Equipment Grounding and Personnel Safety

I have a challenge for you, the reader of this blog.

Walk into your data center or telecommunication spaces and point out a bonding conductor to a technician/installer/designer…then ask them what it actually does.

Some will say that the bonding conductor is for safety.

Others will say ‘lightning protection’.

Some say both.

They’re all wrong.

The differences between them were provided in a previous blog entry here on this site so we won’t cover the same ‘ground’, so to speak (sorry, couldn’t help it). But did you know the actual SAFETY factor for any site is provided by the Equipment Grounding System (known by many as the safety ground), which is the third prong in receptacles, the conduits, the power panels, and so on. That system is so crucial for safety and equipment performance but few out there even realize it…or understand the implications of it being loose or improperly installed.

I can’t stress enough the need to know this system, its components, purposes, and test methods. It’s also important to know what happens when it done right…and when it’s done wrong. If you’re in the telecommunications industry and you’re reading this, it is unlikely you are an electrician. But, even if you were, could you answer any of the below questions with any confidence?

  1. What is the primary and secondary purpose of the equipment grounding system?
  2. How much current does it take to fatally electrocute a typical human being?
  3. How much ac current does it take to fatally injure YOU, personally?
  4. Does it happen instantaneously? And, if not…
  5. …How much time would it take?
  6. What factors influence the integrity of the equipment grounding system?
  7. How does the equipment grounding system affect equipment performance?
  8. How much current do we need to trip a 20-amp rated breaker? (If you’re thinking 20 amps or slightly above that then you are WAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYY off).
  9. What would happen during a ground fault if someone removed the ground rods for the electrical system (theoretical, of course).

If you honestly answered ‘I don’t know’ to ANY of these…you might be in for a shock…in more ways than one.

If you’re looking for more information on this subject, iGround has several grounding and bonding courses, including unique ‘hands-on’ classes to meet your training needs. Contact us today for information on putting together a custom solution to build upon your team’s educational experience.