Polyfusion and Electrofusion of pipes-Electrical Hazard

Background

There have been incidents where plumbers have received an electric shock whilst making a fusion weld to HDPE pipe.

Types of fusion processes:

Polyfusion

This process involves the heating of the ends of two pieces of pipe using an element and they are then forced together making a butt weld.

Electrofusion

This process involves the fusion of a fitting onto a section of pipe. The fitting has a coil moulded into it when manufactured. After the fitting is located in the desired position, and the application of an electric charge to the fitting causes the coil to heat and make the weld.

Investigation

Some of these incidents have found that the training provided to the users of this type of equipment was at best inadequate and in most cases non-existent.

In most instances the workers thought they were working with low voltage DC power where all these processes use power directly from 240 AC supply.

Before Using this Type of Equipment

Ensure that:

  • Your employer has provided you with adequate training and instruction to enable you to safely use this equipment.
  • The equipment has been appropriately tested and tagged as is required for the use of electrical equipment on construction sites.
  • Conduct a visual inspection of the equipment to ensure that it is safe for use.
  • The location is suitable to perform the task (no water underfoot or near any of the equipment).
  • Suitable barricading and signage is in place that ensures that the works are isolated from the other workers and the public.

Steve Rocco V2 2016

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