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How to Navigate This Course. Notes: Be sure to read the notes with each slide. Important additional information is here. Thumbnails: Quick view from slide to slide. Search: Insert keyword(s) to search the entire document.

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How to Navigate This Course

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    1. How to Navigate This Course Notes: Be sure to read the notes with each slide. Important additional information is here. Thumbnails: Quick view from slide to slide. Search: Insert keyword(s) to search the entire document. Attachments: You will need to save the documents to your hard drive to work with them.

    2. Electrofishing Safety

    3. Course Purpose • Increase knowledge of and skills in electrofishing safety that will result in reduced incidents and injuries to you as a crew member while maintaining efficient job performance.

    4. Course Objectives(The participant will be able to…) • Recognize and appreciate the risks inherent in electrofishing sampling • Discuss the purpose and value of safety policy documents • Describe equipment safety features of various gear types (e.g., boat, backpack, shore-based) • Review personal protective gear types and their use • Describe approaches to improve safety at electrofishing projects

    5. At This Point… For a gentle safety overview, click on the “Attachments” tab and open the link to the Electrofishing Safety video

    6. RisksIt doesn’t take much current… (the “1 – 10 – 100 rule”) Estimated Effects of 60 Hz AC Currents 1milliAmp Barely perceptible 16milliAmps Maximum current an average adult male can grasp and “let go” 20milliAmps Paralysis of respiratory muscles 100 milliAmpsVentricular fibrillation threshold 2 Amps Cardiac standstill and internal organ damage 15/20 Amps Common fuse or breaker opens circuit Contact with 20 milliamps of current can be fatal.

    7. Is it Possible to be Exposed to a Lethal Level of Amperage?* Use Ohm’s Law: Current (I) = Volts/Resistance and a dry skin resistance ~ 100,000 Ohms Apply 100 V across 2 electrodes placed on the skin; I = (100V)/(100,000) = 1mA (barely perceptible) Repeat except with wet skin (resistance now ~ 1000 Ohms) Apply 100 V; I = (100V)/(1,000) = 100 mA (ventricular fibrillation threshold) *AC, 60 Hz, that runs through the chest (as from arm to arm or arm to leg)

    8. 50 – 60 Hz AC Appears More Hazardous to Humans than DC Human nerves are sensitive to 60 Hz AC. Automatic external defibrillators (AED’s) often use a 60 Hz “biphasic” (= AC) waveform to stop fibrillation. Backpack-generated AC

    9. Even if the shock itself doesn’t hurt someone… • the shock instead may cause the crew member to fall against equipment, a hard surface, into the electric field, etc.

    10. We need to… • elevate safety concerns to our top priority (is any piece of data really worth serious injury?) • base our operations on safety principles; truly make it “Safety First” (for instance, put safety gear at the top of the equipment checklist)

    11. Safety Policies • Definition: a safety policy is a set of written safety guidelines binding to employees • Safety policy document • Safety information transfer tool • Decision-making tool Safety policy panel derives policy Biologists (practical experience, “risk-taking”) Electrical engineers (technology experts, “risk-adverse”) Safety officers (policy and legal experts, likely “risk-adverse”)

    12. FWS Safety Policy • Fish & Wildlife Service Occupational Safety and Health Part 241 Safety Operations Chapter 6 Electrofishing 241 FW 6 can be found at: (also see 241 FW 6 in “Attachments” tab) • Recently revised April, 2010 (review and revision, if necessary, every 5 years)

    13. Equipment Safety Features

    14. Equipment • Equipment built to code (see 241 FW 6.8) and with adequate safety devices/precautions have protected biologists from injury • However, do not blindly depend upon a single safety device (e.g., do not depend upon a safety switch functioning properly to handle energized electrodes); have backup devices or approaches Lightning rod Ouch!

    15. Components of an Electrofishing System (the gear) • Power supply: battery or generator, provides electrical energy to power the equipment • Control box (or pulsator): controls the waveform characteristics (type, volts, amps, frequency, pulse width, duty cycle) and has safety circuitry • Metering: provides knowledge of the actual electrical outputs (volts, amps, frequency, etc.)

    16. Components of an Electrofishing System (the gear) • Interconnection system: the conductors (wires), conduit, condulets, junction boxes, cable, plugs, etc. that carry the electricity from the power source and control box to the electrodes; also includes the safety switch circuit. • Electrodes: metal structures that couple the circuitry of the gear with the water; many configurations; under control of the biologist • Auxiliary equipment: primarily with boats; lights, pumps, aerators, etc. that provide peripheral electrical services

    17. Electrofishing Boats and Rafts Personal protective gear Power supply Booms Electrodes

    18. Power Supply Exhaust not directed over side Exhaust build-up can lead to an increase in carbon monoxide levels; some configurations pipe exhaust to outside stern or via elevated pipe. The generator should be directly wired or bolted to the hull or reference metal for continuity. Secured and leveled generator

    19. Generator securely mounted with exhaust directed over side Bars for protection against Touching hot surfaces

    20. Exhaust stand-pipe to direct exhaust away

    21. Noise levels from generators • OSHA has standards for levels of loudness (decibels) and times of exposure (hours). • OSHA Noise Level Standard, 29 CFR 1910.95 • see USFWS policy 241 FW 6.9 (D): protective equipment for sound levels and duration • If a noise level survey finds that crew members are subjected to sounds exceeding the duration and decibels standards, the crew must be provided and must use personal protective equipment to reduce sound levels at or below standards.

    22. Control Box Volt and Amp metering Pulsed DC AC DC frequency control Duty cycle control Voltage control Emergency stop switch

    23. Interconnection System Flexible conduit • Conductors of sufficient gage should be contained within conduit whenever possible • All splices to wiring are made in weather-resistant condulets (with exceptions noted later) Condulet USGS policy: low voltage safety circuit conductors must be in a 300 V rms minimum cable if contained in the same conduit as the high voltage conductors Power cable (leading to foot safety switch)

    24. Condulet Flexible conduit Power cable rating

    25. Pay attention to conductor capacities (voltage & current) • Conductor Voltage. The insulation value for all wiring must meet or exceed the maximum voltages generated by the power source or pulsator. In general, the branch circuit conductors will require the highest breakdown voltage capacity to sustain the peak magnitudes of the voltage pulses. For insulated wires that are specified with a V rms rating, the peak breakdown voltage (AC, DC, or PDC) can be estimated to equal 1.41 times the V rms rating.

    26. Pay attention to conductor capacities (voltage & current) • Conductor Current. Conductor size (i.e., for copper wire) will be approved for rated RMS amperage of equipment as listed in the following table. Always check manufacturer specifications for conductors Amperage • 11 20 AWG • 16 18 AWG • 22 16 AWG • 32 14 AWG • 64 9 AWG • 73 8 AWG • 158 3 AWG • 181 2 AWG

    27. Watertight safety-shroud receptacle & plug Be sure to check voltage capacity of the receptacles and plugs

    28. Not as weather-resistant as a shroud receptacle & plug

    29. Foot Pedal Switch

    30. Lights for Sampling 120 V circuit Protective covering Additional lights on bottom of railing

    31. Lights and Auxiliary Circuits • Try to run all lights on a 12 volt circuit • At least, wire deck lights on a 12 volt circuit to allow generator to be turned off when working up fish or checking equipment • Other electrical equipment as pumps should be on a 12 volt circuit

    32. Railings & Booms Fixed electrode booms Can accommodate a single boom arrangement

    33. Booms: Moveable Anodes Potential hazard! Anode Cathode

    34. Decks Non-skid strips for sure footing on deck

    35. Rafts Anode spheres Dropper cathodes

    36. Establishing Equi-potential Surfaces on a Boat or Raft • A unique aspect of boats and rafts is the advantage of being able to establish equipotential surfaces. Having all metal surfaces in a boat/raft electrically connected reduces shock hazard.

    37. The Idea… In an electrofishing boat, you want to be a “bird-on-a-wire”, surrounding yourself will metal surfaces at the same voltage potential (equipotential)

    38. Checking for equipotential surfaces; a multimeter should read less than one Ohm between significantly-sized pieces of metal • Connect all metal to a “reference” metal structure (the boat hull on a metal-hull boat or the metal rowing frame on a raft) • Objects generating a charge (generator, pulsator) should be hard-wired to the hull

    39. Rafts Anode spheres Dropper cathodes

    40. Pulsator (Control Box) Continuity This control box is potentially “floating”, that is, not in continuity with the hull or reference metal. Control box must either be hardwired to the hull or in continuity with the hull through the power input cable from the generator. Of course, the generator must be in continuity itself with the hull, preferably by hard-wiring.

    41. Generator Continuity A hard-wired generator that has a “ground wire” running from the case of the generator to the hull (reference metal); without a ground wire, this particular generator would be floating since it is sitting on a non-conductive surface.

    42. Presently, many generators are sold with a case neutral* connection (designed for use in building construction). For electrofishing, the generator must not have a case neutral connection unless design provisions are made as, for example, incorporation of an isolation transformer. Now, generators without a case neutral connection are more common off-the-shelf items (especially for the recreation vehicle market). Generator Case Neutral

    43. Generator Case Neutral Remove case neutral wire Green Ground wire White neutral wire The outer cap has been removed to expose the internal wiring of the generator

    44. Additional Equipment • For the FWS, additional equipment on electrofishing boats as fire extinguishers and other safety devices come under watercraft safety policy 241 FW 1, which in turn follows the U.S. Coast Guard minimum requirements. • See ( for an equipment list

    45. Additional Equipment A First Aid kit, watertight and well-equipped, must be available.

    46. Additional Equipment Non-conductive handle Electrofishing dip-net

    47. Additional Equipment Type 1 Safety Can (metal) Type 1 Safety Can (polyethylene) Type 2 Safety Can (metal) Type 2 D.O.T. transport Safety Can (metal)

    48. Refueling • Turn off all equipment before refueling the generator and allow hot surfaces to cool. We recommend that you fill all tanks before each operation to avoid the potential for explosion or fire while refueling. • Only refuel away from any open flame or flame-generating device. • Place portable fuel tanks on dock or pavement for refueling. Do not refuel portable fuel containers on a plastic surface (e.g., a plastic lined pick-up truck bed).

    49. Backpack Electrofishers

    50. Smith-Root LR-24 Safety Features(other than circuit breakers, thermal sensors, fusible links) Emergency stop switch Internal tilt switch (forward 55-, side 45-, backward 35-degrees) Quick-release harness Audio alarm 1-4 beeps/sec depending upon average power output Internal anode out-of-water switch Flashing red light Lower right of frame Splash cover must be latched Anode switch Immersion sensor