Our industry has made numerous technological
advances designed to protect homeowners,
businesses and electrical workers. That makes
every fatal electrocution in the home all the
Between 2010 and 2013, the U.S. saw an estimated average of 48
electrocution fatalities associated with consumer products per year,
with large and small electric appliances chief among them1. Tragedies
like these can be avoided, especially when the ground fault circuit
interrupter (GFCI) technologies needed to prevent dangerous events
are readily available.
As the principle NEMA representative at the National Electrical Code
(NEC) Code-Making Panel Two, I saw public input asking for increased
GFCI protection for the home during the 2017 code cycle. The code
panel expanded the GFCI requirement for facilities other than dwelling
units as part of section NEC 210.8(B). However, residential standards
improvements were sidelined.
Code updates happen for one main reason:
safety improvement. NEC (National Electrical
Code) Article 408.3 helps take electrical safety
for service entrance panels to a new level.
The code, updated in 2017, includes provisions to provide shock
protection via panelboard barriers. The barriers protect from energized
conductors on the line terminals of the main overcurrent protection
device (OCPD) in a panelboard. When the main circuit breaker in
a panel is turned off, line side terminals and conductors remain
energized from upstream via the utility or another panelboard. With
these barriers in place and the main OCPD turned off, installers are
better protected when pulling wires into the panelboard. Today, all
panelboards are shipped with shock-protective barriers. However,
barriers are new to installation procedures, so contractors may not
recognize them and accidentally throw them out—easily and often.
We’re all human and we all make mistakes. But mistakes in the electrical field can prove costly. Codes and standards work together to reduce mistakes and save lives, which is what makes NEC (National Electrical Code) Section 240.87, Incident Energy Reduction, so significant.
Every three years, members of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) meet to review, modify and add new National Electrical Code (NEC), or NFPA 70, requirements to enhance electrical safety in the workplace and the home. This year’s code review is well underway: the second draft of NEC 2020 is complete and the annual NFPA Conference and Expo is scheduled for late June.
What follows is a preview of what are, in my opinion, the most significant code changes on track to pass. In this blog, I’ll explore the reasoning for each change and the future steps the NEC may take beyond 2020 regarding:
Ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protection
Service entrance equipment
Available fault current and temporary power
This is a high-level overview. In the coming months, my Eaton colleagues and I will dig deeper into each topic as part of a continuing series on the 2020 code review cycle.
The production of counterfeit products is an increasing problem that affects the entire electrical industry. Counterfeit protective devices, like circuit breakers, including GFCI and AFCI for personal protection, pose one of the most significant risks to facility and employee safety.
Because counterfeit products are more difficult to detect than ever, we as an industry must do more to guard against their risks and liabilities. By purchasing products from authorized resellers and using available tools to authenticate products, buyers can ensure a safer supply chain that mitigates the risk sub-standard and counterfeit electrical safety devices pose.
Working on energized equipment is one of the more dangerous scenarios technicians face in the field. As a result, there’s been a concerted industry effort to improve the understanding of electrical shock and arc flash hazards. I believe one of the most important standards in this safety push is the restructured language within the 2018 edition of the National Fire Protection Agency’s (NFPA’s) 70E “Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace.”
In the past, the standard addressed electrical hazards and risks holistically when considering energized electrical work. But today’s latest guidelines now identify hazards and risks independently and include recommendations for a thorough risk analysis that considers the hazard, the planned work task and potential human error. Together, the changes result in a clearer understanding of energized work and help reduce electrical incidents.
When working with data center and commercial facility electrical systems, shocks of 100mA to more than 2,000mA are possible—definitely in the realm of serious harm to humans and property. Energized electrical equipment also presents the risk of arc flash caused by electrical faults that produce powerful explosions. When dealing with commercial and industrial electrical systems, such as uninterruptible power systems (UPSs) and their batteries, data center and facilities managers need to be aware of these risks, especially since some repair and maintenance procedures require working with a unit that is still energized. There are ways to minimize the risks to employees, equipment and the field technician performing the service.
This paper answers some common questions about UPS maintenance, how to reduce the risks associated with servicing UPSs and batteries, and how to qualify a UPS service provider.
Arc flashes—the fiery explosions that can result from short circuits in high-power electrical devices—kill hundreds of workers in the U.S. every year and permanently injure thousands more. They can also wreak financial havoc in the form of fines, lawsuits, and damage to expensive equipment.
This white paper aims to fill that knowledge gap by providing introductory-level information about what arc flashes are and what you can do to prevent them.
This white paper discusses the issues making data center cooling more challenging than ever and explains why starting the data center design process with the racks rather than the room can help businesses reduce energy consumption, increase capacity and optimize floor space utilization.
Cloud computing vendors and colocation data centers make every effort to maximize the scalability, efficiency and agility of their data centers. As a result, more and more of them are looking into replacing older, transformer-based centralized power protection schemes with distributed architectures in which uninterruptible power systems (UPSs) reside in the white space (or data hall).
This white paper describes the advantages of positioning UPSs in the white space as well as the essential qualities to look for in a white space-ready UPS.
This white paper explains why many data centers are ill-equipped to support today’s most important new technologies; discusses why packaged power and cooling solutions can be a flawed way to upgrade existing facilities; and describes the core components of a data center upgrade strategy capable of enhancing efficiency and power density more completely and cost-effectively.
When designing a power protection scheme for their data center, IT and facilities managers must ask themselves whether a distributed or centralized backup strategy makes more sense. Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to that question.
Companies must weigh each architecture’s advantages and disadvantages against their financial constraints, availability needs and management capabilities before deciding which one to employ.
This white paper will simplify the decision-making process and lessen the potential weaknesses of whichever strategy you ultimately select.
The 9PX delivered on every requirement, providing high availability and efficiency in a centralized solution. Magic Springs also gained up to 28 percent more wattage than comparable UPSs, with an exceptional power factor that positions them for future growth.
Learn more about how the 9PX ensured a smooth ride for Magic Springs, while fitting their projected power needs for the next five years.
In their search for top-of-the-class uninterruptible power systems (UPSs) for their demanding data center environment, WUSD wanted a system that would keep everything backed up with enough runtime for a graceful shutdown, but was also easily scalable. Equally important, the district wanted seamless integration with their virtual environment.
Find out how the Eaton 9390 UPS and the Eaton Intelligent Power Software (IPS) Suite made the grade.
In this white paper, Eaton experts give you an introductory overview of what a UPS is, and what kinds of UPSs are available, along with a comprehensive guide to matching the right UPS and accessories to your needs.
Virtualization can deliver dramatic benefits for data centers, but it can also stress the underlying support infrastructure. Power and cooling systems—which may have been quite sufficient for pre-virtualization needs—could easily become inadequate when data center performance patterns are radically altered. This paper describes some of power challenges related to virtualization—and the readily available technologies to address them.
If IT and Facilities could work collaboratively, organizations can operate more efficiently and effectively while still meeting their business objectives. That's why Eaton® is partnering with organizations that develop IT management systems to create an integrated approach to energy management. This white paper describes how a joint monitoring and management solution links IT assets, the data center infrastructure and Facilities assets into a holistic perspective aligned with business processes.
Though power protection solutions vary in numerous ways, all but the largest data centers use basic approaches when deploying uninterruptible power systems (UPSs): Either they distribute many smaller UPSs among their server racks or they install one or two large UPSs centrally within or near their server room. This white paper outlines each architecure's pros and cons.
Server virtualization empowers businesses to lower hardware spending, simplify administration and boost availability. For IT and facilities managers, however, it introduces challenges and opportunities.
For all their advantages, virtualization and cloud computing bring some unique challenges: higher power demands per server and enclosure, more critical applications residing on each server, and a need for greater visibility into power conditions.
This white paper aims to fill that knowledge gap byproviding introductory-level information about what arc flashes are, why they're so hazardous and what steps data center managers should take to safeguard their employees and infrastructure.
Budgeting for electricity, securing adequate supplies of it and finding ways to use less of it are all common topics of conversation among data center operators. Ensuring that the power their IT resources rely on is both dependable and clean, sadly, can sometimes be an afterthought.