and alarm capabilities improve upon the traditional labor-intensive pen and paper method by automating the process and, in turn, helping speed response to critical conditions.

According to the manufacturer, the PIT5000 does the work for the operator. Once a test is completed, a printed report with testing details, calibration information, plot data and test graphs is generated. Visual indication of the test’s performance is reflected in a Temperature & Pressure vs. Time graph and a Yield graph.

Features of this self-contained testing equipment include, among others, zoom in/out controls; Go/No Go alarms based on user settings; and automatic data backup to an SD card. The battery-operated unit can be recharged from any standard 115V AC or 12V DC source.

The company says that in addition to a reduction in operator intervention, the PIT5000 eliminates a learning curve for new personnel. It also saves time on setup and teardown.


3:54 pm
June 18, 2014
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Non-Stop Safety Solution Benefits Small and Mid-Range Applications

HIMA_Pressrelease_HIMax_XCPU31_2MBHIMA has expanded its HIMax safety system product line with a CPU for small and mid-range applications. Announced in late 2013, the X-CPU 31 module is now available worldwide.

According to the manufacturer, its original HIMax system featuring the X-CPU 01 with a separate system bus module is still appropriate for high-level safety applications. Smaller applications, however, will be able to benefit from the scalability and adaptability of the X-CPU 31, which integrates all functions of the system bus module.

Offered as part of HIMA’s FlexSILon complete solutions portfolio, this new CPU provides efficient burner and boiler management, leak detection for pipelines and control of turbomachinery. Its performance range includes emergency shutdown (ESD) and Fire & Gas (F&G) applications.


7:27 pm
June 9, 2014
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Powerful, Failsafe Controller Technology for Standard and Safety-Related Applications

Siemens Industry has introduced the SIMATIC S7-1518F, a failsafe controller with a bit performance of 1 nanosecond. Designed to increase flexibility, safety, efficiency and productivity at the plant-floor level, it’s suitable for high-end standard and safety-related machine and plant automation applications.

The S7-1518F has four communication interfaces: a Profinet interface with a 2-port switch for communication with the field level, two Profinet interfaces and one Profibus interface. The unit also accommodates up to 128 drive axes, operates isochronously in 250 microseconds and has 10MB of memory.Screen Shot 2014-06-09 at 1.41.46 PM

Siemens has also introduced the SIMATIC S7-1516F CPU. Programs can be easily created with the Step 7 Safety Advanced V13 engineering tool that incorporates drag & drop, project-wide cross-reference list, safety administration editor, online/offline comparator and additional integrated-system-support functions. The tool creates fail-safe applications and delivers the same engineering and operating concepts for both standard and safety-related tasks.

Both CPUs are certified to EN 61508 (2010) for functional safety and are suitable in safety-relevant applications up to SIL 3 according to IEC 62061 and PL e according to ISO 13849. Additional password protection has been set up for F-configuration and F-program for IT security.


4:28 pm
June 9, 2014
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High Integrity Safety System Works Alone or With Any DCS, PLC or HMI

Screen Shot 2014-06-09 at 11.07.08 AMABB has released its High Integrity (HI) safety system for use with any ABB or third-party control system, PLC or operator interface. This TÜV certified release lets users leverage the system for any SIL 1-3 application and to interface all necessary information to the existing control system and/or operator interface.

The offering includes an object-oriented engineering environment with SIL certified safety libraries that efficiently support reuse and engineering throughout the entire safety lifecycle. The engineering environment includes IEC 6113103 programming languages and the easy to use Diagram Editor as well as safeguards against non-SIL compliant configurations.

Core functions include system security, access control, confirm operations, force control, time-tagging to millisecond accuracy, audit trail, system diagnostics and difference reporting, all of which provide an extra layer of authentication for maintenance bypasses and force control, as well as enhanced capabilities for troubleshooting and root-cause analysis.

According to ABB, its new Independent High Integrity system is well suited to applications where deep integration with the process-control system isn’t required, such as relay replacements or systems where visualization is provided by an ABB or third-party process panel, simple HMI or control system. The HI hardware and engineering tool are also used with ABB’s Freelance and Symphony Plus control systems to deliver safety solutions that are SIL3 certified to Edition 2 of the IEC safety standards


7:54 pm
May 27, 2014
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Safer, Faster, Easier Flange Maintenance

052714EqualizerAccording to Equalizer USA,  its patented flange-spreading tools can be used with all flange-joint types, even those with no access gaps between them. The company says its new Equalizer SWi product range can make activities associated with flange maintenance in a plant safer, more efficient and more cost-effective than in the past.

Products in the SWI line are shorter and lighter than previous models and offer a 60% more spreading force and almost 30% more spreading-distance. Molded revolving handles, revolving safety lanyards and the absence of finger-pinch points enhance usability. Simpliefied disassembly and reassembly of these spreaders translates into easier maintenance of the tools themselves. The SWI range includes three different models:

  • Mechanically operated, the  SWi12/14TM (shown) is capable of exerting 14Tons of Spreading Force.
  • The SWi20/25TE is hydraulically operated by a separate hand pump and capable of exerting 24Tons of Spreading Force.
  • Featuring an integral hydraulic pump,  the SWi20/25TI is capable of exerting 24Tons of Spreading Force.