GFCIs an Integrated Approach to Electrical Safety
Ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) are used in wet and hazardous settings and have proven to be a life-saving technology. A GFCI disconnects a circuit when it detects that the electrical current is not balanced between the energized conductor and the return neutral conductor. An imbalance can indicate current leakage through the body of a grounded person who accidentally contacts the energized part of the circuit. GFCI devices disconnect quickly enough to prevent injury.
Since being required for use in the late 1970s on 120V, single-phase, 15 and 20A temporary receptacle outlets used on construction sites, GFCIs in the construction industry have saved between 650 and 1,100 lives, according to OSHA. The GFCIs use now has expanded to include additional locations.
GFCIs, which should be used in any indoor or outdoor area where water may contact electrical devices, can be placed on individual electrical power cords (in-line GFCI) or deployed systemically to protect an entire system from ground faults, nuisance tripping, and other hazards. It’s important to select code-compliant GFCI components from a reliable source that can ensure all parts are compatible.
Fully integrated watertight wiring systems are now offered to deliver best-in-class GFCI protection in the toughest, wettest, most abrasive worksites and industrial plants. Proper utilization of the right technologies designed for the job can help prevent the causes of many electrical-related accidents, injuries, and deaths.
Technology only is part of the solution; training workers to effectively use this kind of technology will mean winning a few more battles against electrical injuries in the workplace.