January 17, 2013
Enterprise Solutions Address Safety Concerns in Industrial Automation
By Susan J. Campbell
TMCnet Contributing Editor
Conversations surrounding industrial automation tend to focus on the benefits afforded with new innovations. As industrial and manufacturing environments continue to shift toward modernizing their environments with automation, electrical systems are receiving significant upgrades. While this is good news in the long run, it can present considerable electric hazards in the process.
To reduce the exposure to shock and arc flash, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) released a 2012 update to the 70E standard. This Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace was meant to address the risks associated with automation innovations. The main purpose of this standard is to address the safety and risks in work areas due to the rising use of electricity.
As highlighted in this Panduit white paper
, the latest update responds to new information regarding the effects of arc blast, arc flash and hazards now inherent in the data center. It also focuses on electrical design developments and Personal Protective Equipment. For those companies operating in the manufacturing or industrial industries and adopting automation, it’s important to understand these changes and how they will impact their organization.
An arc flash presents considerable risk for workers and is generally the result of an electrical fault. The fault generates an art that then ionizes the air and leads to combustion. The arc is caused generally by mechanical (dropping of parts, accidental touching, loose connections, etc.) or environmental elements (dust, water, corrosion, etc.). The result of this arc is where the danger lies as it can create high temperatures, pressure waves, shrapnel, sounds waves and electric shock.
The NFPA 70E reports that as many as 80 percent of all hospital admissions due to electrical incidents are the result of burns from an arc flash and the subsequent ignition of flammable clothing. Electrical shock itself is much less common. Perhaps the most alarming reality is that the energy released by the arc flash has the power to be fatal at distances of just 10 feet.
To better protect workers and focus on the prevention of electrical incidences, organizations in the target fields need to adopt enterprise solutions
that help ensure NFPA 70E compliance. This includes minimizing the energy workers are exposed to while work is performed. Using NFPA 70E, employers can calculate or estimate the hazard or risk associated with specific activities. It also addresses the safe methods for the installation of any special or electrical equipment.
The right enterprise solutions will help to create a proper training program and guidelines to create a safe working environment
. By following the NFPA 70E guidelines, workers are educated about the risks inherent in their environments and employers can design workstations that adhere to strict guidelines that minimize risk and treat the dangers associated with electrical automation with the appropriate regard.
In partnering with Panduit, these companies have access to enterprise solutions that consist of relevant services and products that are designed to help mitigate the risks created by hazards in the workplace. This includes an entire system of reliable solutions, as well as the necessary ongoing support to ensure customers consistently comply with regulatory standards and keep employees and property safe.
Panduit offers a safety solution that is a single point of contact to ensure the protection of infrastructures and people when energized systems and equipment are present. These enterprise solutions address faulty identification, lockout
devices and tags, hazard risk avoidance, and training tools and templates.
At the end of the day, industrial automation fails to deliver the anticipated value if the risks associated with its operation are too great. Panduit works with companies to ensure their environments not only meet with compliance requirements in the industry, but with safety standards set by the organization.
Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO Miami 2013, Jan 29- Feb. 1 in Miami, Florida. Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert)
. Follow us on Twitter