Confirming Electrical Isolations

The need to perform installation or maintenance work on electrically powered equipment necessitates that the equipment must be isolated (de-energised) so that it is safe to access. Simply switching off and locking an isolating switch is not sufficient. Isolations need to be proven to be sound.This paper explores the three drivers for confirming isolations. Namely industry fatalities, legal obligations and isolation switch failures. It also discusses the use of potentially misleading methods to confirm isolations.

Options for proving isolations such as manual testing, visible break isolators and SwitChek are compared.

This paper will appeal to maintenance engineers, project engineers, safety managers and electrical engineers. Of course, anyone involved in accessing an isolated machine should also be interested.

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