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Shocked by my auger

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  • Shocked by my auger

    Hey everybody,

    Got shocked pretty bad from an auger recently. I was using autofeed on the way in to a drain (normally don't but was tired) and as the auger torqued up on an obstruction I went to grab the cable to snatch it back to keep the blade and cable moving. As soon as my hand touched the cable, I was blasted - it looks like it bit me through a small hole in the thumb of my ugly gloves. I was working from a damp basement floor, and I did have to drag the machine through snow to get to the house. I was able to get the cable out without getting zapped again, but I didn't have a tester to see if there was a wiring/ground issue with the outlet.

    It seems obvious that somehow water was probably a factor, but I just don't know for sure. I'm concerned me or one of the guys that works with me is going to get shocked again. I spoke to the manufacturer's rep (well known) and was basically poo poo'd. My hand is bruised and my entire arm is sore, so it was pretty serious and I am looking to never have that happen again.

    Anyone ever get shocked from their auger before? Did you ever figure out why? I'd really like to devise a test for the gfci on the machines.

  • #2
    I didn't get shocked but I did have one that sparked on a tub before. I was about to put the cable through the overflow but when it touched the metal overflow I saw it spark. I checked and tested the gfci on my machine and it checked out fine. I then plugged into an outlet in another room and it was no longer sparking. My guess is the plumbing was used as ground and something was wired wrong in that bathroom because I used that machine for several years after and never had it happen again.

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    • #3
      I've been shocked before using my ( double insulated ) all steel Sears industrial drill working outside in the rain with wet leather gloves ... I use now a GFCI adaptor on the end of my drills to prevent electrocution and rubber gloves .

      I also use have on hand a outlet tester along with a no contact voltage tester( to make sure the equipment is not energized ), you be surprised how many outlets have reverse polarity or a loose, or not connected ground wire which could be deadly .

      My understanding of how a GFCI works is if it detects a difference of I believe 5 milliamps between earth ground ( neutral white wire ) and hot it trips . Hard to tell in your case why your machine got energized but my guess would be a incorrectly wired outlet .

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      • #4
        I have been shocked before. Several times. Roto rooter sled machine, a kenway jr sink machine and a roto rooter sink machine. All had gfis. I had a buddy stick his full size ridgid camera reel in a ci stack and it arched electricity and fried the head. My guess is it happens when electric is grounded to the sewer line and then somthing else effs up.

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        • #5
          Portable GFI is the way to go. On industrial sites where OSHA is looking over your shoulder all the time most employers or facilities REQUIRE their use on all power tools. Even 480v welding machines each have their own GFI. And yeah they are not cheap, about $500 each. At those facilities any time you are drilling in concrete or core drilling holes in concrete the drill has to be plugged into a drill-stop. It works somewhat like a GFI but you connect it to building ground and if there is any current flowing to ground from the bit it trips. The main purpose of the drill-stop is to protect any conduit or rebar from the drill bit which a GFI will not do. It keeps you from drilling into a conduit which may have energized cables inside or just damaging the conduit or the rebar. Still need the GFI to protect the people.

          This one is similar to what we have used but a different brand.
          Protek II Drill Interrupter — Termite Tools at QSpray.com

          Get yourself something like this. Whatever one you choose make sure it is Underwriters Labs (or CSA) listed and OSHA Approved. There are a lot of fakes out there, especially on Amazon. The difference in price is not worth your life or that of a coworker/employee.

          GFA15-3TC (leviton.com)

          Ron, thanks for telling everyone about your experience. Hopefully they will think of this thread now whenever they go to use their auger and double check their working conditions for any potential hazards.
          "It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?" Bob D. 2006
          "?ǝɹɐ sɹǝƃuıɟ ɹnoʎ ǝɹǝɥʍ ʍouʞ noʎ op `ʍɐs ǝlqɐʇ ɐ s,ʇı"

          https://www.youtube.com/user/PowerToolInstitute

          https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1p...qcZKHyrqKhikFA

          ----

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Bob D. View Post
            Portable GFI is the way to go. On industrial sites where OSHA is looking over your shoulder all the time most employers or facilities REQUIRE their use on all power tools. Even 480v welding machines each have their own GFI. And yeah they are not cheap, about $500 each. At those facilities any time you are drilling in concrete or core drilling holes in concrete the drill has to be plugged into a drill-stop. It works somewhat like a GFI but you connect it to building ground and if there is any current flowing to ground from the bit it trips. The main purpose of the drill-stop is to protect any conduit or rebar from the drill bit which a GFI will not do. It keeps you from drilling into a conduit which may have energized cables inside or just damaging the conduit or the rebar. Still need the GFI to protect the people.

            This one is similar to what we have used but a different brand.
            Protek II Drill Interrupter — Termite Tools at QSpray.com

            Get yourself something like this. Whatever one you choose make sure it is Underwriters Labs (or CSA) listed and OSHA Approved. There are a lot of fakes out there, especially on Amazon. The difference in price is not worth your life or that of a coworker/employee.

            GFA15-3TC (leviton.com)

            Ron, thanks for telling everyone about your experience. Hopefully they will think of this thread now whenever they go to use their auger and double check their working conditions for any potential hazards.
            Thanks Bob. Would you believe the machine has a GFCI on it from the factory? When I click the test button it interrupts the circuit every time. Do you still think using a portable GFCI would be prudent? I checked out the terminals inside the inline GFCI unit and they look fine; snug and clean.


            Whatever happened, it made a lasting impression on me. I get the creeps every time I touch an auger right now.

            Comment


            • #7
              Yes, I do believe it. Is it possible for the GFI to 'test' good but not be I believe it is. Where I worked we were not allowed to use the test button when testing GFIs, we had to use an external tester made by Hubbell That costs about $150 that they had tested in the companys' calibration lab and certified the accuracy of. It allowed you to set the leakage current from 2 to 7 mA so you could determine if the GFI was tripping at the required 4 to 6 mA. Now I'm not suggesting you go out and spend $150 to be able to test yours, and you probably would not be able to use that tester anyway because your GFI is built into the power cord of your tool.

              That's another reason to have a stand alone GFI on a short pigtail, you can place it where it does the most good, right at the outlet where your power is coming from. That way the cord and the tool are now protected, or more correctly YOU are protected. With the GFI in the tool only the cord and the tool are in the 'protected' portion of the circuit.

              Not pushing Grainger but they have a nice list of GFIs here.
              General Purpose Portable GFCI Bodies & Cords - Grainger Industrial Supply
              "It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?" Bob D. 2006
              "?ǝɹɐ sɹǝƃuıɟ ɹnoʎ ǝɹǝɥʍ ʍouʞ noʎ op `ʍɐs ǝlqɐʇ ɐ s,ʇı"

              https://www.youtube.com/user/PowerToolInstitute

              https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1p...qcZKHyrqKhikFA

              ----

              Comment

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