GFCIs for Commercial and Industrial Applications
Prevention through Design with Special-Purpose GFCIs
With power, comes great responsibility.
Companies must never take electrical shock lightly, or believe that safety training and PPE are enough on their own. Hundreds of workers are killed every year from electrical shock. More than 90 % of electrical fatalities among US workers are due to electrical shock, and tens of thousands of electrical shock incidents over the years resulted in injuries that required time away from work.
Ground-fault circuit protection is one of the most effective preventative measures against electrical shock because it actively reacts to irregular electrical conditions regardless of a person’s qualifications or use of PPE. Where applicable, they are an out-of-sight-out-of-mind practice that require zero energy from the workers for it to guarantee their safety.
This paper will begin with a brief overview of the conditions that make an electrical shock hazard potentially lethal (which aims to help readers understand why lower voltages do not constitute safer conditions). Then, it will provide a discussion of how ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) are used to keep workers safe from electrical shock.
Specifically, this paper will discuss:
- How electrical shock affects the human body
- How GFCIs work
- Different GFCI classes and their respective applications
- How GFCI protection is different than equipment ground fault protection
- NEC GFCI requirements
- Applications where GFCIs are not required by the NEC but are essential due to the electrical shock hazards that are present in these applications
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