Electrical Safety Programs


By Jeff MacKinnon, P.Eng, PE

Start Writing about what this is all about. This is the thing that we are talking about, some of the steps to get you started in developing an electrical safety program for your workplace. This will get you started.

Getting Started

Before you get started, its important to figure out what are some of the typical tasks that electrical workers do at your workplace, some questions that get you started could be:

  • What are the electrical hazards in your workplace?
  • What jobs require work on energized equipment?
  • Who performs the work on energized equipment?
  • How do you currently reduce risk of harm to personnel and 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?
  • What kind of PPE is required for which types of jobs?

Getting Resources Together

Now that you have compiled a list of tasks, people, roles, hazards, etc; you need to get some resources together.

In the past I suggested that you put together a table of contents listing out all of the sections that you will need. Today, I think that is too onerous for a starting point, and if you are doing this in addition to your regular job, I think that it will just lead to the electrical safety program never really getting started. Instead, I recommend making a list of all teh resources that you have today. Maybe its the Electrical Safety Starter you got from me when you joined the weekly electrical safety newsletter; or the handbook that came with that Arc Flash Course. Anything and everything you have.

Next you need to put together an improvement schedule. Keep the cycle short starting out, and as the program matures, you can stretch it out. I recommend NEVER having a cycle more than a couple years though. This is the first part of the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle. We are planning the next steps. When you have this written down, talk to your managers, safety officers, electrical workers, etc. You need to make sure you have everyone's buy-in.

Roles and Responsibilities

You have the schedule and you have the buy in, now you need to define who does what, and who CAN do what. Start small. The minimum roles would be: Safety program owner, electrical worker, non-electrical worker.

You need to define what these roles are within the electrical safety program development and how someone qualifies for each role. The non-electrical worker would be defined as someone that works in and around electrical equipment; never entering the restricted area, but aren't qualified to do electrical work. This could be a mechanic that does work on motors and they will be activating isolating switches as part of their work and using bump tests to verify that the motor is de-energized.