Electrocution – Why We Still Need Electrical Safety Training in Omaha
We talk about safety so much at Miller Electric that it should come as no surprise to hear us say safety is a way of life. We are intentional about nurturing a culture of safety first at Miller Electric, then within the facilities departments of the customers we serve, and finally within the broader community as a whole.
We do that, not just to prevent electrocution but to protect people from all kinds of electrical injuries and accidents.
Why does Miller Electric care so much about electrical safety?
We put a priority on NFPA 70E training because we believe you cannot place a value on a human life.
Simply put, there’s no amount of money that ever justifies cutting corners or assuming nothing will go wrong on a job because it never has.
Nearly every entry in the National Electrical Code or NFPA 70E manual exists because someone in our industry learned the hard way about a safety risk. One person who shares our passion for electrical safety is NFPA 70E trainer and electrical safety consultant Bob Webber.
We've shared the electrical safety training seminars we offer with Bob before, and we continue to bang the safety drum with him today because electrical injuries and deaths continue to occur.
Despite Increased Safety Training, Electrical Injuries are on the Rise
According to OSHA, approximately 350 people die from electrical-related incidents each year. Its website reports that out of 4,674 worker fatalities in private industry in calendar year 2017, 20.7% were in construction and that the leading causes of worker deaths on sites were falls, being struck by an object and electrocution.
Those numbers represent a 3 percent increase over the past three years. Why does the construction industry seem to be getting less safe, overall? Webber thinks part of the problem is that it’s human nature to become complacent.
“Sometimes it’s over-confidence. We follow all the guidelines all the time and it’s just so easy to let our guard down, but section 90.1 of the National Electrical Code hits the nail on the head. It says, essentially, to put together your components in such a manner that it will operate in a relatively safe condition. Notice it doesn’t say completely safe. Proper installation and maintenance as well as adherence to safety practices will result in a condition that is essentially, yet never completely free of risk,” he says.
Webber also attributes the rise of electrical incidents, like electrocutions, to a lack of consistent learning and training.
“People know something needs to be done but there is misinformation. We’re all trying to find something to adapt to our company and people. NFPA 70E is a guide to do it. You don’t need to follow it word for word, but you do need to adapt it to your unique situation. Create a specific electrical safety program as part of your overall safety program. That’s what I’m trying to do and have been trying to do since I began this training.
“As a company, Miller Electric has decided that they would prioritize safety. We both have the same goals – to disseminate as much information as clearly and often as possible to keep people safe and prevent them from injury. I’m impressed that Miller has those same goals for their employees and their customers. It shows the quality of their people and the company.”
Complacency, Underestimation Could Lead to Dangerous Incidents
Even with training and being intentional about creating a culture of safety, complacency can seep in, presenting an ever-present risk of electrocution and other electrical injuries.
“We tend to lose respect for the power of electricity. It’s an easy thing to do,” says Webber. “I’ve been an electrician and electrical safety trainer for too many years to count and I’ve made mistakes. I’ve seen myself become complacent. No one is above the threat of risk, and the risk of severe injury or death from electricity is just too powerful. If we let our guard down, even for a minute, it could be deadly.”
Webber adds that since all humans are conductive, the risk for electrocution will always be present, no matter how safely we work.
“Anybody who interacts with electrical equipment or works with it in any way should attend an electrical safety training. The same electrical accidents keep happening over and over so people are either ignoring the danger or assuming they’re invincible; or that they’re non-conductive. Unfortunately, electricity is more powerful than we are. The damage it can cause in a millisecond is almost unfathomable.”
3 Reasons to Attend an NFPA 70E Safety Training
Webber says there are three key reasons to attend an NFPA 70E electrical safety training:
#1 – We are all conductive.
#2 – Electrical equipment fails.
#3 – All injuries and deaths are preventable
Webber says people ask him all the time if they need to attend since they’ve been working with electrical equipment for 30 years or more and have never experienced an incident or electrical injury.
To that Webber responds, “If you haven’t experienced an electrical incident yet, the time and circumstances just haven’t been right. I had a supervisor in a company say they didn’t need 70E training. A few weeks later, he was killed when he accidentally touched a 120-volt line inside a motor control center where he had stored his lunchbox. Nobody, including myself at times, thinks it’s ever going to happen to them.”
Stats have shown that in 2012, as more people got involved in NFPA 70E training, injuries and deaths began to go down. As of 2017 though, they’re starting to go back up. Burn and shock injuries may be on the rise because people either aren’t getting the training, or aren’t following it.
Details on Miller Electric’s Upcoming Electrical Safety Training Course
Miller Electric is aiming to change that. We offer an NFPA 70E training for anyone who works with electrical equipment or systems. Topics covered will include:
- Boundary adjustments triggering PPE requirements
- 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
Every time the NFPA 70E guidelines update, we update our electrical safety training to ensure our customers and community have the most current and critical information about preventing electrical injuries in the workplace.
Bob Webber will lead the training, answering questions like:
- How does OSHA view electrical safety?
- What is its connection to NFPA 70E?
- How do you use NFPA 70E?
- What are the employer’s responsibilities? Employee?
- What is proper PPE?
- How do you implement an electrical safety program?
Webber says people are often surprised to find that everything they touch has a safety consideration attached to it.
“Just one screw, nut or bolt can literally mean the difference between life and death,” he says. “I love to educate, train, teach, learn and pass it on. I don’t think I’m better or smarter than anyone else. I just have a passion for helping people work safely around electricity.”
While the date and time are still being worked out, we’re taking interest from those who want to attend now. If you would like to attend the safety training, please call Mandi Luger at 402-522-9143 or email Mandi.Luger@millerelect.com.