Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Electrical safety...stories that are funny now, but weren't so funny then...

We are having a bit of a "training opportunity" here in Pearl, after an electrical safety "problem" recently. And the training I went to brought up a funny (now...since it's after the fact and no one was seriously hurt) story.

Underway on mighty TUCSON several years ago, I was catching a flick late one evening in the crew's mess (rare, for a nuke, getting a movie in). Being on the 18-24 watch, the forward end of the boat was darkened, as was the crew's mess (for the movie).

Now you know that an electrician's job never ends (thankfully I'm an RC Div type), so in the middle of the movie EM2 John Doe (name changed to protect the guilty) came in, eliciting grumbles as he stepped over/around/on several of his shipmates to get to a P-panel in the aft port side (yes, all the way in the furthest reaches) of crew's mess. He needed to hang danger tags on a set of fuses in the panel, for some such piece of gear (an aux drain pump, precipitator, something minor like that).

Now, the smart thing would have been to pause the flick, turn on the lights, and let him do his of course we didn't do that, did we? No...left the lights out, bitched and moaned about him interrupting the movie, typical sailor stuff. EM2 was reduced to holding a pocket flashlight in his teeth as he opened the P-panel and grabbed the first fuse (with fuse pullers, thankfully). Now we all know that P-panels are supposed to be secured (and themselves danger tagged) before opening them to pull of course Mr. Murphy and that damn law of his had this one energized.

The load he was pulling the fuse for was apparently under load, too, as (bad) luck would have it...because when he pulled that first fuse a blue arc lit up the back end of crew's mess. EM2 stood on the bench he was on, holding the fuse pullers and fuse, frozen with a look of utter terror on his face (well deserved, too).

The movie was stopped this time, and the panel closed (and secured, before any damage could be done to the load in question from running on only 2 of it's 3 phases). The critique, I'm told, was rather brutal, and a lot of people were not writing/hanging tags for a while (nor doing maintenance).

In summary: Fuse pullers-$5...tagout sheet and tags-$1.50...the look on EM2's face when he realized he was lucky to be alive-Priceless.


At 1:18 PM, Blogger Rhumsquall said...

We had a good laugh on USS TUNNY (SSN 682) when a nub MM decided to take the filters off an energized electrostatic precipitator in the engineroom. Lightening bolts ensued, and the sailor did a fantastic rendition of the funky chicken. (We eventually deenergized it so he could let go...)
Yes those red tags are worth their weight in PAIN!!!

At 7:11 AM, Blogger chaoticsynapticactivity said...

Great story...

Two guys I met after I got out had been ship's company airdales on a CV during overhaul and got put in charge of tag out...they got smart and wrote a DOS based program (state of the art for the ship then).

They got out, left it "in their wake," not wanting to violate Federal law..

Clinton changed the rules, so they got together and wrote it in Windows, and have been very successful in the powere generation market, and now are getting into the Chemical production field..

Bootom line: The Navy tag out system is superior to the vanilla OSHA reqts everyone was using, so they are making some $$$$$...

Technology transfer, gotta love it...

Lock Out Tag Out

At 11:16 PM, Blogger prolix said...

Nice Blog! Well most of your content and image is original and informative. /many thanks for sharing this, cheers.
Electrical Safety


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