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Unformatted text preview: f material that does not conduct electricity (usually plastic, rubber, or fiber). Insulation covers wires and prevents Page 46 Section 7 conductors from coming in contact with each other or any other conductor. If conductors are allowed to make contact, a short circuit is created. In a short circuit, current passes through the shorting material without passing through a load in the circuit, and the wire becomes overheated. Insulation keeps wires and other conductors from touching, which prevents electrical short circuits. Insulation prevents live wires from touching people and animals, thus protecting them from electrical shock. A 29-year-old male maintenance worker was found at 3:45 a.m. lying on his back and convulsing. Beside him were an overturned cart and an electric welding machine, both lying in a pool of water on the concrete floor. Arcing was visible between the welding machine and the floor. The worker was transported to the closest hospital, where he was pronounced dead. An examination of the welding machine showed that there were exposed conductors in the machine's cables. There were numerous cuts and scrapes in the cables' insulation. On other parts of the machine, insulation was damaged or missing. Also, the machine did not have a ground connection. Investigators concluded that the maintenance worker was electrocuted when he tried to turn off the welding machine, which was sitting on the cart. The metal frame of the machine had become energized due to the damaged insulation. When he touched the energized frame, he completed the conducting path to ground. The current traveled through his body to ground. Since he was probably standing in water, the risk of a ground fault was even greater. You must take steps to decrease such hazards in your workplace: Ground circuits and equipment. Keep all equipment in good operating condition with a preventive maintenance program. Never use electrical equipment or work on circuits in wet areas. If you find water or dampness, notify your supervisor immediately. Insulation helps protect wires from physical damage and conditions in the environment. Insulation is used on almost all wires, except some ground wires and high-voltage power lines. Insulation is used internally in tools, switches, plugs, and other electrical and electronic devices. Special insulation is used on wires and cables that are used in harsh environments. Wires and cables that are buried in soil must have an outer covering of insulation that is flame-retardant and resistant to moisture, fungus, and corrosion. In all situations, you must be careful not to damage insulation while installing it. Do not allow staples or other supports to damage the insulation. Bends in a cable must have an inside radius of at least Make sure insulation is the right type and in good condition. Section 7 Page 47 S AF ET Y M O D EL S TAG E 3--C O N T rOLLING HAZArDS: SAFE WOrK ENVIrON M EN T 5 times the diameter of the cable so that insulation at a bend is not damaged. Extension cords come with insulation in a variety of types and colors. The insulation of extension cords is especially important. Since extension cords often receive rough handling, the insulation can be damaged. Extension cords might be used in wet places, so adequate insulation is necessary to prevent shocks. Because extension cords are often used near combustible materials (such as wood shavings and sawdust), a short in an extension cord could easily cause arcing and a fire. Insulation on individual wires is often color-coded. In general, insulated wires used as equipment grounding conductors are either continuous green or green with yellow stripes. The grounded conductors that complete a circuit are generally covered with continuous white or gray insulation. The ungrounded conductors, or "hot" wires, may be any color other than green, white, or gray. They are usually black or red. Conductors and cables must be marked by the manufacturer to show the following: maximum voltage capacity, AWG size, insulation-type letter, and the manufacturer's name or trademark. Arc-fault circuit breaker. Control hazards of shocking currents
Ground circuits and equipment When an electrical system is not grounded properly, a hazard exists. This is because the parts of an electrical wiring system that a person normally touches may be energized, or live, relative to ground. Parts like switch plates, wiring boxes, conduit, cabinets, and lights need to be at 0 volts relative to ground. If the system is grounded improperly, these parts may be energized. The metal housings of equipment plugged into an outlet need to be grounded through the plug. Ground electrical devices. Page 48 Section 7 Grounding is connecting an electrical system to the earth with a wire. Excess or stray current travels through this wire to a grounding device (commonly called a "ground") deep in the earth. Grounding prevents unwanted voltage on electrical components. Metal plumbing is often used as a...
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- Spring '09