Maintaining a safe work environment is paramount in industrial settings that involve high-voltage infrastructure and rapidly moving components. Proper electric motor safety is an essential step toward achieving trouble-free operation. Safety practices span across motor installation, everyday operation, and maintenance. It is necessary to develop and consistently follow proper safety procedures during each phase to achieve the best outcomes for your company and personnel. With the right approach, the risk of accident can be minimized, and a safe and productive working environment maintained.
Motor Installation Safety
Before installing a motor or developing electric motor safety procedures for your application, it is essential to become familiar with local and national safety codes related to your industry, as well as risk factors specific to the type of motor you have purchased. Please read the information provided by the manufacturer and always follow their recommendations. After developing comprehensive safety procedures for your operation, ensure that all operators and technicians involved are familiar with the procedures and apply them consistently.
Find manufacturer technical specifications, data packages, warranty policies, features sheets and dimensional drawings to inform your safety procedures for motors on our product pages.
Following the right steps during the installation of the motor helps prevent accidents that can cause injury and damage to infrastructure. Before installing the motor, inspect it thoroughly for defects or damage. If any issues are found, contact the seller before commencing installation. To reduce the risk of accident, check that the motor characteristics are adequate for the requirements of the application and that the voltage and connections on the motor match the power supply.
When installing the motor, ensure that it is properly grounded and all connections are tight. This helps protect against electrical shock if the motor connects with the skin. Install all necessary safety measures such as thermal protection and electrical fuses, which protect the motor and prevent potential accidents such as fires caused by overheating. Ensure that the motor is securely mounted and properly aligned and connected to the load.
Before start-up, it is advisable to run the motor in-place without a load to ensure that it has been installed correctly. This is a good time to review safety procedures for the operator and relevant personnel, including start-up, shutdown and emergency stop procedures. During normal operation of the motor, including start-up and shutdown, it is essential to develop consistent procedures that protect the safety of not just the motor but any personnel in the area. When starting a motor, make sure that all personnel in the area are alert and aware of it.
Motor Operation Safety
One of the best ways to spot problems with a motor in advance is for operators to use sight, smell and temperature to detect abnormal circumstances. However, this can be dangerous unless operators are properly informed. A motor's surface can be extremely hot during normal operation, especially after sudden changes in the load that draw unusually high current, and this temperature can persist well after the motor has been stopped.
Correct safety gear should be used around running motors, and fingers and other objects kept away from ventilation ports and other points of entry into the motor. Everyone should keep a safe distance from moving or rotating components of the motor or driven load. When power outages occur, make sure that the motor power is cut off so that it does not start unexpectedly when power returns.
Motor Maintenance Safety
Whether routine or not, electric motor maintenance involves repeatedly handling and testing the motor. Maintenance personnel work near hot and rapidly moving components. Besides being qualified to disassemble and service the motor, maintenance personnel should be trained in proper power lockout procedures, safety gear, first aid and any relevant safety codes. This ensures that maintenance is a low-risk operation and productivity can be restored as quickly and safely as possible when a fault occurs.
Locking out power before working on the motor is extremely important, and it is not enough to simply switch it off. Power can be suddenly and unexpectedly restored if the motor was stopped by a thermal protector, which can automatically re-connect power when the motor has cooled down. The motor may also be inadvertently switched on by someone unaware. Proper power lockout involves physically locking the main power switch in the off position, for example, by enabling each technician to apply their own padlock before working on the motor. The main power switch should also be clearly labelled with a warning to ensure that operators know that maintenance is being performed.
Before handling the motor, ensure that the work environment is safe and that the motor has been fully de-energized. Capacitors can store a lethal charge and must be properly drained if they are to be handled. Ensure that the motor has cooled down sufficiently so that it does not present a risk of burn. Check the work area for pools of liquid or leaked lubricant, increasing the risk of an accident.
Prioritizing personnel safety by developing and adhering to strict electric motor safety procedures helps ensure that operators and technicians carry out their jobs smoothly and effectively, maximizing productivity and reducing the impact of maintenance schedules on your business.