"The third-party rebuilder has apparently refurbished the breakers incorrectly," OSHA said in the alert. "The circuit breakers may appear to be new or properly rebuilt, but the third party rebuilder changed them from the manufacturer's original design."
Originally manufactured as part of the company's E2 mining series breakers, the affected products are identified by model numbers E2K and E2KM. Incorrect parts were used, which can cause the breakers to malfunction.
The breakers have incorrect voltage ratings on the covers, according to the alert. Because they don't meet the manufacturer's specifications, "they may lack proper safety features such as grounding and fault protection." Arc flashes and explosions are also possible.
While the breakers were sold for use in mining operations, "it is conceivable that these modified circuit breakers may have been purchased for use in tunneling operations," OSHA said. "It is also possible that the modified breakers may have been sold improperly for use as replacement components in any electrical cabinet where standalone type -- in general, surface-mounted -- circuit breakers are used."
Employers using the breakers at their work sites are instructed to do the following:
- Have a qualified person shut off power to the breakers.
- Follow proper lockout/tagout procedures.
- Remove any defective breaker from service and replace it with one that a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory has properly certified.
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September 15, 2011
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