Today more than ever, companies need to reduce employee injuries and incident rates and avoid the costs of downtime due to electrical equipment failures. Implementing comprehensive electrical safety programs that result in changing and improving a company’s safety culture can help make these goals a reality.
NFPA-70E®-2018 Standard for Electrical Safety for Employee Workplaces®
January 3, 2019
NFPA 70E® Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace® provides requirements for establishing a workplace that is safe from unacceptable risks associated with using electricity while working. Safety processes, policies, procedures and program controls reduce the risks associated with using electricity to an acceptable level.
Working on electrical equipment exposes a worker to electric shock and arc flash hazards. Unlike many safety concerns, these hazards simply can’t be eliminated or avoided as working on or around energized equipment is often required for some tasks, such as using a meter to test for voltage or rack a breaker.
Molded from rugged, impact-resistant nylon, the Voltclaw-12 has no metal parts and is nonconductive up to 1000V. Its smooth edges allow an electrician to safely bend and move wires without damaging insulation, unlike with standard metal tools that can nick and break insulation.
Nearly three workers die every week (as calculated over a five-year period) from exposure to electricity – a total of 739 deaths during that period. One-fifth of the victims were self-employed. Most fatalities (417) were caused by direct exposure to electricity, such as touching a live wire.
Cal/OSHA has issued citations to an outdoor advertising company for serious safety violations after a worker suffered third-degree burns when a metal pole he was using to install a sign on a billboard came into contact with an overhead power line.
By its directive, the electrical safety standard, NFPA 70E®, calls upon employers, contractors and employees to work together and, through an expanded risk assessment, clearly define a means by which compliance can be achieved for the protection of all involved.
The total cost of safety cannot be underestimated. A life is priceless. Direct costs such as worker’s compensation, medical and legal expenses, and indirect safety costs such as training, accident investigation, implementation of corrective measures, lost productivity, equipment and property repairs add up quickly.