Reducing the risk of electrical hazards in the workplace
By Vince Miller, CSP, safety director at Washington, DC Chapter of NECA
Safety standards are vital to the industry’s success and help owners sustain and grow their businesses. The NFPA-70E : Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace are the requirements to ensure a safe workplace for personnel who are working around possible electrical hazards. This past fall the requirements were updated to include detailed tables for arc flash hazard identification and arc flash personal protective equipment (PPE) categories.
To ensure maximum safety, it’s important that electrical contractors train their employees on the standards’ revision. Building owners and contractors should ask their potential electrical contractors if they are up-to-date on NFPA-70E during the bidding process. Here are four reasons to hire an electrical contractor who is well-versed in the current standards.
- Compliance Guidance—Electrical contractors who are properly trained are the best resource when it comes to information on your facility. They can provide the latest information regarding labeling and maintenance that owners must address per the electrical code and OSHA.
- Personnel Safety— There are an estimated 30,000 non-fatal electrical shock accidents that occur each year. Using the current NFPA-70E ensures that electrical contractors are protecting themselves as well as customers and their end users from arc flash and other electrical hazards and their workers while working with live equipment as much as possible.
- Property Protection—Minimize the risk with a contractor who knows the latest standards. The NFPA is revised and updated periodically so it’s important to choose contractors who are constantly being trained.
- Education—Raising awareness of the risks associated with working on live equipment is a major issue. Electrical contractors who are properly trained can bring concerns to light quickly as well as provide education for the specialty contractors and others working on or around the project.
Most incidents can be prevented through compliance with NFPA 70E, it’s just a matter of knowing the latest information. Make sure the electrical contractor on your next project knows the revisions.
Vince Miller has been providing electrical safety training, using NFPA 70E, National Electrical Safety Code (NESC) and the OSHA standards (Construction, General Industry and Maritime) since 1999 for the Washington, DC Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA). He has provided training to Maryland OSHA and Virginia OSHA compliance and consultation officers and is active in the national NECA safety committee in developing safe work procedures. Learn more at www.electricalalliance.org.