Lesson Learned/Best Practice Briefing


TitleElectrical Spark While Painting Crane Rail Enclosure

EventOther Facility Event

Event Date01/25/2019

CategoryESH-Electrical - QEW 2 Work-Crafts/Engineers, High Voltage,Low Current

While painting the underside of a building overhang, a painter witnessed a spark. The spark originated from an enclosed energized (480V) electrical enclosed track busbar. The busbar is part of a loading dock overhead monorail crane system extending from the interior to the exterior of the building. (See Figure 1) The painter immediately paused work and called the supervisor. Power to the overhead monorail crane was then shut off and locked out.


Maintaining a healthy respect for what can go wrong includes highlighting and sharing small failures and mistakes. This incident did not have any associated injury or damage to equipment/facilities. This issue may have been a pre-curser to a more consequential failure. Therefore, the Hoisting and Rigging Inspector was contacted to examine the busbar. The inspection revealed a tiny breach in the exterior housing of the enclosure that protects the busbar. (See Figure 2) This weakness in the busbar housing was identified as an area that potentially allowed a small amount of paint to enter the enclosure. Paint landing on the busbar could cause a spark. This breach in the busbar enclosure was in the area the painter had been working. Further inspection of the busbar revealed degradation to the inside of the enclosure and of the enclosure's electrical insulation. (See Figures 3, 4, and 5)

When working on or in the vicinity of cranes, it is important to lockout all cranes (i.e. channel, bare wire, or insulated busbar). Electrical insulation wear may be concealed when busbars are enclosed. This is an increased risk in areas where cranes extend beyond building enclosures and are exposed to environmental erosion. Failure to lockout the crane resulted in an observed spark during painting operations.

The following actions are recommended to ensure equipment does not pose future electrical hazards:

- Repair breach in busbar enclosure or replace existing system with festoon track and festoon.

- Perform extent of condition for all BNL crane busbars, ensure they are identified with labeling when they pass through a barrier (door, wall, room).

- Label the busbar housings based upon recommendations from electrical subject matter expert (SME).

Originating Organization: Brookhaven National Laboratory

Lesson ID: 2019-BNL-I-1363

Date: 1/25/2019

Actions to Prevent Recurrence

Lessons Learned are part of the ISM Core Function 5, Feedback and Improvement. Applicable Lessons Learned are to be considered during working planning activities and incorporated in work processes, prior to performing work.
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