Tool Box Talks For March 25th – March 29th

March 25, 2013 in Uncategorized

Good Afternoon Tool box Talks followers.  Our apologies for missing the tool box talks for last week.  Bratten Electric was experiencing some technical difficulties.  No worries.  We are back with full force.



Throwing Electrical Disconnects                           March 25th-March 29


It is important that when we throw (turn on or off) an electrical disconnect that we do it properly. When we utilize disconnects to lockout a machine some may think that it is just a matter of pulling down the switch, but there is much more to it.

Arc flash, which is a short circuit through the air that flashes over from one exposed live conductor to another conductor or to ground, can be one of the dangers in throwing a disconnect. These electrical explosions, similar to lightning, are instantaneous and contain so much energy that severe burns and even death can occur if you are directly in the path.

It is important to turn off the motors and/or machines prior to throwing an electrical disconnect. Never utilize the disconnect itself as an on/off switch.

There is also a specific way to turn off a disconnect called the “Left Hand Rule”. Most disconnect handles are mounted on the RIGHT side of the switch while the hinges are on the left. To turn off a disconnect:

  • Stand to the right side of the switch, not in front of the box.
  • Grab the disconnect with your LEFT hand
  • Turn your body and face away from the switch
  • Close your eyes.
  • Take a deep breathe and hold it.
  • Then “throw” the disconnect lever.

Using this method helps protect you if an arc flash does occur within the cabinet during the activity. This keeps you out of the direct line of fire as an arc flash explosion can blow the hinged door right off the electrical box. Taking a deep breathe and holding it ensures that if an explosion occurs, you don’t gasp and breath in the flames.

Remember this rule next time you go to lockout a piece of equipment at the disconnect. Arc flash explosions are rare, but they can cause life changing injuries. These quick and easy measures help protect you from years of pain and suffering.


Bratten Electric does not recommend any electrical work to be installed or modified by anyone but a certified electrician.

Tool Box Talks for March 11th-March 15th

March 12, 2013 in Uncategorized

Electrical Safety for Construction Sites             March 11th-March 15th



It doesn’t take a lot of electricity to kill you. The amount of current needed to light an ordinary 60-watt light bulb is five times what can kill a person. Thus, all electrical equipment on construction sites is potentially deadly.

Electrical extension cords are numerous on construction sites and become damaged because of the rough conditions in which they are used.
Inspect to ensure:

  • All extension cords are three-wire cords;
  • The ground pin is on a male plug;
  • There is no unbroken insulation on the cord;
  • End appliances (plug and receptacle) are gripped to insulation;
  • All wires are continuous and unbroken;
  • All cords are protected from damage, likely to occur when passing through a door or window;
  • Metal boxes with knockouts are not used on extension cords;
  • Plugs are dead-front (molded or screwed in place);
  • Romex (non-metallic sheathed cable) is not used as flexible cord;
  • Cords are not stapled or hung from nails;
  • Bushing is passing through holes in covers or outlet boxes.

Also, check these items:

  • Temporary lights are not supported by cords;
  • Bulb guards are used on temporary lights;
  • Electrical power tools with non-dead man switches have a magnetic restart (when injury to the operator might result if motors were to restart following power failures);
  • Provisions are made to prevent machines from automatically restarting upon restoration of power in place;
  • Outlets do not have reversed polarity;
  • Power tools are double insulated or have a ground pin;

Guard all of exposed electric of more than 50 volts so no one can come in contact (receptacles, light-bulb sockets, bare wires, load center, switches). Guard by:

  1. Using approved enclosures;
  2. Locating them in a room, vault or similar enclosure accessible only to qualified persons;
  3. Arranging suitable permanent, substantial partitions or screens so only qualified persons have access to the space within reach of live parts;
  4. Locating them on a suitable balcony or platform that is elevated and arranged to exclude unqualified persons;
  5. Elevating them 8 feet or more above the working surface.

It’s important to take the time prior to beginning work at construction sites each day. The fluid nature of the activities, along with the changing environment and high potential for damage can let these items become a hazard quickly.

Tool Box Talk for the week of March 4th – March 8th

March 4, 2013 in Uncategorized

Gas Cylinders – Do’s and Don’ts

Oxygen, Acetylene, Argon, Air, LPG, Nitrogen, and other gasses are found in metal cylinders on most every construction site. These portable containers, used for transporting and storing compressed gasses, can cause serious injuries. If used incorrectly, gas cylinders can cause an explosion, fire, or other hazardous situation. Handle them with care and follow appropriate safety rules. Let’s review some of the safety do’s and don’ts for using compressed gas.
I .You must always keep cylinders in a secure and upright position.
2. Keep the protective valve cap in place when a cylinder is not in use.
3. Mark the cylinder ‘Empty’ or ‘MT’ when the gas has been used.
4. Keep oil and grease away from oxygen cylinders (oil and oxygen can ignite spontaneously).
5. Open valves slowly, using the valve wheel or T-handle wrench provided by the supplier.
6. Store oxygen and fuel gas cylinders at least 20 feet apart or separated by a 5 foot high noncombustible barrier.
7. If the cylinder is too heavy to handle use a hand truck to move it, or ask a co-worker for help.
1.Don’t permit sparks, flames, or molten metal to contact the cylinder.
2. Never use grease or oil on valves.
3. Don’t lift cylinders without safety caps in place.
4.Never use oxygen to blow or dust off your work clothes.
5. Don’t roll cylinders horizontally on the ground.
6. Never drop cylinders on the ground or other work surfaces.
7. Don’t store oxygen cylinders with other fuel gas cylinders.
8. Never use a leaking gas cylinder. Take it out of service immediately.
Never mix or match acetylene gauges with oxygen gauges.