Effectiveness of a worker-worn electric-field sensor to detect power-line proximity and electrical-contact.
Zeng-S; Powers-JR; Newbraugh-BH
J Saf Res 2010 Jun; 41(3):229-239
Problem: Construction workers suffer the most electrocutions among all industries. Currently, there are no electrical contact warning devices on the market to protect workers. This paper proposes a worker-worn electric-field sensor. As the worker is in proximity to, or in contact with, a live power-circuit, the sensor sets off an audible/visual warning alarm. The sensor also has the potential to wirelessly trip a wireless-capable circuit breaker, and to trigger a wireless transmitter to notify emergency response of an electrical contact. Methods: An experiment was conducted to measure electric-field variation on simulated human-wrists (10 defrosted hog-legs) in various proximities and in electrical-contact to a simulated power-circuit. The purpose of these tests was to determine the feasibility of developing a worker-worn electric-field detection sensor for use in protecting workers from contact with energized electrical conductors. Results: This study observed a significant electric-field-magnitude increase as a hog-leg approaches the live-circuit, and the distinct electric-field-magnitude jump as the leg contacts with the live-circuit. The observation indicates that this sensor can be an effective device to warn the workers of electrical hazards. Additionally, the sensor has the potential to wirelessly trip a wireless-capable circuit-breaker and trigger a wireless transmitter (such as a cell phone) to notify an emergency response. The prompt notification prevents the worker from further injury caused by postponed medical-care. Impact on Industry: Widespread use of this sensor could lower electrocution and electrically related injury rates in the construction industry.
Monitoring-systems; Electrical-fields; Electrical-hazards; Electrical-safety; Electrical-workers; Accident-prevention; Injury-prevention; Construction-industry; Construction-workers;
Author Keywords: Electric Field; Sensor; Proximity; Powerline; Electrical-contact
Construction; Services: Public Safety
Journal of Safety Research