Electrical Safety Program: Getting Started

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By Cole Ferguson

If you're reading this, you must be interested in starting your own electrical safety program for your company. Electrical safety is important.

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of procedure and policy though, we've got to take care of a couple of things. Before you get started designing your electrical safety program, you need as much information about your job areas as you can get.

Electrical Safety Brainstorming

Here's a good list of items you may want to consider when building your electrical safety program:

  • What are the electrical hazards in your workplace? Consider things like uninsulated metal tools near energized equipment.
  • What jobs require work on energized equipment? An example could be testing circuits to determine that they are working correctly.
  • Who performs the work on energized equipment? Only someone qualified through appropriate training.
  • How do you currently reduce risk of harm to personnel and equipment? Some ways include wearing protective clothing and establishing safe working distances from energized equipment.
  • If you already have a safety program, is it adequate? How long has it been since it has been reviewed?
  • How long has it been since the last incident energy study has been done on your workplace? Should your studies be updated?
  • Who needs to be trained to work at your facility and what kind of training do they need? Ideally, everyone should have basic electrical safety training as well as job specific training.
  • What kind of PPE is required for which types of jobs? Some basic repairs on non-critical equipment might only require insulated tools and insulated gloves, while working near an arc flash hazard might require an arc-protection suit.

Electrical Safety Program Purpose

Your electrical safety program should be able to answer all of these questions. Asking these questions before you begin creating your new electrical safety program will help you figure out which current safety practices you can keep. These questions also help to highlight problem areas that need to be looked at, giving you a good idea of what you should focus on changing. You aren't limited to just these questions though: you should also look at anything specific to your workplace that isn't listed above. Once you've gathered all possible information on the current safety practices of your workplace, you can get started with the creation of your new electrical safety program.

For the next set of sections you'll need when putting together an electrical safety program, check out our article next week on Documentation Housekeeping.

This post is part 2 of the "Electrical Safety Program Development" series:

  1. How to Create an Electrical Safety Program
  2. Electrical Safety Program: Getting Started
  3. Your Electrical Safety Program: Document Housekeeping
  4. Electrical Safety Program: Health and Safety, Your Roles and Responsibilities
  5. Electrical Safety Program: Planning Standards and Hazard Identification
  6. Electrical Safety Program: Planning Risk Assessment - What Makes an Electrically Safe Working Condition?
  7. Electrical Safety Program: Training and Clear Communication
  8. Electrical Safety Program Wrap Up: Documentation, Evaluation and Corrective Action