How to Make an Electrical Safety Program for Your Plant
October 31, 2019
By: Jeson Pitt
Electricity is one of the main causes of accidents in any plant. There could be a high possibility for accidents like electric shocks, electrocution, etc., to occur. Therefore, you must have an airtight electrical safety program implemented in the plant. It will keep the employees safe and the equipment from getting damaged.
Here are 6 ways you can design an effective electrical safety program.
- Study and Implement OSHA Standards
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) places great importance on companies having comprehensive Electrical Safety Programs. These programs must address all the safety issues that workers are likely to face on the job.
OSHA relies on the NFPA 70E electrical safety standard to define the elements of the Electrical Safety Program. Study them carefully and understand the standards of OSHA. Implement them accordingly in the facility.
- Conduct Audit of Electrical Equipment and Procedures
It is important to perform an audit of the facility’s construction electrical products and procedures. This would allow you to identify the specific areas within the plant where electrical hazards may be present.
Conduct the audit at least once per year. It is a good idea to audit whenever changes are made in the facility. This will make sure that the facility and all its electrical systems continue to operate safely.
- Design for an Elimination of Electrical Hazard
Try to eliminate electrical hazards in the facility or reduce them to an acceptable risk level. You can consider Prevention through Design (PtD) to achieve this. It is the concept of designing out hazards or designing in controls to equipment or processes to mitigate exposure.
It sounds like a great idea to completely eliminate the hazard, but it is not practical nor possible. For instance, if you need human input for any process, there will always be a possibility of error. You cannot completely eliminate intentional or unintentional human error. But try to bring it down as much as possible.
Conducting risk assessment of any electrical hazard can help in coming up with probable solution and design for example arc flash risk assessment for employee safety.
- Verify the Absence of Voltage
Verify the absence of voltage once the lockout process is completed.
Use an adequately rated voltage tester when you test for the absence of voltage. It is equally important to wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) while doing this. You can even use the absence of voltage tested (AVT).
An AVT simplifies the verification step by automating the process and preventing the workers from exposure to electrical hazards. Once you install the AVT, initiate the test. You will see an active visual indication when the absence of voltage is confirmed.
- Practice Electrical Safety Training
Safety drills are common electrical safety practice in many companies. However, not many focus on the unique dangers that electrical accidents possess.
They can be particularly difficult to exercise and put into action. It is because the person most likely to be injured in an electrical accident is the one most likely to be responsible for the electrical system.
Design unique and challenging safety drills that are specific to the electrical system. This will help you be more prepared in the event of an actual emergency. You will also be able to identify potential areas of electrical danger within the facility.
- Improve and Update Safety Program Continually
Once you make the electrical safety program, keep updating it. The program should include the provision to report any kind of near-miss electrical incident. This will allow you to identify such instances and mitigate them by putting the right actions in place. Strive to constantly improve the program for the benefit of everyone working with the electrical equipment.
Don’t let electrical safety be an after-thought in your facility. Be proactive and design the best electrical safety plan that will keep your employees safe.
Author bio - Jeson Pitt works with the marketing department of D & F Liquidators in Hayward, CA and regularly writes to share his knowledge while enlightening people about electrical products and solving their electrical dilemmas. He's got the industry insights that you can count on along with years of experience in the field. Jeson lives in Hayward, CA and loves to explore different cuisines that the food trucks in the Bay area have to offer.