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Electrical Safety, the NFPA and PLC Safety

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Practical Teaching

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

23.470.1 - 23.470.29



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Paper Authors


William T. Evans PhD P.E. University of Toledo

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Dr. William Evans earned his Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering in 2005 and his M.S.E.E. in 1975, both from the University of Toledo. He earned his B.S.E.E. in 1971 from UIUC. Dr. Evans has fifteen years experience as a controls engineer for industry, 27 years experience as a professor of Electrical Engineering Technology at U. of Toledo, and experience as a consultant to industry continued through PLC programming.

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Electrical Safety, the NFPA and PLC SafetyAs a professor responsible for teaching the principles of PLC programming, this presenter has alwaysconsidered it a responsibility to train students to be aware of the general rules for constructing anelectrical control panel. Both general practice and rules that have become part of the OSHA requirementsare considered. The present state of electrical control has outdistanced what was considered acceptablepractice as little as 20 years ago. New initiatives such as ArcFlash, NFPA 70E and the Europeaninitiatives for safety in the manufacturing environment have significantly changed what is accepted orlegal.The purpose of this paper is to distinguish what areas should be discussed and the depth of thatdiscussion. It is not enough to just introduce students to these concepts but in the case of the PLC coursesand electrical safety, a more thorough discussion is required.The courses presently required in the EET program have three chapters dedicated to the subjects of panelconstruction and electrical safety and safety in the design of electrical controlled machines. Thesechapters are at present free and online wevanspasswd: Myeet12Significant changes have occurred in the past year with each of the chapters. A look at these chaptersstarts the discussion as to these changes.The chapters in question are:Hybrid Text: Chapter 9 Planning the PanelHybrid Text: Chapter 10 Safety, Sensors, etcHybrid Text: Chapter 20 Safety PLC ProgrammingThese chapters should be significantly re-designed to include the latest relevant topics in areas such as: 1. ArcFlash Safety Practices (Short Circuit Safety Calculations) 2. NFPA 7-E Compliance 3. UL Guidelines 4. US Panels to CE Compliance (European Design) 5. Risk Assessment 6. PLC Open Safety Embedded Software 7. Achieving Reliability in Safety PLCs 8. Functional Safety from a European Perspective (BGIA Report) 9. Inclusion of Safety PLC Programming RequirementsThe materials listed above are, for the most part, free to the instructor to reproduce and use when teachingthe subject of safety as related to a hands-on course in PLCs or motors.The three chapters do not contain nearly enough examples and problems as well as content to satisfy thebasic needs of an Electrical Engineering Technologist ready to enter the job market today.The paper begins the discussion as to the content of these subjects as well as the rationale for includingthe above material in a course concentrating on PLCs (or motors) either in the second, third, or fourthyear of an Engineering Technologists’ coursework.

Evans, W. T. (2013, June), Electrical Safety, the NFPA and PLC Safety Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19484

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