SAFETY BY TOM O’CONNOR
Occupational Safety and Health
Administration (OSHA) and consensus
standards present some challenges
associated with equipment such as ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) available to
or installed by electrical contractors (ECs).
How has Leviton addressed the question
about their use compared to an Assured
Equipment Conductor Grounding Program
(AECGP) and the new National Electrical
Code (NEC) requirement to have both an
arc-fault circuit interrupter (AFCI) and GFCI
protection in certain locations?
The application environments and ratio-
nale for utilizing GFCI devices is well
documented. These devices immediately
disrupt current flow completely if they
detect an imbalance between current
supplied versus current returned back
through the neutral conductor. However,
in some instances, cutting power to the
connected equipment may cause more
harm than the potential shock hazard.
For example, cutting the power to life-
support equipment will most certainly
result in catastrophic injury or death.
In these cases, an AECGP may be more
appropriate. It requires periodic testing
of all equipment-grounding conductors of
cord sets and of those connected to recep-
tacles to ensure no faults will occur. While
this may not provide the same level of pro-
tection as a GFCI device, it is a means of
verifying the integrity of the safety ground
path in hopes that it will provide the path
for stray current rather than a person that
may be in contact with the equipment.
With regard to the new NEC require-
ment, Leviton now offers a combination
What equipment-design innovations
came about from changes in regulations
and standards (e.g., OSHA, National Fire
Protection Association (NFPA) 70E, NEC, etc.)?
The focus for OSHA and NFPA 70E has
largely been on education. Over the past
couple of cycles, the big changes are in
the development and/or enhancement of
employee safety training programs and
implementation of robust risk analysis
for determining the proper application
of equipment. This is true in other codes
and standards as well, such as NFPA 99.
Your Facility Safety publication, which
can be found at leviton.com, identifies
a number of hazards and solutions with
regard to regulations and standards. What
are the most common issues Leviton sees?
The most common issues seem to be
related to lockout/tagout requirements
and the improper use of standard in-wall
device boxes as components in temporary
power pendants or stringers. The lockout/tagout violations are more related
to improper processes and procedures,
while the temporary power pendant and
stringer problems are related to a lack of
understanding of the codes.
What has contractor and end-user
response been to that publication as
a whole and to the specific solutions
Many facilities use this as a checklist to
verify that they are in compliance with
the various codes and standards.
What advancements have you seen in
product development that regulations
and standards don’t currently address?
Technology is running ahead of regulation in the alternative-energy sector.
The rapid expansion of solar power—
both for individual buildings as well as
utility-scale power plants—is changing
the market in several ways. From a policy
standpoint, there is a need to manage private enterprises now engaged in power
generation activities, something that was
primarily a public utility responsibility.
From an electrical product and safety
viewpoint, there is a renewed interest in
DC [direct current] power and battery
storage that will require some oversight.
What challenges do you see in keeping
ECs abreast of the new products as
related to assisting with both their own
and end-user awareness of new product
availability, which will address common or
unique needs and proper use?
The pace of technological change makes
it extremely difficult to keep up with.
That, coupled with the convergence of
data and power, is forcing contractors to
broaden their knowledge base and skill
sets. Contractors will need to be proficient in Internet of Things concepts and
technologies to meet future demands.
What about challenges in ensuring safe
installation and maintenance of new
Large-scale DC microgrids and power
generation require a new level of understanding of electrical safety.
Any other recommendations to keep ECs
current with product development and
Staying closely involved with trade organizations ... [is] the best way to stay abreast of
change, as they serve as information clear-inghouses that make it easier to collect data
from the many sources that exist.
An interview with John Garbarino, Leviton
FOR THIS MONTH’S SAFETY COLUMN, I interviewed John Garbarino, director of marketing for Leviton’s commercial and industrial business division. Based in
Melville, N. Y., Leviton manufactures wiring devices and lighting energy management
systems, provides network and data center connectivity solutions, and develops security and automation applications.
O’CONNO R is safety and regulatory affairs manager for Intec, a safety consulting, training
and publishing firm that offers on-site assistance and produces manuals, training videos and
software for contractors. Reach him at
email@example.com. P H