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Grounding and Bonding: Training Your Workers Need to be Safer on the Job


Grounding and Bonding: Training Your Workers Need to be Safer on the Job

While grounding and bonding may sound like something you’d do at yoga, in this context, it means the intricacies of grounding and bonding of electrical equipment in the industrial setting. A precaution against electric shocks, bonding is the final joining of metallic pieces that form a conductive path to ensure safe electrical continuity. Any accidental or intentional connection between an electrical instrument or circuit and the earth is called grounding.

In addition to being able to get through their working day without being injured, there are several reasons why employees who work with electricity need to have a thorough understanding of these concepts.

Article 250 of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Article 250 covers the grounding of electrical systems and circuits and exposed enclosures as well as the operation of overcurrent devices.

NFPA 70E – National Fire Protection Association Standard for Electricity in the Workplace. The NFPA is a sponsor of the NEC. Updated every three years, the 2017 version of NFPA 70E covers job safety planning, equipment labelling, creating a culture of safety, PPE selection, arc flash risk assessment, and risk assessment procedures.

Statutory training requirements. In 2016, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the Bureau of Labor raised its monetary penalties for safety standards violations. A willful violation of a standard, for example, electrical safety standards, can attract penalties of up to $126,000. Inspectors aren’t going to take your word for it that you discuss safety at sporadic meetings, they are going to want to see records of formal training sessions and certifications.

Getting your staff trained in grounding and bonding

In addition to saving you money in OSHA fines and maintaining your pristine, violation-free safety record, having your employees formally trained in grounding and bonding provides assurance to your staff and yourself that they are ‘current’ with electrical safety regulations. Here’s a look at some of the parameters to look for when choosing a suitable NFPA 70E course.

NFPA 70E covers many of the minimum safety requirements, protection fundamentals, and performance requirements that are essential for electrical installations. These include installation, testing, and inspection procedures for residential, institutional, commercial, and industrial power systems. It also encompasses the rules to minimize risks of electricity as a source of electrical shock and as an ignition source of explosions and fires.

Who should attend the seminar

Understanding the intricacies of bonding and grounding ensure a safer work environment and prolong the lifespan of your equipment. Experienced electrical workers as well as entry-level employees should attend the training. Typical professions include:

  • Safety directors
  • Energy management personnel
  • Building managers and superintendents
  • Facility and plant managers
  • Stationary engineers
  • Electricians and electrical contractors
  • HVAC maintenance and repair technicians
  • Building engineers

Following such a seminar, your people will be able to understand and apply bonding and grounding fundamentals and perform essential requirements for electrical design, installation, and inspection.

Identifying a suitable curriculum

A comprehensive course should be expected to cover a dozen or more topics. Among them should be:

  • Fundamentals of bonding and grounding
  • Basic discussion of a power-quality system
  • When and how to ground electrical systems and services
  • Service equipment and man bonding jumpers
  • Equipment and enclosure grounding
  • Grounding of electrodes, electrode systems, and electrode conductors
  • Clearing of short circuits and ground faults
  • Grounding separately derived systems
  • Ground-fault circuit-interruption protection
  • Grounding and bonding for special locations*
  • Grounding and bonding for 600V+ systems
  • Grounding and bonding for low voltage systems

*Special locations in this context are those places where there is a significant risk of fire or electrical shocks. Typical ‘special locations’ include baths and showers, marinas, or public swimming pools. Such locations require different IP codes and supplementary bonding.

How to get started

National Technology Transfer (NTT) delivers hands-on safety training and trade skills to workers all over the world on a wide range of subjects, including grounding and bonding. Our large team of expert instructors combine real-life experience with custom-built training equipment. They can bring the course to you for on-site training, saving you down time as well as travel and accommodation costs.

Alternatively, if you don’t have the classroom space, we have hundreds of off-site training locations all over the country. Connect us today to see how we can help you meet your industrial training requirements to keep your facility safe and avoid costly OSHA safety violations.

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