Installing properly certified infrared (IR) windows to inspect switchgear and motors can make it easier for companies to comply with the U.S. NFPA 70E Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace. IR windows allow technicians to inspect electrical equipment without removing the panel cover (the cause of more than 99 percent of arc blast incidents).
Infrared windows provide a solid barrier between the thermographer and the live conductors. By design, it is possible to reduce the trigger effects of an arc, but also provide a far safer working environment. Additional safety applications include:
Moving safety programs from reactive to proactive
- In the past, many facilities waited until an arc flash incident occurred to install IR windows, but as the frequency of these incidents has increased, many companies are proactively retrofitting existing panels.
- Using IR Windows that offer both thermal and visual inspection capabilities proactively protects thermographers under arc flash conditions.
Inspecting energized components with the panel door closed
- IR Windows make it easier to conduct frequent inspections under enclosed or guarded conditions, which can reduce the risk of serious injury or death.
- Scanning through IR windows is considered a non-invasive task that lowers the risk of electrical hazard.
Increasing speed of inspections
- Once IR windows are installed, they save inspection time because there are no screws to unlatch and no loose doors.
- Work permit requirements and NFPA 70E processes are significantly reduced.
- Often the installer doesn't have to suit up in full personal protective equipment (PPE).
- Faster inspections make greater frequency of inspections possible.
Ensuring only trained and authorized people can remove the IR window to complete an inspection or scan
- Many IR windows offer a security key version when windows will be located in an unsecured area. This prevents unauthorized persons from accessing the panel.
Whether workers use IR windows to take thermal images or inspect equipment, IR windows increase worker safety under potentially hazardous conditions. When it comes to IR windows, durability matters. Be sure to find windows that are capable of withstanding arc blasts, realizing that durability can change over time.