We have various motors and 3 phase equipment connected to 240 or 480 VAC. Can an operator use the disconnect to turn the equipment on and off without Arc Flash PPE?
The question that you ask is very common and facility operators and workers indeed operate these types of equipment on a regular basis. The question is, are they doing so safely? I'll address the primary concern first, disconnect switches are not normally rated for switching a load on and off. This in itself is a dangerous behavior and can result in catastrophic equipment failure and worker injury. Second, a better question would be "Are we doing all we can to ensure that Arc Rated PPE is not required? PPE is always a last resort when it comes to protecting workers from workplace hazards. It is important that a proper risk assessments be done to determine if an electrical hazard does exist and develop ways to manage the risk.
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