By Jeff MacKinnon

Today I'm starting a new-ish feature where I'm publishing a different thought as a twitter audio at least, and maybe a video depending on where I'm located.

This first thought is on checklists, and their importance in every electrical safety program. This came to me, again, when I was meeting with a client and they were getting started developing their electrical safety program. I was there to help them with an arc flash analysis update, and we started talking about the minimum viable electrical safety program.

Some background

To get there, I had to fly and I noticed something that I see every time I fly, but I haven't thought about in a while, the pilots were doing their checklist. This was a short flight, and these pilots must do the same routine pretty much every day. They know it in and out, but the checklist helps them consiously go through all the steps every time. Its like if you drive the same part of raod often and then one day completely forget drviing it as you go though. You don't want to space out on routine tasks.

This is where the checklist comes in, with a very routine task you may skip over steps, but with a checklist you make the check as you go through, mentally remembering to do that thing. I recommend that checklists be used for all tasks that are high risk starting out, and then add in non-routine medium risk tasks as the electrical safety program matures. An example of a medium risk task may be changing a 347V ballast at height.

Minimum Viable Checklists

The two checklists that ever electrical safety program should have are:

  • Energized Electrical Work Permit
  • Lock-Out-Tag-Out

These checklists allow the worker and manager to manage the hazards associated by those tasks, which are always medium-high risk, to make sure that everyone stays safe.