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# Basis for 50V limit for de-energized work

1. ## Basis for 50V limit for de-energized work

So, I've been quizzed to answer this question. What is the basis for the 50V (30V) limit for de-energized work, and where do you find it written?

I am ex-Navy, and the question is from a former Navy Nuke. If you ever read any safety manual, the highest safe voltage is 50V for shore based facilities, and 30V for sea-based facilities (i.e. ships). It is listed in OSHA, but never explained.

As an ex-navy sailor, I know the basis is based on 0.1A being deadly, and the lowest possible resistance for the human body is 500 ohms (300 ohms onboard ships), and ohms law gives you 50V. This is found in NSTM 300 app. H. I remember this vividly as it was a very popular level of knowledge question in the Navy.

As you can tell, this question still haunts me in the private sector, but I can't find the answer anywhere in OSHA and NFPA 70E, it is just implied. Has anybody run across this answer?

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Originally Posted by Kalbi_Rob
So, I've been quizzed to answer this question. What is the basis for the 50V (30V) limit for de-energized work, and where do you find it written?

I am ex-Navy, and the question is from a former Navy Nuke. If you ever read any safety manual, the highest safe voltage is 50V for shore based facilities, and 30V for sea-based facilities (i.e. ships). It is listed in OSHA, but never explained.

As an ex-navy sailor, I know the basis is based on 0.1A being deadly, and the lowest possible resistance for the human body is 500 ohms (300 ohms onboard ships), and ohms law gives you 50V. This is found in NSTM 300 app. H. I remember this vividly as it was a very popular level of knowledge question in the Navy.

As you can tell, this question still haunts me in the private sector, but I can't find the answer anywhere in OSHA and NFPA 70E, it is just implied. Has anybody run across this answer?
You are right, this rule is taught all over the industry but I have no clue who came up with it. I'm going to ask around, curious to see what you find out.

3. ## NSTM 300 App G

For those interested in where I found the requirement in the NSTM 300 appendix G:

300-g.3.2 BODY RESISTANCE. At the outset of any consideration of safety from electric shock, it is important
to recognize that the resistance of the human body cannot be relied upon to prevent a fatal shock from 115
volt or even lower voltage circuits. When the skin is dry, it has a high resistance where it makes contact with the
electrodes through which current enters and leaves the body. The resistance may be high enough in this case to
protect a person from fatal shock even if one hand touches a bare conductor on one side of a 115volt line while
the other hand (or a foot) touches a bare conductor on the other side of the line. This is an exceptional case.
Onboard a ship, it is far more likely that the skin will be wet with perspiration or salt water. The contact resistance falls when the skin is wet, and the body resistance, measured from electrode to electrode, is low. Tests made
by the National Institute of Standards and Technology show that the resistance of the human body may be as low
as 500 ohms under unfavorable conditions. In warm and moist Marine environments such as are encountered on
naval vessels, body resistance as low as 300 ohms could be experienced. If 0.1 ampere is enough to cause death,
and if the body resistance can be as low as 300 ohms, it follows immediately that circuits above 30 volts can be
fatal. All circuits, even if of only a few volts, are potentially dangerous in that they may give rise to currents that
are immediately fatal, or that keep a person from letting go and ultimately cause death if they are not rescued by
their shipmates, or that cause a person to jump and perhaps fall under conditions that will cause serious injury.
The resistance of the body itself cannot be relied upon to provide protection from shock.