Energized Electrical Work Permits

harlitg

New Member
Jan 14, 2017
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#1
In doing some research, and the fact that this becomes a hot button issue with some management personnel, I have found that EEWP can be issued for a extended period of time, for the same task. Example, racking 13.8kv breakers in a switchgear when none of the electrical safety parameters have changed. I have had companies state that EEWP needs to come from "Corporate" which may be in another state and they take to long. The result is work gets done without a permit in place which is a violation. If these extended permits were in place then the companies would be meeting the requirements of the EEWP. I would like your opinion on this.
Terry Harling, TTT Alum
 
Jan 26, 2017
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#2
I'm the electrical safety guy for a manufacturer where manufactured system testing involves exposed energized parts. All of our locations all do monthly blanket permits for typical system start up testing or servicing. We could do an annual permit but I believe a hazard risk analysis and job briefing needs to take place more frequently than that.
 
#3
Thanks for the post Terri and for the reply from Kent.

During our training classes, you would hear some of our partner instructors state that the point of the EEWP is to make the entire process so complex and protracted that it becomes easier to de-energize (LOTO) or to wait for a planned shut. Well it is also true that if something is rather difficult, smart people will find a way to circumvent it. This is a very real problem we face in safety!

I personally do not support blanket permitting nor do I support standing permits. The EEWP is intended for a single task at a single instance or a single task that may be repeated during the duration of a single exercise (as in an outage for example). If you are performing repetitive tasks, a formal work instruction or a standard operating procedure (SOP) should be established. It may appear as the same thing in principle, but it is fundamentally different and aims to protect the "persona" of an EEWP. Would a worker leave a temporary warning barricade tape around the 13.8kV breaker since it is racked regularly? No, they wouldn't. So why use an EEWP in the same fashion?

Although there is nothing illegal about such practices, it circumvents the aim and the expression of due diligence in the EEWP process and should be avoided.
 
Jan 26, 2017
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#4
Zarheer, I believe you'll find that Hugh Hoagland in his course teaches that permits can be annual for repetitive tasks. For what we do an individual permit for testing every single manufactured or serviced system is overly burdensome and management would never accept it.
 
#5
Correct Kent. It is part of the class and you will note in my reply that I have stated that there is nothing wrong with it. The point of my reply is that we should covert these into SOPs to address standing risks. I personally do not prefer blanket permits. I am willing to accept standing permits in specific cases, for e.g. during outages. Once again - it is perfectly legal, just a personal preference to convert these into SOPs otherwise we lose the intent of the EEWP requiring specific management oversight and risk assessment per task.
 
Likes: 1bigtsunami

Hugh Hoagland

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Dec 30, 2016
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#6
Blanket Permits are tough to implement unless it is a common task that is done by a limited group of qualified people.

We prefer that they not be used, as Zarheer states but some tasks just MUST be done energized but still require a permit. The annual requirement means that the personnel and the policy must be reviewed annually to assure full compliance to NFPA 70E's permit requirement. Note, some NFPA 70E members do not agree that blanket annual permits should be allowed no matter what.
 
Jan 26, 2017
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#7
We do monthly permits for repetitive tasks only. Our Electrical Safe Work Practices policy spells out clearly what qualifies for a monthly permit and what does not. In the management culture where I work I was lucky to win that much.
 

Hugh Hoagland

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Dec 30, 2016
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#8
That sounds VERY reasonable to me.

That was why we taught this idea. It is important to move cultures toward not doing energized work (other than troubleshooting and testing) but this isn't practical in many conditions especially if it is MORE unsafe in some manner to de-energize (even if the MORE unsafe part is a potential explosion, etc. which is NOT electrical).