This blog post from Superior Essex gives some great insight into ways we can bring safety as a consideration into every installation. Check it out, and contact your local Accu-Tech representative to learn more.
So you’re thinking about your next building, huh? Whether you’re designing it, spec-ing it, building it, owning it or managing it, you have a seat at the table when it comes to deciding how to power and connect many of the devices that are destined to live inside it. And you want those products to be as safe and risk averse as possible, right? We thought so.
Luckily, one of the easiest ways to accomplish this is spec, install and connect Superior Essex low-voltage cabling – such as their PowerWise® family of PoE cables – throughout the entirety of your building. This single product drastically reduces the risk of electrical fires and electrocutions in your building, thereby keep both your construction workers and building occupants safe.
Are Electrical Fires and Shocks Still That Common?
The short answer: Yes, absolutely, and it’s immensely dangerous (and even deadly) to ignore their causes in your building.
The long answer: The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that, in 2019, local fire departments responded to an estimated 1.3 million fires across the United States. That same year, 120,000 of those (about 10% of the total) were non-residential structure fires – meaning those properties used for assembly, education, healthcare, retail, offices, storage and special structures. And in a single year, these fires caused 110 civilian deaths, 1200 civilian injures and $4.3 billion in direct property damage.
About 10% of those non-residential structure fires – so 12,000 total – were sparked by electrical distribution and lighting equipment, making it the second leading cause of this type of fire.
In terms of electrical shock hazards, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that an average of 12 work-related fatalities occur every day throughout the United States construction industry. Electrocutions are listed as one of OSHA’s “Fatal Four” and they account for 9% of employee deaths on the job site.
Reducing the Risks
Thankfully, both the risk of fire and the risk of electrocution can be drastically reduced just by using low-voltage cable. By running less current across low-voltage cables, there’s inherently less of a chance of electrocution occurring – as compared to standard electrical wiring – should the cable be damaged, severed or shorted for some reason. That’s because the greatest amount of voltage that can be sent across PoE cabling (Type 4) is 57-volt DC. In comparison, the typical voltage sent across traditional electrical wiring is 110-volt AC and upwards of 220-volt AC based upon the application.
Similarly, with low-voltage PoE cabling, there is greater protection against hazards caused by electric arcs, often also referred to as “arc faults,” which can exceed over 10,000°F and are the causes of most electrical fires. The switchgear assemblies involved in PoE systems, however, have built-in safeguards against electric arcs.
Should an instance of an electric arc occur, it does so inside the switchgear assembly and is captured within the first two milliseconds of its existence. Then, the main supplying voltage to the electric arc is short-circuited in less than two milliseconds, thus taking away energy from the arc fault. This quick extinction of the electric arc reduces the risk of fire because it prevents the switchgear assembly from reaching maximum temperature and pressure. The short circuit is then identified and switched off by the main switch, and the network reports the outage to the building management system (BMS) for inspection and repair or removal of that component.
Does Low-Voltage PoE Have Any Other Benefits?
Great question. The short answer: Yes! Low-voltage PoE cabling from Superior Essex is:
- Faster and cheaper to install than old-fashioned electrical wiring
- Immensely low maintenance
- Capable of leading to future savings on insurance costs
Want the long answer again?
Keep all this in mind as you’re considering the products to live inside your next building, and let low-voltage cabling from Superior Essex keep you safe and connected.