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May 28, 2013
May is Electrical Safety Month—Tips for energizing your program

Every year in the United States, workplace electrical incidents result in more than 300 deaths and 3,000 injuries. While electrical hazards are not the leading cause of workplace injuries and fatalities, they can cause fatalities and serious injuries, both of which can be costly for employers.

For a Limited Time receive a FREE Safety Special Report on the "50 Tips For More-Effective Safety Training."  Receive 75 pages of useful safety information broken down into three training sections. Download Now

The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) says that for every 13 electrical injuries, a worker dies. Most of the deaths and injuries could be prevented, according to the ESFI. The key is awareness of the hazards and knowledge of best practices.  The ESFI website (http://www.ESFI.org) offers resources to boost worker electrical safety knowledge and prevent accidents.

The organization recommends a three-step process to assess the effectiveness of a workplace electrical safety program. The steps are awareness, assessment, and improvement. A self-assessment tool guides users through a series of questions to help gauge how well a program is working and identify areas that need improvement. It focuses on facilities, personnel, and procedures.

The procedures section addresses operations for performing energized work, de-energizing and reenergizing, lockout/tagout, job planning, performing arc flash hazard analysis, reporting safety concerns, and recordkeeping.

Consider a review of your electrical safety program early this summer. Here are some tips:

  • Make sure only authorized employees are permitted to work on electrical systems or equipment, and keep unauthorized employees out of the work area.
  • Make sure you have a lockout/tagout program and that all employees are trained to follow its procedures.
  • Do not work on or near live parts in hazardous locations (e.g., in wet or damp areas, or where there are corrosive or flammable atmospheres).
  • Use only insulated tools, and wear voltage-rated gloves when working on or near live parts.
  • Wear safety glasses and other personal protective equipment (PPE) as necessary when working on electrical systems or equipment.
  • If possible, do not work alone.

These tips are excerpted from BLR’s Electrical Safe Work Practices checklist. Subscribe to Safety.BLR.com today and access the rest of our important electrical safety tips!

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