Miller Electric’s commitment to safety is unquestioned. Far from a burden, to us, safety is a mandate. The motivation behind every safety strategy, training class and program is our firmly held belief that even one death in the performance of electrical construction work is too many. That’s one of the reasons why, since 2004, we have been offering electrical safety training classes to our customers.
Keeping up with NFPA 70E
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) states that its purpose for the NFPA 70E Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace is “to provide a working area for employees that is safe from unacceptable risk associated with the use of electricity in the workplace…The core objective is practical, accomplishable electrical safety that results in the employee going home safe at the end of the day.”
Many of the rules outlined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and NFPA 70E were prompted by numerous jobsite injuries or deaths. They, and we, are on the same page when it comes to the purpose and importance of workplace safety in the electrical industry.
Miller Electric makes it a point to update and re-offer our safety classes to customers every time NFPA 70E updates, which is typically about every three years. This year is one of those instances and our next course is happening on April 17. Over eight hours, we discuss electrical safety issues that include:
- Boundary adjustments triggering requirements for PPE
- Incident energy calculation method vs. task table method
- Hazard Risk Table categories
- New equipment-based tables for determining arc flash PPE categories for A/C & D/C tables
- Criterion for employees to use insulated tools or handling equipment
This year, some of the major changes in NFPA 70E that will be addressed include risk assessment procedures, the hierarchy of risk control methods, establishing an electrically safe work condition, estimating the likelihood of occurrence of an arc flash incident and the selection of arc-related clothing using incident energy analysis. That last one is something Scott Love sees his TEGG and proactive maintenance team as well as Miller Electric’s Assistant Safety Coordinator, Tim Tanner, addressing regularly.
“When we perform arc flash analysis for customers, we take inventory of all their electrical equipment, measure conductor lengths, determine incident energy levels for all pieces, and ID the type of equipment they have. From the data we gather, we calculate arc flash boundaries, approach boundaries and touch boundaries as well as proper PPE needed, for each piece of equipment,” says Love. “We print labels that can be adhered to the outside of electrical equipment so that anyone can walk up safely and know exactly what they need to do and wear to work safely before they open up the door.”
In addition to questions about arc flash danger and how to work safely in light of it, we also see customers commonly asking questions like the following, which we answer in our electrical safety training courses:
How does OSHA view electrical safety? What’s its connection to NFPA 70E?
How do you use NFPA 70E?
What are the responsibilities of the employer? Employee?
What is proper PPE?
How do you implement an electrical safety program?
Safety Training Leads to Safe Communities
In the time that we’ve been offering our electrical safety training courses, we’ve seen a huge change in the culture here in Omaha. “Many of our customers understand why we need to de-energize a piece of equipment to work on it safely, and are happy to not only accommodate that, but work with us to get the employer, employee and owner on the same page about what it’s going to take to do the work safely,” says Miller Electric Safety Director Scott Love.
When a job has to be performed energized, having knowledgeable customers who understand the purpose and function of OSHA and NFPA 70E standards makes it easier to put a plan in place for working on affected electrical equipment safely.
Are you interested in electrical safety training? It’s not too late to sign up for our next course. Get in touch with us today for more information.