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Electrical Testing: Read All Labels

Janet Cornett May 5, 2018 0

A quality multimeter helps electricians gauge current, voltage and resistance in circuits. Also known as a VOM or volt-ohm-milliammeter, this essential tool comes in several models and each has its own special features. The one you get should be based on your job requirements and should give you precise measurements as well.

Multimeters were made to maintain safety standards when it comes to electrical work. The hazards of this occupation can be deadly in untrained hands since they leave little to no response time since personnel are in direct contact with live circuitry. During routine maintenance tasks for instance they may come in contact with an energized terminal and leave fingerprints behind.

Electrical Testing

If the test tool they are using refuses to work or in case a fault occurs during a reading, the results can be fatal or highly injurious to health. To prevent this from happening all electrical engineers and personnel should be trained to follow safe work practices especially when they are using multimeters. This includes inspecting the tool before use.

According to OSHA safety standards, all employees should be able to show that they are able to choose, examine, use and maintain their testing equipment personally. In case they are incapable of demonstrating any of those tasks their equipment should be confiscated and they should be re-trained immediately.

This is important for their own safety since most test methods involve energized components. The 3 point test method for instance is a critical safety task in which technicians confirm whether there is a voltage during a lock or tag out process. Once they are done with the test, they may place their bare hands on a component that should not be energized.

However, if they are working with a malfunctioning or broken multimeter they may end up with life threatening injuries or worse. It is also crucial that they are trained in the method for their own safety

The process goes like this:

Step 1 –technicians confirm that the DMM is working correctly when they are testing for voltage by switching to ‘voltage’ through an energized source. They can also do this by using a proving unit and checking to see the reading in the meter.

Step 2 – The circuit that is to be tested is verified through phase to phase and phase to ground. The result should be 0 energy.

Step 3 – The DMM should indicate voltage once the test probes are put in place on an energized source or via a proving unit. These are used to determine whether the meter is working properly without the need for personal protective equipment.

OSHA Guidelines

As per OSHA regulations as well as the Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace, proper steps should be taken during equipment tests. In addition, only qualified personnel should be allowed to use test tools on energized systems that have 50 volts of electricity going through them.

In addition, only qualified personnel should be allowed to use test tools on energized systems… Click To Tweet

The multimeter is the most common testing equipment used to determine this and employers have to make sure that their workers can demonstrate how to use it safely. Failure to do so can lead to costly fines and possibly incarceration.

A DMM test can go something like this – a unit must be rated for the circuit it is meant for and the technician who is using it should be able to explain said ratings. This includes explaining test probe ratings and accompanying accessories. The first thing they need to do is to determine voltage of the system that is to be tested. These readings can be found on nameplates and drawings on systems which technicians should be able to decipher.

In addition, electrical technicians should be made aware of the dangers of using an improperly rated DMM. Otherwise, the results can be tragic.

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