What does the new NFPA 70E 2018 Standard mean to you?

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The NFPA 70E has been the go-to playbook for electrical safety practices since 1979 when it was first published. To keep it updated and current, every three years it is revised to include new regulations and requirements for electrical safety. The 11th edition, also known as the 2018 version, is right around the corner and there are hundreds of minor and major revisions specifically, regarding Arc Flash that you need to educate yourself on.

So, what does all this mean to you the employer? Why should you care?

Complying with consensus standards can be difficult. NFPA 70E offers electrical safe work practices for the industry. The NFPA 70E is a how-to-comply instruction manual for several of OSHA’s regulations including electrical hazard assessments and how to select the appropriate PPE for electrical hazards. It is however ever changing and keeping up with all the changes can be difficult.

OSHA enforces compliance to NFPA 70E using Section 5(a)(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, which is commonly referred to as the GENERAL DUTY CLAUSE, as the basis for implementation. As the employer, you “shall furnish to each of its employees’ employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or likely to cause death or serious physical harm to employees.” As a result, companies can be cited by OSHA for non-compliance of NFPA 70E.

It is more important than ever that you utilize a third party that specializes in Arc Flash Risk Assessments and has the experience and knowledge of the OSHA and NFPA 70E requirements. Call Thompson Automation and Specialty Services today at 844.321.3869 to learn more and to find out how we can help you stay compliant with OSHA and the new NFPA 70E standards.

www.thompsonspecialty.com

 

‘The Industrial Internet of Things’ (IIoT) Should Matter to Your Manufacturing Operation

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Manufacturing operations of all shapes, sizes, and types are using the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) to achieve substantial competitive advantages, and improve profits.

The Industrial Internet, also sometimes referred to as Industry 4.0, is the connection and linking of concepts such as big data, analytical tools, and decision making, and connected networks with traditional industrial equipment.  It is about collecting and applying data to make better decisions, run facilities more efficiently, and in the end to improve profits. The IIoT is in the process of revolutionizing manufacturing.

Some ways that the IIoT has impacted traditional industrial manufacturers, food processors and those in agricultural processing is by improving the collection of system data that allows better record keeping, inspection tracking, and analysis in functional areas such as predictive maintenance, safety, and supply chain.  The IIoT advantages can be especially beneficial in those areas.

The promises of the IIoT and the changes that Industry 4.0 are bringing are no longer ‘coming attractions’.  They are here and for companies that embrace the potential of the IIoT there are substantial competitive advantages, increases in profit, and new opportunities abound.  This is a concept that deserves your attention.

If you have more questions or are looking for ideas and more information on the IIoT or other best practice automation programs give the experts at Thompson Automation and Specialty Services a call today.  Given their 30+ years of experience as an automation solutions provider, Thompson specializes in the development of custom controls and automation programs for customers across the country.   Thompson Automation is not about “products” and fitting you into the mold of what the “system” will do rather we focus our time fitting the best solution around your needs.  Crafting custom solutions to meet our customers’ specific needs is what we do.

www.thompsonspecialty.com

 

Thompson Automation Supports Technology Field Day at Loess Hills Elementary

 

Thompson Automation was excited to participate in a Technology Field Day at Loess Hills Elementary on October 26th.  The idea was born from a conversation between Kent Grange of Thompson and John Beeck the principal of Loess Hills.  As a technology-centric elementary school, it was a great opportunity to connect these young students with the technology used by Siouxland businesses.

A select group of local Siouxland Business’s presented to 5th graders as a showcase the various skills needed for different careers, with a large focus on literacy and technology.   “We were able to share with the students the different things that can be done with the programming and technology skills they are learning,” said Jason Glover of Thompson Automation.  “It was a really fun chance to help these students see what they do in school are the skills they will need in a career.”

The event was so successful that there is now talk about making the Technology Field Day an annual event.  Thompson’s participation was also part of a larger corporate program to be active in our communities and support local events.

Keep Your Electrical Gear Clean and Tight

Electrical failures often can be avoided and good preventative maintenance programs can help predict the imminent failure of equipment.  According to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the failure rate of electrical equipment is three times higher when electrical preventive maintenance programs are not performed. This tells us that electrical failures can be avoided.

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But what should be included in a good electrical preventative maintenance program (EPM). There are so many things that could be done.  Equipment maintenance, cleaning, and thermal imaging are just a few of the things to be considered.  However, where does one put the priority?  Just consider the top causes of failure in electrical system: loose connections, improperly installed parts, defective/inadequate insulation, foreign objects causing short-circuiting, overloading inadequate capacity, and the accumulation of dust, dirt and oil.  All things that can be prevented with routine and systemic electrical inspections.

Common in all these causes of electrical equipment failure is gear not being clean and well maintained.  Here are things to keep in mind when developing an EPM.

  1. Keep your gear clean. The buildup of dirt and metal debris in an electrical enclosure can cause arcing and arc flash explosions. A second issue brought about by the buildup of dirt and debris is an increase in heat and the temperature of the electrical equipment.  Restricted airflow and an increase in the temperature of gear decreases the quality and usable life of the equipment.  Finally, a dirty environment also creates a hospitable home for rodents and vermin. Dust is not your only enemy in dirty environments and lurking to cause problems.
  2. Keep your gear tight. Loose connections are a major cause of electrical failures. Greater than 75% of the problems uncovered during routine thermal imaging inspections are loose connections. Thermography (infrared scanning) is a common way to identify areas that need repair but must be done while the gear is energized. While the gear is off and being cleaned why not take an extra minute to check and tighten those loose connections.

If you have more questions or are looking for ideas and more information on best practice electrical preventative maintenance programs give the experts at Thompson Automation and Specialty Services a call today.  Given their 85+ years of experience as an electrical contractor, Thompson specializes in the development of custom electrical preventative maintenance programs for customers across the country.  Thompson understands the importance of keeping facilities safe, efficient and operating at peak performance and can custom tailor a program for you.

www.thompsonspecialty.com

Nebraska Safety Council Conference and Trade Show

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Thompson Automation and Specialty Services was pleased to support the Nebraska Safety Council Conference and Trade Show October 11th and 12th, 2017 at the Cornhusker Marriott Hotel in Lincoln, NE. This exciting conference brought together a larget group of safety professionals to keep current on a broad range of issues, get valuable training, and network with colleagues and industry experts. Jason Glover of Thompson was there to discuss some of the new OSHA, NFPA 70E, electrical safety and preventive maintenance needs for the varying industries in Nebraska.
 
Thompson strongly supports the Nebraska Safety Council and WorkWell mission of enhancing Nebraska’s safety initiatives by offering professional training, education and technical assistance. Great training and great technology allows the industry to propel itself forward and provide innovative solutions to solve Nebraska largest safety issues. Thompson Automation and Specialty Services provides automation & controls support and specialty electrical services to help our customers operate their facilities more efficiently, keep in compliance with government and safety standards, run electrical systems at optimal energy efficiency levels, and help reduce the ever-growing energy costs. Services like Arc Flash Risk Assessment, Thermal Imaging, Breaker Testing, Electrical Preventative Maintenance, and courses in Electrical Safety Training all help keep a work environment safe and free from accidents.
Contact us today for more information on how we can help your business operate safely, energy efficiently, cost-effectively, and in compliance for years to come.

South Dakota Safety Council

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Thompson Automation and Specialty Services was pleased to join the South Dakota Safety Council October 4, 2017, at the Sioux Falls Convention Center as they celebrated their 25th Annual South Dakota Safety & Health Conference!  This exciting conference brought together the largest group of safety professionals to keep current on a broad range of issues, get valuable training, and network with colleagues and industry experts.

If you were there you could have had the chance to hear a presentation on ARC Flash OSHA/NFPA 70E requirements by Jeff Bennett, Thompson Automation, and Specialty Services Corporate Safety Director.  Supported by OSHA, the current NFPA 70E changes bring a new level of regulations that employers must understand when it comes to Arc Flash, PPE and training requirements. This training program covered some of the important changes in the 2015 NFPA 70E regulations and gave attendees a better understanding of those requirements and what employers must do to protect their employees in the case of an arc flash event.

“Whatever your organization’s size or industry, if you’re responsible for workplace safety and health, this was a must-attend event in South Dakota”, expressed Jason Glover, General Manager of Thompson Automation and Specialty Services.  “If you could not make it and are interested in more information on Arc Flash safety and your requirements under OSHA and the NFPA contact us and he can help you out.  It is critically important that you understand these changing and complex regulations.”

For more information on Thompson Automation and Specialty Services reach out to us at 844-321-3869, visit our website at www.thompsonspecialty.com, or email us at help@thompsonspecialty.com.

The South Dakota Safety Council has a long history of effective programs, strong regulations, and dedicated professionals working together for safety.  The South Dakota Safety Council, a private, not-for-profit organization, has been dedicated to promoting safety and health for more than 68 years. They provide safety, health and risk avoidance training and services. Membership in the South Dakota Safety Council helps employers prevent injuries and costly claims, increase productivity and stay competitive. If you wish to join the 400+ employers who are members. Take a look at what membership can do to strengthen your safety and health programs. Learn more at: www.southdakotasafetycouncil.org/memb/benefits.cfm.

Thermal Imaging is a Critical Piece of EPM

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Electrical systems, just like mechanical systems, are prone to failure over time due to age, poor maintenance, and the stress of overuse.  People often wrongly assume that because electrical systems lack moving parts there is not a need for electrical preventative maintenance (EPM).  Nothing could be further from the truth.  While no one can claim to be perfect at identifying electrical problems before they arise, a good preventative maintenance program can help predict the imminent failure of equipment.   The early detection of problems can allow you to catch small issues before they become big ones.  A challenge faced, however, is the determination of what the right EPM program is.

While there is not a single EPM program or field of study that would catch all problems the most reliable and cost-effective inspection to have conducted is Thermal Imaging. Thermal Imaging is a non-contact, non-destructive technology proven effective in the early detection of imminent failure in an electrical and mechanical system. When properly conducted a Thermal Imaging inspection can identify “hot spots” or areas of a potential problem that necessitate further investigation and maintenance.  As you can see in this image, an area of concern is identified for further evaluation by the heat or temperature difference it is putting off against the ambient temperature.

If you have more questions or are looking for ideas and more information on Thermal Imaging or other best practice electrical preventative maintenance programs give the experts at Thompson Automation and Specialty Services a call today.  Given their 85+ years of experience as an electrical contractor, Thompson specializes in the development of custom electrical preventative maintenance programs for customers across the country.  Thompson understands the importance of keeping facilities safe, efficient and operating at peak performance and can custom tailor a program for you.