A component of a facilities electrical safety program is the maintenance and care of their electrical equipment and devices. With preventative maintenance and testing there is no “one size fits all” solution. Chapter 2 of NFPA 70E – The Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace offers general requirements for safety related maintenance but is not specific nor does it provide details for the frequency of performing electrical maintenance on a facility’s electrical infrastructure. The details and procedures for a facilities maintenance programs are largely left up the employer to implement and develop.
Part of a maintenance program would be tailored to the characteristics of the facility’s electrical equipment condition and its age. Factors that may affect the service life expectancy include electrical/mechanical stresses and environmental factors. Electrical stresses may include excessive loading, harmonics on a system, overvoltage, surges, and arcing faults to name a few. The environmental factors include humidity or moisture damage, corrosion, and heat related damages. Given favorable environment and regular maintenance the typical life expectancy of an electrical panel is generally expected to be 30-40 years. Equipment outside their useful lifespan are not only subject to possible electrical faults. The electrical equipment itself may have obsolete components or no longer supported by the manufacturer, resulting in further downtime and loss of production to make necessary repairs.
According to the US Fire Administration, electrical distribution systems rank 4th in the leading causes of fires in homes and in buildings. Many of which are originated in panelboard and other electrical systems that have not received proper maintenance. Further, it has been noted that 77% of these failures can be reduced by implementing a preventative maintenance program. On average a small electrical failure results in a minimum of 6 hours of interruption and can have the potential for significant loss of capital resources.
ISG can offer an electrical assessment of your facilities entire electrical distribution and equipment to identify potential hazards resulting from improper maintenance that could cause an electrical accident. These assessments would include a full inventory, age of the equipment, condition of the equipment, and the expected remaining service life based on those factors. ISG would provide the client with a detailed report of their findings along with providing an equipment replacement schedule and costs for your facilities budgeting purposes.
Blog Written By: Royal Streed, PE