Saturday, November 22, 2014

Rule changes for safety in plugging in vehicles to keep engines warm in cold climates causes more headaches than its worth

It use to be receptacles which served  buses and trucks which had to be plugged in overnight to allow them to start in cold climates did not have to have GFCI protection because heaters for engine blocks where considered  a nuisance trip  of the Ground Fault units . But NFPA and NEC changed the rules and said no they where getting too many reports of drivers getting shocks and vehicles catching fire that GFCI are now required on these receptacles. Ok So now we put in the GFCI receptacles and they trip out during the night and vehicle gets cold and does not start.

One way around this is to put a light bulb and or install a relay that trips an alarm to let fleet owner know the GFCI has tripped like I did recently at a schools bus lot  the yellow and blue light will go out if one of the GFCI trips .

When security people ride by at night they can see if the receptacles are working.
Fine and dandy but what about the vehicle that trips the receptacle as soon as you plug in the vehicle?
Well that now means it does not get plugged in or mechanic has to change the heater that evening.
In many cases this does not happen so some one takes an  extension cord inside the building plugs into a normal outlet and this is done till mechanic changes it.  Which defeats whole issue of why this code was put in place and could well result in a fire.

While I appreciate the fact drivers do receive shocks on occasion the main reason it happens is sloppy fleet management  when cords are not properly maintained and the same fleet that does not maintain its cords is the same fleet that will bypass GFCI receptacles and put in normal ones so they do not have to deal with GFCI Trips.

Once again a code put in place to protect people not thought thru while yes it will protect good fleet operators the people the code was intended for go unprotected because a bad fleet operator does not care to follow codes or safety practices.

Now why could there not be a receptacle non GFCI that is under the mechanic supervision  that could allow a vehicle to be plugged in while awaiting repair and marker put on vehicle that its not properly protected see mechanic before operating ?  No you see no one at NFPA or NEC has enough brains to sit and figure that one out its
if heater unit is bad change it well thats fine and dandy when you have the required units and mechanic available to do it  immediately but in mean time if you do not NFPA and NEC want you to leave vehicle out of service in the cold and the engine and oil freezing and seizing up . Isn't that just nice.

The problem as usual with NFPA and NEC is no one ever thinks anything all the way thru just pass something to make it safe and if it does not work we will change it in the next code revision.
which is why I say  NFPA stands for nothing more than.
Not For Practical Application.   Never listen to us who work in the field and get out input just do it based on something thats not an issue in the first place.

1 comment:

  1. Very good article Nick. Yes it is true. While codes and regulations are written with the intention of protecting us, they cannot be relied upon unless they are recognized and adhered to by all that participate in this industry. With fraud at an all time high in the contracting world it is no wonder that common sense does not prevail over dollars and cents.