September 2012

Engineering and Construction 2012 Supplement

What you don’t know can hurt you

Be certain systems are safely grounded

Glenney, J., Littelfuse

An engineer at a large chemical plant in the Eastern US inspected plant substations that were grounded via a high resistance grounded system. He discovered that two of 10 substations had been operating with failed systems and nobody knew it. When the connection to ground is interrupted, usually because of a mechanical failure in the resistor, there is usually no sign that the ground has been lost. Without resistance grounding, transient overvoltages can occur on the system, which can endanger personnel and cause insulation failures on motors throughout the system. What’s more, without grounding, current-sensing ground-fault protection will not indicate the presence of a ground fault tha

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