Insulated tools have come a long way in the last 25 years. Doing a quick search on google you can find just about any type of tool you can think of with at least a 1000V insulation rating on it. But is it really necessary for industrial electricians to use insulated tools? I hope this story helps you think that they are a vital piece of an electricians safety arsenal.
Brian is an electrical safety trainer, and he has a great story.
One day, just like any other day at the plant, Brian was working inside a 480-volt motor control bucket. He was making a minor adjustment to the outside operating handle. He had the door to the MCC open, and he did not have his rubber insulated or leather gloves on.
Brian was using an uninsulated screwdriver to make the adjustments. The screwdriver slipped contacting C-phase on one end and contacting the door operating handle mechanism on the other end which created an arc flash. Brian found himself in a ball of fire.
Brian suffered burns to his hands which left him in the hospital for three days and off work for three months.
You can see a video of him telling his story here.
What could have prevented Brian's accident?
You could argue that Brian should have had the MCC de-energized while making adjustments to the door handle mechanism but that's not where I want to focus this article. What stood out for me was that Brian was not using an insulated screwdriver.
Industrial electricians are in and around energized electrical equipment with such a high frequency that using insulated tools should just be second nature. It would have prevented Brian's accident and I'm sure there are many more stories out there just like this one.
While purchasing a set of insulated tools might cause a bit of pain to you financially it would be nowhere near the pain of suffering through an electrical incident or even worse the pain your family would suffer if you didn't make it.
Don't take the risk and pick up a set of insulated tools before you head out on the job again.
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For more information with regards to on-site training and electrical safety consulting services, you can contact me directly.