Electrical safety compliance can be a challenging compliance for many. Customers always ask, “What is it that OSHA is going to look for?” Also, “Are there certain sections in NFPA 70E that I need to make a priority within my facility?” My answer to customers is always the same, “It is all important and all critical to mitigating risks within your facility.” We all want our employees to leave the workplace in the same condition that they arrived in and unless we are taking the proper steps to mitigate electrical hazards within the workplace, we are opening up the door for risk.
Believe it or not, NFPA 70E has been around since 1979. However, it was not until the 1980’s that we began to understand the hazards of arc flash. Before that, people assumed most hazards were caused by shock but this has been proven over the years to be false as arc flash is the major hazard associated with electrical work. So what can we do to protect our workers and get into compliance while avoiding hefty costs like fines, equipment downtime, litigation, loss of productivity, equipment maintenance, repairs or replacements?
The answer for electrical compliance may not be as simple as we all would hope, but electrical compliance starts with a written electrical safety program. These programs must incorporate arc flash and shock protection as well as other topics associated with codes, standards and any applicable regulations. You also want to include; lockout tagout, personal protective equipment, electrical training and any documents or records.
Once your team is clear on the internal policies you have within your electrical safety program, then the next steps would be to implement an electrical assessment and electrical training. An electrical assessment in your facility will be used to identify hazards so that you can mitigate them. Also, you will have clear awareness of what your electrical risks are within your facility so that your workforce will know when to wear proper electrical personal protective equipment. NFPA 70E states that an electrical assessment needs to be done every 5 years, or when a major modification has taken place within your site. NFPA 70E also states electrical training must be provided every 3 years. Most customers we work with have programs that exceed this standard as they feel more comfortable offering a yearly course or a refresher to keep their teams up to speed on the latest changes in standards and work requirements.
Finally, the last step for electrical compliance is personal protective equipment. This is the first thing OSHA looks for when coming on site. Once all hazards and risks have been identified through an electrical assessment, then a customer will understand exactly what is needed to protect its workforce.
Salisbury by Honeywell offers electrical services and equipment that can help with your electrical compliance needs. Please contact your local Graybar branch or Salisbury sales representative today to get more information or a free quote!