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3 overtime rule concerns for employers and how to tackle them
3 overtime rule concerns for employers and how to tackle them
The overtime rule is here, and its challenges have been long documented. After months of speculation, the Department of Labor officially set the new FMLA overtime exemption salary at $47,476. The rule will force many employers to choose between rai...
MIT scientists discovers new, greener battery technology
MIT scientists discovers new, greener battery technology
Researchers from MIT have found an environmentally friendly process to "generate electricity that harnesses heat but uses no metals or toxic materials." This discovery is considered to be a breakthrough especially because most of the batteries produced...
Safety first if solar, fire mix
Safety first if solar, fire mix
Bill Doughman arrived at the Westmere Volunteer Fire Department in June with a solar panel and a thick, 3.7-pound tome with 910 pages of rules. The solar panel was to help Doughman teach firefighters what do when fires involve solar panels.
6 principles of effective maintenance management
6 principles of effective maintenance management
How do you keep your maintenance program on track and yield the best results from your investment? Have a plan and stick to it, but be ready to adjust it when conditions warrant.
Discrimination prevents electrical failures
Discrimination prevents electrical failures
Discrimination is the practice of selecting protective devices and adjusting their settings in order to limit interruption to electrical installations under fault conditions. When the devices in a distribution path are "coordinated" it reduces nuisance...
Don't forget to focus on preventing less extreme injuries on the construction jobsite
Don't forget to focus on preventing less extreme injuries on the construction jobsite
We all know safety is important on a construction jobsite, but most of the safety content we see focuses on the big accidents. Those are obviously the most important accidents to prevent because they can cause the most injury — including fataliti...
Enhancing the learning experience in K-12 schools: Electrical and power systems
Enhancing the learning experience in K-12 schools: Electrical and power systems
K-12 schools are among the most important projects engineers can tackle. Professionals with expertise in electrical, power, and lighting, offer design advice for educational facilities.
Pay attention to power quality
Pay attention to power quality
Looking for power quality issues typically is not done until such issues are suspected in a troubleshooting situation. If an area of the plant has power quality problems, but the equipment failure rates don't seem unusually high, a typical maintenance ...
Stop short-cycling those motors
Stop short-cycling those motors
You probably know that motors require more current to start than they do to run. What this means is motors have more heat generated in them when they start than when they are running. It takes time to dissipate the extra heat. The important thing is to...
Energy Department announces $25 million to accelerate integration of solar energy into nation...
Energy Department announces $25 million to accelerate integration of solar energy into nation...
As part of the Energy Department's ongoing efforts to modernize the nation's grid through the Grid Modernization Initiative, the Energy Department today announced $25 million in available funding through an effort called Enabling Extreme Real-Time ...
Injured construction worker makes safety personal
Injured construction worker makes safety personal
Steve Howe was working on tree removal for Kiewit during construction of the Sea to Sky Highway project in 2006 when a brutal accident changed both his life and his perspectives on worksite safety. Since his recovery &mdahs; which included 60 separate ...
Following selective coordination best practices
Following selective coordination best practices
Most people have experienced some type of electrical power loss. Some power losses are localized, involving only one — or perhaps several — circuits. Other power losses are spread over a wide area and involve an entire facility or several f...
More eyes on the invisible danger in confined spaces
More eyes on the invisible danger in confined spaces
In 2015, OSHA passed a confined space rule that offers additional protection to construction workers. In filling what it identified as a vital gap, OSHA estimates that as many 800 construction workers a year will be protected from serious injuries. The...
Time to review your drug testing policy
Time to review your drug testing policy
BusinessInsurance.com says OSHA's Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses rule does not ban employee incentive programs or drug testing of employees, but it does prohibit employers from using drug testing or the threat of it as a form of a...
4 things to keep in mind during an OSHA inspection
4 things to keep in mind during an OSHA inspection
Travis Vance of Fisher & Phillips LLP discusses the changes in OSHA enforcement made in 2015 in his article, "Is OSHA Improperly Expanding the Scope of its Inspections?." Vance's article refers to a different industry but his points fit well within the...
A job in the trades can bring financial, personal success
A job in the trades can bring financial, personal success
A four-year apprenticeship program can equal or exceed the earning potential of a postsecondary degree. An apprentice electrician earns $19 an hour, which can be achieved the first year out of high school. By the time an electrician completes a fiv...
Study says solar panels don't last forever and degradation varies wildly
Study says solar panels don't last forever and degradation varies wildly
A recent study by an international certification body found that how well solar panels stand up to wear and tear varies greatly, but where they're manufactured has little to do with quality.
National Safety Stand-Down highlights importance of preventing falls
National Safety Stand-Down highlights importance of preventing falls
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration and other federal safety agencies have designated May 2-6 for the third annual National Safety Stand-Down. The event is a nationwide effort to remind and educate employers and workers in the constructio...
DOE announces $25 million for integration of solar into electrical grid
DOE announces $25 million for integration of solar into electrical grid
As part of the Energy Department’s ongoing efforts to modernize the nation's grid through the Grid Modernization Initiative, the Energy Department has announced $25 million in available funding through an effort called Enabling Extreme Real-T...
Clean energy to take bigger share of electricity market by 2030
Clean energy to take bigger share of electricity market by 2030
Renewable energy will account for 40 percent of electricity output capacity by 2030, almost double today's market share, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency. The expansion will be due to lower technology costs. The real challenge for...
Linemen suit up for safety program
Linemen suit up for safety program
Not long ago, a limited number of vendors designed and created flame-resistant (FR) garments for electric utility linemen. As such, much of the clothing was stiff, heavy, scratchy, hot and uncomfortable, and linemen had a slim selection to choose from ...
Designing medium-voltage electrical systems
Designing medium-voltage electrical systems
Engineers should know how nominal system voltages were established, what constitutes a medium-voltage electrical system, and what range of systems are considered appropriate for medium voltage. We are used to viewing electrical power just like any othe...
9 sure ways to screw up a switch installation
9 sure ways to screw up a switch installation
All non-utility switch installations in residential, commercial, and industrial settings must meet National Electrical Code requirements where enacted.
Electricity, heating most climate-friendly uses for natural gas
Electricity, heating most climate-friendly uses for natural gas
Rice University researchers have determined a more effective way to use natural gas to reduce climate-warming emissions would be in the replacement of existing coal-fired power plants and fuel-oil furnaces rather than burning it in cars and buses. The ...
Is code compliance good design?
Is code compliance good design?
Many people approach the NEC as if it limits what they can do. That's not accurate. It's a basic principle of the NEC that this is not the case. The NEC doesn't stop you from making something safer. Its purpose is to provide the minimum requirements to...
Workers not always using their fall protection equipment?
Workers not always using their fall protection equipment?
Despite alarming statistics that indicate falls from height remain the number one cause of death in the construction industry — accounting for more than 36 percent of all work-related deaths in 2013, according to the Occupational Safety and Healt...
Proposed underwater electricity cable for New York City
Proposed underwater electricity cable for New York City
Empire State Connector Corp has filed an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for authority to negotiate agreements with customers for transmission service on a 260-mile long high voltage direct current ("HVDC") electric transmiss...
An electrical substation to delight the senses
An electrical substation to delight the senses
There's a matter upon which power companies and the public agree: No one wants to live near an electrical substation. They are ugly places, full of gray boxes and crisscrossed with wires, and an unwary visitor could cause a blackout while also getting ...
Why contractors must pay attention to notice requirements on construction contracts
Why contractors must pay attention to notice requirements on construction contracts
Not paying attention to key contract clauses about notice, documentation, and change order procedures is a sure way to watch your profit dwindle. At the end of the every job (when it's too late to do much about it) the bottom-line reality of what the p...
6 easiest construction jobs that pay well
6 easiest construction jobs that pay well
Latest reports on job growth show that construction remains one of the industries that continue to record employment increase. Three things make building industry increasingly appealing to new entrants — excellent employment prospects, solid earn...
'Middle skill' jobs: Straight from high school to career
'Middle skill' jobs: Straight from high school to career
There are hundreds of thousands of "middle skill" jobs in the United States that are mdash; or soon will be — going unfilled because of a dearth of qualified workers. Employers complain that electricians, pipe fitters, advanced manufacturing mach...
Work without pay: Good for contractors?
Work without pay: Good for contractors?
Are loss leaders (products or services sold at a loss to gain customers) sound business strategy — or an unnecessary drain on profitability that encourages bad behavior from design and construction clients? Does it make sense for contractors to p...
Utilities, greens still miles apart on solar valuation, new report shows
Utilities, greens still miles apart on solar valuation, new report shows
Across most of the nation, it's clear solar power is taking off. But still some states are lagging behind and are holding on to policies that cramp growth instead of nurturing it, according to a new report.
Electrical systems and data center efficiency
Electrical systems and data center efficiency
Electrical systems play an important role in data center energy efficiency. Questions not answered in the Feb. 18 webcast, "Critical Power: Electrical systems and data center efficiency," are addressed here.
5 tips to keep on top of cashflow
5 tips to keep on top of cashflow
A drop in orders, a shortage of work, rising costs, slowing demand, weak margins. All these things can damage a small business. But ultimately, the only reason to board up the door and bring in the receivers is a lack of cash. To avoid that happening t...
Thermographers provide the data that help you solve motor heating problems most effectively
Thermographers provide the data that help you solve motor heating problems most effectively
Let's suppose you've replaced the main motor of a process machine several times. Let's say it's a hot process (e.g., extrusion of some sort). This means there are sources of heat all around the motor. You know the motor failures were heat-related, part...
16 ways contractors can improve how they find and hire workers
16 ways contractors can improve how they find and hire workers
Here, based on research, National Pavement Expo seminars, and conversations with industry contractors and consultants are 16 of the most-common mistakes contractors make before, during and after the hiring process — and tips on how those mistakes...
Survey: Productivity takes precedent over employee health and safety,
Survey: Productivity takes precedent over employee health and safety,
Employees in high-risk industries are choosing productivity over their own health and safety, according to survey results from the National Safety Council. Of the 2,000 employees surveyed across the nation, 60 percent of those in the construction indus...
How to reduce energy waste before you spend money on an audit
How to reduce energy waste before you spend money on an audit
Often, an energy audit gets delayed because it’s perceived as complicated. Or it’s delayed because to really do it right will cost more money than the budget allows. You may eventually need the highest ASHRAE level of energy audit to totall...
Construction site worker injuries: What to know about protecting yourself
Construction site worker injuries: What to know about protecting yourself
One in 5 of all worker fatalities in 2014 were on construction sites, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. That is 874 deaths in 2014. While federal, state and private enterprise regulations have reduced construction site inj...
Don't fail at ladder and fall safety
Don't fail at ladder and fall safety
There is a reason why OSHA heavily promotes fall safety. Falls are the leading cause of death in construction. In 2013, there were 291 fatal falls to a lower level out of 828 total fatalities in construction.
Top 14 reasons electrical service installations get red tagged
Top 14 reasons electrical service installations get red tagged
Whether located inside or outdoors, premises wiring systems powered by an electric utility have what is known as an electrical service. It is the portion of the electrical system from the utility-defined point of connection to the input terminals of th...
Sharply higher rooftop solar potential increases opportunity for energy self-reliance
Sharply higher rooftop solar potential increases opportunity for energy self-reliance
Earlier this year, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory released a new estimate of rooftop solar potential, an update to 2008 figures we used in our landmark state-by-state energy atlas, Energy Self-Reliant States. The bottom line: there's much mor...
Flame-resistant requirements for high-visibility apparel
Flame-resistant requirements for high-visibility apparel
ANSI/ISEA 107-2010 is the American National Standard for High-Visibility Safety Apparel and Headwear. 2010 is the current revision but an updated version, ANSI/ISEA 107-2015, is due to be published in 2016. An area of the standard that remains is the f...
The steps in a safe test and measurement sequence
The steps in a safe test and measurement sequence
Using a digital multimeter (DMM) to verify that a circuit is de-energized is a good safety practice. Let's walk through the steps to take before replacing a motor starter.
OSHA to propose safety guidelines for construction sector alone
OSHA to propose safety guidelines for construction sector alone
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration will craft a separate set of safety and health program management guidelines for the construction industry, based on feedback on a proposed update to its voluntary guidelines. The agency is in the ...
Southwire recalls voltage detectors due to shock and burn hazards
Southwire recalls voltage detectors due to shock and burn hazards
Southwire is recalling voltage detectors due to a shock and burn hazard. The Consumer Product Safety Commission says the detectors can give a false "no voltage" reading when testing live wires, causing a shock, electrocution, and burn hazard. The compa...
Top tips for building trust with customers
Top tips for building trust with customers
In any small business, there are a variety of strategies you can implement to grow your organization over time, including marketing well, having effective sales techniques, and providing products or services that customers really want. However, one thi...
10 arc flash safety facts to protect your people
10 arc flash safety facts to protect your people
An arc flash is the explosive energy released when an electrical fault — for instance, a short circuit — causes an arc. The dangers associated with an arc flash event include heat, flying debris, sound, UV radiation and more. Here are nine ...
Think modular when laying out those lighting circuits
Think modular when laying out those lighting circuits
What if your production area undergoes fairly frequent reconfigurations? After each one come the inevitable complaints about the lighting, followed by an abundance of task lights plugged in all over the place. The task lighting does solve the immediate...
Safety equipment testers are the only thing coming between SRP linemen, 40,000 volts of electricity
Safety equipment testers are the only thing coming between SRP linemen, 40,000 volts of electricity
Safety gets lots of attention at electric utilities because while mistakes happen in every industry, they often are fatal when they occur on the electrical system. OSHA uses a standard incident rate to compare injury statistics across industries, and i...
OSHA top 10 safety violations relatively unchanged for years
OSHA top 10 safety violations relatively unchanged for years
Back in September 2015, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration released its list of top OSHA safety violations for 2015. For the fifth year in a row, fall protection topped the list. A lot of emphasis is placed on preventing accidents, speci...
Is that cooling air doing any cooling?
Is that cooling air doing any cooling?
Dirt, dust, chemicals, snow, oil, vegetation, and process waste can clog the ventilation ducts of an open-frame motor. So can insect nests, rodent nests, and associated droppings. All of this nasty stuff also may help form a thermally insulating coatin...