How to Create A Safe and Effective Electrical Maintenance Program
To comply with NFPA 70E 2018 Edition regulations and to reduce overall operating costs, your company has just decided to replace the calendar based, open panel electrical inspections with safer, condition based maintenance programs. As the director of the maintenance team, you are researching the topic to help achieve this company goal. You have been exposed to condition based maintenance and NFPA 70E discussions at past educational seminars and you know there is a library of information on the subject. What information have you found?
An electrical condition based maintenance program is a schedule of regularly scheduled maintenance testing events and data collection on the critical assets to evaluate the health of those assets. Performing frequent inspections and trending the data over time may help pinpoint an asset that is beginning to show signs of deterioration. Once an asset has been identified as a potential failure risk, a preventive maintenance event can be scheduled and performed before a failure occurs.
Based on your research, you have outlined an action plan identifying the steps required to achieve this goal:
- Conduct a thorough analysis to identify the critical electrical assets where a failure would be catastrophic to the company’s operation
- Analyze what technologies are commercially available to inspect and collect surveillance data specific for determining the health of your assets. Common technologies available are infrared thermography, airborne ultrasound, structure borne ultrasound, motor current analysis, partial discharge testing, visual inspections and online temperature monitoring.
- Consult with a vendor that specializes in electrical maintenance safety devices (EMSDs) such as IRISS. Vendors are willing to assist you with a walk around of your facility and make recommendations on products and services needed to achieve the goal.
- Perform a ROI comparison between the costs of adopting technologies to support a condition based program vs. the cost of planned inspection downtime, unplanned downtime, repair or replacement of failed assets and impact to the company’s end users
- Schedule product installations and training for your team
Your research also confirmed that adoption of a condition based maintenance program utilizing EMSDs falls under the Second Control of the NFPA 70E Hierarchy of Risk Control Methods called SUBSTITUTION. Most electrical assets must be inspected under full load. EMSDs are new “Safety by Design” products that enable safe electrical inspections to be performed under normal load without opening the equipment doors or covers that would expose workers to risk. Such products are redefining how inspections of electrical assets can be performed. With the NFPA 70E 2018 regulations in place, EMSDs are the logical choice for moving towards a condition based maintenance program.
Once your company fully adopts the condition based maintenance program, the recognized benefits will be reliable company operations, the highest level of safety in the workplace and controlling operating costs by eliminating the risk of an unplanned power failure. Compliance with NFPA 70E 2018 regulations is confirmed by using EMSDS to inspect energized electrical assets while eliminating the risk of injury in the workplace.