EA: What are you excited to do as safety director of the Washington, D.C. NECA Chapter?
JR: I’m excited at the opportunity of inspiring, motivating and engaging our chapter members in the architectural alignment of safety into the installation process. Electrical contractors are competitive by nature, and what better area by which to compete is there than enhancing safety related work practices that improve quality and productivity? There is a lot of opportunity for growth in the electrical industry and I’m glad to be a part of it.
EA: Can you tell me about any programs you’d like to roll out for the D.C. Chapter?
JR: Electrical Safe Work Practices (ESWP) that addresses OSHA’s 70 E arc-flash requirement has a lot of opportunity for utilization. An instrumental component that I’m looking to venture into is not just a worker program, but also a management program that is geared for supervisors and project managers.
EA: What should a general contractor look for in terms of safety when hiring an electrical contractor?
JR: What’s critical is the availability of qualified electrical workers. There is no safe electrical work without that basic principle. From there, electrical contractors should have an electrical safety program that protects their workforce. The policy should emphasize the process of de-energizing electrical circuits and safe work practices to be followed if required to work on energized systems.
EA: How will you work differently with member contractors, industry partners, regulatory organizations, electrical workers, building owners and the public to promote electrical safety?
JR: There needs to be a collaborative approach between all parties involved. We understand and embrace the fact that we have multiple interests at stake. It is through those differences that we will engage stakeholders in striking a balance that is of benefit to workers, contractors, owners and regulatory entities. The protection of people, property and the environment is of great benefit to our society.
EA: What are a few best practices for electrical safety, as you see it?
JR: First of all, I have to support working on de-energized electrical circuits. If we eliminate workers’ exposure to energized electrical conductors, as an industry, we can significantly reduce injuries and fatalities. My efforts will focus on promoting methods that design or engineer out the electrical hazard. Prevention Through Design (PtD) is a growing field, and electrical contractors will be instrumental in defining that process.
EA: How will your experience with NECA National benefit you working with the D.C. Chapter?
JR: I bring to the Chapter an eagle’s eye view on safety related best practices, training and regulatory activity that are coming down the pipeline. This view and my experience will give members of the Washington, D.C. Chapter a competitive advantage. I’m forward thinking and these experiences will allow me to put plans in motion prior to regulations coming into effect.
EA: Do you have any favorite past jobs, projects, programs or experiences you’re most proud of?
JR: If I had to pick the top three , I have to say being appointed on the Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health (ACCSH), serving on the Accredited Standards Committee on Safety in Construction and Demolition Operations (ANSI A10) and serving on the committee that sets the Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace Committee (NFPA 70E). Being part of these groups has been a humbling experience.