What is Ground Fault Interruptor (GFI)?
Definition of Ground fault interruptor ( GFI ) in Construction
A ground fault interrupter is an electrical device that senses the current running into a fixture, appliance, or other electrical component, and shuts down the power.
If the amount of current is not equal, entering and exiting the component, the GFI will break the circuit, and stop any current from going where it is not designed to flow. The intent of the GFI is to eliminate the potential for current to move in a direction not intended. The GFI prevents faults and shocks, and is a code requirement in all wet areas. A GFI on a jobsite can be a life saver due to its ability to stop a shock or electrocution. The abruptness of an electrical shock, on a construction site, can cause a worker to fall from a scaffold or any elevated area. In addition, a random shock can scare or distract a worker and cause them to incur severe injury. The use of GFI’s on construction sites become an issue due to the length of cords and the frequency of water on the site. An extension cord that is of considerable length, sitting in water, will leak amperage and trip the GFI. This is a common occurrence and creates chaos on a busy construction site. OSHA requires periodic maintenance of all cords and GFI outlets due to this issue. There is always the tendency to try and patch the worn or cut extension cord. It is always better to simply throw the old one away and buy new. Modern design and new technology has improved the construction and materials used in extension cords and the difficulties caused by old and worn cords is slowly being eliminated.