An Electrical Safety Program: Your First Step to a Culture of Safety
By: Rich Gojdics
As we lead up to our upcoming whitepaper on the importance of developing a safety culture, we would today like to explore how to lay the groundwork with a well-documented electrical safety program.
NFPA 70E (2018): Shared Responsibility and the Safety Program
Electrical safety programs are written to ensure that management and employees both understand their roles and responsibilities, that work and inspection processes are documented, and that personal protective equipment requirements are followed.
Required by OSHA and defined in NFPA 70E as “a documented system consisting of electrical safety principles, policies, procedures, and processes that directs activities appropriate for the risk associated with electrical hazards,” these programs re important as they provide the basic information that management and employees need to understand when completing electrical work.
NFPA 70E goes on to add the roles of employers and workers in the shared responsibility section of the document in section 105.3:
Employer Responsibilities: NFPA 70E (2018) Section 105.3
The employer has two main responsibilities under 105.3.
- Establish, document, and implement the safety-related work practices and procedures required by NFPA 70E.
- Provide the employee with the necessary training to understand and apply those safety-related work practices and procedures.
- The employer’s responsibilities are typically enforced by OSHA in 1910.132 general duty clause assessment and specific electrical safety requirements in 1910.331-335. Each of those OSHA standards require the employer to assess the jobsite for hazards (including electrical arc flash) and provide a safety plan and PPE and training to employees.
In addition to this, management is obligated to guard and correct all deficiencies promptly and ensure all new installations meet codes and regulations.
Employee Responsibilities: NFPA 70E (2018) Section 105.3
In addition to employer responsibilities, employees are to “Follow the safety-related work practices and procedures provided by the employer.”
Additional roles of employees are to report deficiencies, only work on equipment if properly authorized and trained, and inspect equipment prior to use.
Core Components of an Electrical Safety Program
So, what goes into an electrical safety program? Many elements are included in an electrical safety program; basic programs include the following:
- Introduction, Purpose, and Objectives: The first section of the document, which explores the dangers, goals, and reasons for creating such a program.
- Roles and Responsibilities: Defines the roles of management and the role of employees. Documents the roles of each job description.
- Definitions: Documents the difference between qualified and unqualified individuals, discussing the difference between the two, and the training required to be a qualified individual.
- Hazard Control Practices: Documents a specific order of controls to prevent incidents, following the hierarchy of controls—elimination, substitution, engineering controls, awareness, administrative controls, personal protective equipment.
- Electrical Safe Work Practices: Documents the risk assessment procedures, job briefings, de-energization processes, lockout, testing, tool selection, boundaries, and permitting.
- Inspection Procedures and Practices: Documents the basic process of completing an inspection and determining the safety of equipment.
- Personal Protective Equipment Selection, Requirements, and Use: Explains the times that employees are required to wear personal protective equipment, documents the employer’s responsibility to provide it, and other requirements.
- Training and Requirements: Documents the training required to be named a qualified individual, consisting of specific equipment training and requirements as explained by 29 CFR 1910.331 to 1910.339. Explains process of hazard awareness training for unqualifies personnel.
It Starts with Programs—The Importance of Developing a Safety Culture
Safety programs, while required, are only the first step for employers looking to develop a workplace where safety is ingrained in the behaviors and attitudes of employees. At Enespro PPE, we believe strongly in the importance of developing a culture of safety in which employees think of safety not as a requirement but a way of life.
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From Programs to Culture: Developing an Electrical Safety Culture
It’s likely you have a safety program in place—well documented policies and procedures, personal protective equipment on hand, a training program that ensures employees are well informed about their rights and responsibilities, and penalties for not following the rules. However, programs only go so far, and too often, compliance starts to falter. If you are looking to go beyond programs and implement a true culture of electrical safety, we’ve written a guide that can help you. Developing a Culture of Electrical Safety explores the differences between a compliant program and a true culture of safety while offering tips that can make your people safer. Preview this guide below and download it here.
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