When I first started researching and writing about electrical safety, I didn't really know what an electrical safety program was or why someone would need it. I had a gut feeling that if you were someone working with electricity, an electrical safety program would keep you safe. I felt like that was enough. However, all safety programs help keep workers safe, so why would a business specifically want an electrical safety program?
According to the ESFI, between 2003 and 2010 there were 1,635 workplace fatalities related to electricity in the private industry. Between 2003 and 2010 there were also 20,150 nonfatal electrical injuries involving days away from work in the private industry. Although the number of accidents related to electricity has been dropping steadily every year, the fact is that one accident is one too many. It is very important for your workplace to have an electrical safety program to help lower the risk when working around energized equipment, so here are 6 great reasons why you can benefit from an electrical safety program:
1 Employees will be well educated.
An electrical safety program will ensure that employees are well informed and have up-to-date training for their jobs. The two major causes of electrical accident fatalities are contact with overhead power lines and contact with wiring, transformers, and other electrical components. Well trained, well informed workers will cause fewer accidents and be less at risk.
2 Fewer accidents means money saved.
Statistics gathered by the NFPA show that the average electrical accident costs $80,023. This cost includes both workers' compensation (medical bills and wages while unable to work) as well as equipment costs.
3 It can increase productivity by causing you to schedule your work better.
Accidents are time consuming. Before you work on it, equipment should always be de-energized when possible. Having a procedure in place for scheduling this type of work ensures that work on one system is not impacting the operation of another electrical system. This leads to greater uptime for your facility.
4 It makes it easier to adapt to changing safety standards.
When you're on the bleeding edge of safety progress, it will be easier for you to adapt to changes to any standards you currently follow. When it comes to safety, you want to lead from the front, not follow behind.
5 Having an accident free workplace builds trust.
This might be one of the most important points. You won't have unexpected shut-downs and won't be incurring high accident costs. Your leading stance on safety puts you ahead of the competition. People will want to work with you, for you, and will want to invest in you because being accident-free makes you reliable.
6 It's very easy and simple to do!
There is a wealth of tools and information available to you when creating your electrical safety program, and they're easy to combine with whatever current safety program you might have in place. IEEE, NFPA 70E, and CSA Z462 can help get you started, but there's all kinds of information out there on the internet if you take the time to look.
And those are 6 great reasons why an electrical safety program can benefit you. Thanks for reading!