Are you safe? Workplace safety should be a common topic for every employer. Periodic training, safety seminars, daily safety discussions and safety briefings prior to working a job are just a few of the ways that safety touches all workers. We are taught to wear our appropriate safety glasses, hard hats, footwear, fall protection, hearing protection, etc. Most employees are aware of general safety requirements for walking and working around the facility, but what about electrical safety? To whom does this topic apply? What are the training requirements for the personnel that could be affected by electrical accidents such as an arc flash?
OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) is the organization that we are familiar with for helping the employer and employees understand the requirements for a safe workplace. OSHA documents such as 29 CFR 1910 (Safety and Health Regulations for General Industry) and 29 CFR 1926 (Safety and Health Regulations for Construction) address the safety requirements for many topics including electrical safety.
OSHA 29 CFR 1910 addresses the needs for electrical safety training, especially those under “higher than normal risk of electrical accident.” Table S-4 in this document lists the following job types as being at higher than normal risk of electrical accident and REQUIRED to have safety training:
• Blue collar supervisors• Electrical and electronic engineers• Electrical and electronic equipment assemblers• Electrical and electronic technicians• Electricians• Industrial machine operators• Material handling equipment operators• Mechanics and repairers• Painters• Riggers and roustabouts• Stationary engineers• Welders.
The list includes a number of job categories that are not considered as electrical workers. Safety training applies to many different job positions.
OSHA 29 CFR 1910 also lists a document from the National Fire Protection Association titled NFPA 70E as a reference to help comply with electrical safety. This electrical safety standard is currently used to help employers create and maintain a safe work environment. NFPA 70E defines the electrical hazards that exist, how to mitigate employees risk and how to comply and maintain employee safety with regards to electrical hazards.
Another key to electrical safety is electrical maintenance. In 2015, NFPA points out that a very strong tie exists between safety and properly maintained equipment. One of the key electrical maintenance standards is NFPA 70B. This standard defines what maintenance tasks should be performed on the various electrical components found in any typical installation. If a company is not performing electrical maintenance along with properly installed equipment, the electrical safety program is not complete.
What steps do the employer, employee, and equipment owner need to put in place for electrical safety? Start with an understanding of the electrical safety standards and electrical maintenance standards. A training program like ABM’s Empower Program is a tremendous first step. After all, safety is everyone’s responsibility.
Empower Training Services’ comprehensive safety training courses are in line with the standards developed by the NFPA as well as OSHA. The program offers a variety of courses and seminars to suit all NFPA 70E training needs. Participants may even be qualified to earn Continuing Education Units for participation in one of the onsite classes.
Onsite seminar topics include:
• What is Arc Flash?• Flash Protection Boundary and Limits of Approach• Personal Protection Equipment (PPE)• NFPA 70B Maintenance & Testing Methods• NFPA 70B Equipment Testing Procedures and Intervals• Components of an Effective EPM Program
About ABM’s Empower Program
Empower Training Services was developed by ABM Franchising Group, a portfolio of franchise networks that deliver mechanical and electrical service and preventive maintenance solutions to commercial, industrial, and residential buildings, consisting of four franchise brands: TEGG, Linc Service, GreenHomes America and CurrentSAFE. A complete list of upcoming trainings can be found through ABM Franchising Group’s website, TEGG.com or directly through Empower Training Services’ website at NFPA.TEGG.com.