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May is National Electrical Safety Month.

What Does That Mean?

National Electrical Safety Month happens every May.  It is highlighted by many national companies and agencies such as NFPA, NEC, ESFI and more. Goals include:

  • Creating awareness about electrical hazards a home, in the community and in the workplace.
  • Educating about the steps that can be taken to reduce electrically related fires, fatalities, injuries, and property loss.

According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, between 2003 and 2010, out of 42,882 occupational fatalities 1,738 were due to contact with electric current.  The highest number of fatalities was in the Construction industry at 849.  Of that total:

  • Electricians, construction laborers, roofers, painters, and carpenters comprised 32% of electrical fatalities.
  • Electrical power line installers and repairers about 8%.

Workers often find themselves in environments where they are exposed to unseen electrical hazards.

An arc flash is a sudden release of electrical energy through the air.  It occurs when there is a high-voltage gap between conductors.

  • The arc flash gives off high heat and bright, intense light.
  • This can cause burns and other injuries.
  • Temperatures have been recorded as high as 35,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Exposure can burn skin and ignite clothing.

OSHA compliant arc flash labels, such as those manufactured by LEM Products, Inc., warn of the dangers of arc flash and indicate the proper steps to avoid injury or death.  They also indicate that proper PPE be worn.  Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) comes in many forms such as:

  • Hard Hats
  • Gloves
  • Safety Goggles
  • Safety Shoes
  • Flame-resistant Shirts and Pants
  • Face Shields

Workers are continually subjected to dangerous releases of power during routine maintenance ad repair operations.  The Lockout Tagout procedure is a critical safety component designed to protect against serious injury and death in these situations.

  • One of the top OSHA violations I non-compliance with Lock Out Tag Out.
  • The Lockout Tagout procedure safeguards workers by:
    • Isolating machine energy sources.
    • Bleeding stored energy.
    • Verifying that switching is off.
    • Testing that the machinery is not operational before repairs or maintenance begin.

Make workplace safety, especially electrical safety, a priority.

  • Create a Safety Team to monitor and report conditions.
  • Comply with applicable codes
  • Follow safety procedures
  • Use proper PPE
  • Display safety warning signs
  • Utilize trained personnel