EPSS Circuit Breaker Test
by Brad Keyes, CHSP, on May 11, 2021 1:00:00 AM
Q: I just had a follow-up validation survey by my state health department and they cited me for not having tested the circuit breakers between my generator and the transfer switches. What’s that about? In all my years of accreditation surveys, our accreditation surveyors never cited us for not testing these breakers. They never even asked about them. If I have to test them, how am I supposed to do it? How frequently do they have to be tested?
A: The state surveyor is correct. For Level 1 Emergency Power Supply Systems, NFPA 110-2010, section 8.4.7 does require you to exercise the circuit breakers between the Emergency Power Supply (also called the generator) and the transfer switch load side on an annual basis (Note: Level 1 systems are installed where the failure of the emergency power supply system could result in the loss of human life, such as a hospital, or an ambulatory surgical center.). You do this on an annual basis if the breakers are rated for 600 volts or less. For breakers that are rated in excess of 600 volts, then the exercise must be done every 6 months. This test is conducted when the EPS is in an ‘off’ position.
I am not aware of any accreditation organization instructing their surveyors to ask for this documentation. I suspect this is one of those items that CMS is pushing their state agencies on, and pretty soon all of the accreditation organizations will probably be enforcing it too.
For any reader that would like a free EPSS Circuit Breaker test form, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and put 'EPSS' in the Subject line.