Your Resource Guide for Electrical Safety Month
I’m not a big fan of awareness holidays, you know, National Backwards Day, Magnetism Month and Wear Plaid Week. But one I celebrate is National Electrical Safety Month. Electrical Safety is real. A real life saver.
We even have a national non-profit organization, The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), dedicated exclusively to promoting electrical safety in the workplace. They commemorate the month with a comprehensive collection of education, training, awareness posters, fact sheets and video material focused on preventing fires, injury and fatalities.
Of course, electrical safety is important to us. We’re in the field daily. Not all our work is installing carefully planned projects, we also come across our share of out of code work and jury-rigged systems from times and sources unknown. Safety is the only way to approach this work, well, safely. You might remember a recent blog where we looked at the rigorous safety requirements that come as part of our industry certification programs. if you want to revisit it, click here.
I know electrical safety is important to your team as well. It’s just one of the skills you or your people are involved with in the course of a day. The more they can be aware of the proper procedures, use the proper techniques and count on the right tools, the less likely they will be involved in creating an unsafe condition, an arc flash, or a fire. A great way to protect them is with knowledge is the ESFI self-assessment test. The test is a series of questions you administer yourself. It is well worth the time.
- Learn more about the fire risks you face in your own facilities, with your personnel and procedures
- Find out if your electrical safety program is up to date, effective and comprehensive
- Identify areas that may require a deeper look, or immediate attention
- See how your policies and systems for equipment, maintenance, tools, testing and working conditions impact your fire and fire safety risk
- Review the work practices of your employees who work on or around electrical equipment like the care and maintenance of personal protective equipment, their training and continuing education.
- Check your preparedness for performing energized, de-energized and re-energized work
- Respect proper lockout/tagout procedures to save lives and property
- Avoid arc flash damage and flash hazards by reviewing procedures and equipment
- Evaluate other parts of your training and procedure to keep your facility safe for work and operations
- Follow this link to get the self-assessment. Then take the assessment.
I know focusing on fire safety makes a difference. The proper use of Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCIs) would cut the number of electrical fires in half each year.
Another common cause of injury and damage is lockout and tagout conditions. Proper procedures would save 120 fatalities and 50,000 injuries a year.
On a personal level, I hear fewer tales of the dramatic cause by a dangerous arc flash. We don’t see the dangerous wiring messes that used to part of every remodeling job. There are fewer trips to the hospital to visit injured workers, and workers comp claims have come down too. I think improved training, equipment and an appreciation of safety have reduced injuries for us.
As a way to commemorate National Electrical Safety Month I’d like to leave you with several important safety reminders.
- Treat all circuits as live until they’re tested
- Respect lockout and tagout signs
- Use extension cords properly to avoid tripping, fires and system overload
- Power strips don’t add power to the circuit they only add outlets. Remind tenants not to overload circuits
- Use AFCIs to avoid problems with overloaded, frayed or stressed wiring
- Check fire extinguishers and alarms.
- Hold a fire drill, it’s an approved way to celebrate National Electrical Safety Month.
We work together using electricity to make your facilities more efficient, get the benefits of new features and technologies and provide more function to your tenants. We’re all in the safety business together. Know that on our side we’ll be working the safe way for the benefit of all.
Here’s to a safe and sane National Electrical Safety Month.