How a Switchboard Ensures Safety

A switchboard is a very critical device used to supply, and redirect electric power from a main source to electric equipment. The National Electrical Code of the U.S defines it as a large single panel, or an assembly of panels on which switches, buses, overcurrent protection devices, and other devices are mounted. This definition is not only about the components contained in it, but also about the role the switchboard plays. One of the key reasons why a switchboard is critical is that it offers several protective measures.

Some of the crucial contents of switchboards are fuses, safety switches, and overcurrent protection devices, such as busbars. All of these devices play a part in the division of the main current into smaller currents, before it is further distributed to the sockets from where the power will be fed to the control equipment. These components not only play a role in dividing the current, but they are also involved in the metering, the regulation, and the protection of the different currents.

The safety of both the equipment and the operators is very important in every industry. Current surges are hazardous because the electric overload could result in short circuiting the equipment or, in extreme cases, it could cause a fire. It is, therefore, very important that the equipment is protected. The role of the switchboard is to re-direct the excess current, protecting the operator from electrocution, and the equipment from being destroyed.

Inside the switchboard are copper buses carrying the electric current. During installation, repair or even maintenance, the technicians must come in contact with these buses. The buses are insulated to reduce the risk of electrocution while being handled. They are, however, exposed at the contact points, meaning that one should be extra careful when dealing with these points. The switchboard also contains safety switches, and fuses to protect the operators from electrocution. A switchboard also controls the amount of electricity that it receives from the generators.

To avoid unnecessary contact or unauthorized access, the switchboards are protected by using a metal enclosure that keeps the energized parts from coming into contact with the operator. This metal enclosure is also grounded to enhance safety. Also, because the switchboard divides the current into smaller units, it protects the operators from exposure to a larger current, which could result in electrocution. This could happen if the main current is distributed to the equipment before is divided.

There are regulatory standards that ensure that all switchboards manufactured meet these safety standards. Uniformity of operation of switchboards, therefore, ensures that the equipment is protected from the overload of the electric current, which could result in short circuit. It also protects the operators of the switchboard, and of the equipment fed by the electric power provided by the switchboard.

A switchboard is very important in every industry where the equipment is powered by electricity. They should be weatherproofed, and waterproofed to ensure further safety, and avoid serious injuries or even fatalities.