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Answers to common questions for maintaining cleanliness while preserving functionality and integrity of electrical equipment.

The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) this week published a guide for disinfecting electrical equipment—especially relevant in this time of the coronavirus pandemic. 

The NEMA GD 4-2020 COVID-19 Cleaning and Disinfecting Guidance for Electrical Equipment outlines the proper cleaning and disinfecting of equipment that managing the COVID-19 virus requires. These guidelines were developed to answer common questions for how to maintain cleanliness while preserving the functionality and integrity of electrical equipment.

“As government social distancing restrictions are lifted, and workplaces of all types reopen, the focus will be on how to protect workers and keep facilities clean and disinfected,” said Kevin J. Cosgriff, president and CEO of NEMA. “This may include cleaning and disinfecting electrical equipment. The first consideration is worker safety, so following documented safety procedures is essential. 

Electrical Safety Foundation International is also a good source for general safety information, Cosgriff said in a release sent last week. 

“Beyond that, all cleaning and disinfecting steps must bear in mind the need to protect electrical equipment from inappropriate cleaning and disinfecting products and methods,” he said. “In most cases, the original equipment manufacturer is the best source of authoritative information regarding products made by them.”

“Disinfectant solutions and solvents can harm electrical equipment and components, causing severe damage that can result in outages and potential physical injuries,” Steve Sacco, vice president of safety and environment at Schneider Electric said in the release. “We specifically caution against the use of fogging and spraying disinfectant solutions on and around electrical equipment because this can create invasive electrical hazards. 

“When cleaning and disinfecting electrical equipment and components, we recommend following the manufacturer’s instructions. If you have a specific question, contact the electrical manufacturer for guidance. While performing routine maintenance or operating the equipment, we recommend taking all possible steps to avoid contamination by following CDC [Centers for Disease Control] recommendations on thorough hand-washing and the use of personal protective equipment, including face coverings.”

NEMA GD 4-2020 is available as an electronic download for free on the NEMA website along with other NEMA COVID-19 resources.