Reader Forum

Auto body filler works better than paintI very much enjoy your magazine and always read the Simple Solutions article. I noticed a reader submitted an article about sealing electrical enclosures. While the idea is basically a good one, it is not without fault. Paint will not stick to RTV. A better solution would be auto body filler.
By Staff March 11, 2002

Auto body filler works better than paint

I very much enjoy your magazine and always read the Simple Solutions article. I noticed a reader submitted an article about sealing electrical enclosures. While the idea is basically a good one, it is not without fault. Paint will not stick to RTV. A better solution would be auto body filler. It dries fast and can be sanded and painted, as well as being permanent. — Gary Wiggins, condition monitoring technician

Unused hole requires same protection level

This is in reference to Simple Solutions in the December 2001 issue. Although the advice to closing an unused hole in an electrical enclosure is very practical, there are safety issues. RTV sealant may provide the necessary means to seal this electrical enclosure. However, this hole must be made to withstand the same level of protection as the rest of the enclosure. The NEC (National Electrical Code, 1999 edition) states that unused holes shall be effectively closed to afford protection substantially equivalent to that of the enclosures within the scope of the article, that being cabinets, cutout boxes, and meter socket enclosures (reference article 372-4). Another general section is Article 110-12 (a) Unused Openings under Mechanical Execution of Work and states: effectively closed to afford protection substantially equivalent to the wall of the equipment. The larger the hole, the greater the hazard of using the advice in the magazine. — Donald E. Stalter, senior electrical engineer, Eveready Battery Company

Employee deserves support, not the door

I was greatly disappointed with the answer to the “Human Side of Engineering” in the January 2002 issue regarding absences. Would the recommendation for dismissal be the same had the employee had a substance abuse problem or a family member in hospice care? What if the employee had been called to active military service or had a loved one missing in the World Trade Center? In the story, the manager’s decision was repulsive. How dare he judge the employee’s problems as a “troubled employee.” It’s no wonder why there is no trust between management and today’s workforce. Firing a worker is management’s easy way out, rather than offering support, perhaps re-assignment, or part-time hours. My only hope is that the two gentlemen in this story never experience one-tenth of the experiences this woman has and find themselves in a similar fate. I cannot help but wonder if this would have happened if the employee was a man. — Steve Brown

Ray’s response:

Thank you for your comments, Steve. While I respect and appreciate your humane and compassionate perspective, I am afraid it is not realistic. A manager has split responsibilities which are, unfortunately, sometimes in conflict. While a good manager bends over backward to help develop his people and see them over the rough spots, he is responsible to the rest of the work crew and stockholders as well. Sixty-one absences! Wow! That’s almost a quarter of an employee’s normal work time. Supervisor Fountain certainly did bend over backward in his effort to be sympathetic and supportive of Joan. But if he continued bending over, his own spine would be in jeopardy. There are just so many absences — whatever the reason — any management can be expected to endure. — Ray Dreyfack, contributing editor