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Who Needs Electrical Safety Training?

Posted by Joshua Fleishman on Fri, May 26, 2017 @ 10:56 AM

As we close out May and therefore Electrical Safety Month, I wanted to share a bit of information for those not familiar with the training requirements for avoiding electrical hazards. Even if you are familiar with the requirements, allow this to serve as a quick reminder to verify that you are in compliance with your relevant OSHA standard.

For many of those in industry who face the risk of injury from electrical shock or other electrical hazards, you must be trained so that you are knowledgeable of these hazards and how to avoid them. Some occupations have a higher risk due to the nature of their job. In fact, OSHA has detailed out the typical occupational categories of employees that face a higher than normal risk of electrical accident. This includes the following:Electrical Safety Training

  • Blue collar supervisors*
  • Electrical and electronic engineers*
  • Electrical and electronic equipment assemblers*
  • Electrical and electronic technicians*
  • Electricians
  • Industrial machine operators*
  • Material handling equipment operators*
  • Mechanics and repairers*
  • Painters*
  • Riggers and roustabouts*
  • Stationary engineers*
  • Welders

*Workers in these groups do not need to be trained if their work or the work of those they supervise does not bring them or the employees they supervise close enough to exposed parts of electric circuits operating at 50 volts or more to ground for a hazard to exist.

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For those who are on this list, but do not follow the expection list just above, training may be a necessary need to assist these employees in avoiding electrical hazards and a knowledgeable understanding of the potential of this energy. As you may surmise, proper precautions must be taken to guard against these hazards. Too many employees, too often, are victims of injuries (or worse) because they fail to take these proper precautions to guard against such hazards. Failure to recognize the hazard of contact with energized electrical equipment can be a fatal mistake. 

Necessary Training Requirements for Electrical Safety &
Avoiding the Risk of Electrical Shock:

29 CFR 1910.332

  • Employees must be trained in and familiar with safe work practices that pertain to their job assignments or relate to their safety. [(b)(1-2)]
  • Are qualified employees permitted to work on or near exposed energized parts? If so, be sure they are trained in the skills and techniques necessary to distinguish exposed live parts from other parts of electric equipment. [(b)(3)(i)]
  • Qualified employees must be trained in the skills and techniques necessary to determine the nominal voltage of exposed live parts. [(b)(3)(ii)]
  • Qualified employees must be trained in the clearance distances specified in the standard, and in the corresponding votages to which they will be exposed. [(b)(3)(iii)]

Qualified employees are those permitted to work on or near exposed energized parts. Those not not deemed qualified persons, but whom risk similar electrical hazards, shall also be trained in and familiar with any electrically related safety practices. The different training requirements for qualified and unqualified employees are outlined below for reference.

"Qualified" employees must (at a minimum) be able to:

  1. Identify live electrical parts
  2. Know their voltages
  3. Follow proper safety procedures for working on or near exposed live parts
  4. Know proper PPE to be used
  5. Know the importance of using insulating and shield materials as well as insulated tools

Training for "Unqualified" employees should cover (at a minimum):

  1. The risks of energized equipment
  2. How to protect themselves and others when they work around electricity
  3. What tasks can be done only by qualified workers
  4. To always respect warning signs and barriers designed to protect them from live parts

Once again, as Electrical Safety Month comes and goes with the month of May, there is no better time to access your electrical safety needs. If you are in need of either electrical safety training or arc flash training, or simply have a question regarding these topics, contact Safety Training Services today. We look forward to assisting you with your electrical safety & training needs!

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Tags: electrical safety, electrical safety training

10 Safety Rules Homeowners Should Follow When It Comes to Electricity

Posted by Joshua Fleishman on Mon, Sep 09, 2013 @ 10:30 AM

Electrical Safety, Safety TipsOwning a home may be the American dream, but it can also be a very expensive adventure. When something goes wrong or breaks, the responsibility of correcting the problem lies solely with you, rather than being paid for by a landlord. When it comes to electricity, there's more at stake than just a repair bill and a bit of inconvenience. The energy that powers all of the devices in your home and makes modern life so much simpler can also be a very real danger if you're not properly aware of how to handle it in a safe and effective manner. These ten tips are among those that homeowners should always keep in mind when dealing with electricity for the sake of safety and security.

  1. Don't be an Electrical Do-It-Yourselfer – Taking on a big project in your home can be a very rewarding and exciting experience, but it can also be a very dangerous prospect when the project in question is one that requires electrical work. Unless you're an experienced electrician, it's best to leave all related work to the professionals. Attempting to save a little bit of money can be very expensive when something as powerful as electricity is part of the equation.
  2. Install Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters – Ground fault circuit interrupters, or GFCIs, are an essential part of home electrical safety. When ground faults or leakage currents are detected, a GFCI will trip the circuit and shut off the power, preventing severe shocks and electrocution. In addition to installing GFCIs, you should also make a point of testing them each month to ensure that they work properly.
  3. Don't Ignore Faulty Outlets and Switches – When you own your home, it can often seem as if there is an endless parade of things that need to be fixed or upgraded. While some projects can be put off for a rainy day or until there's more money in the bank, problems with electrical outlets or switches aren't among them. Inoperable outlets can be an indicator of wiring faults, which can present a fire hazard.
  4. Pay Attention if Outlets Feel Warm to the Touch – If you place your hand on a switch or outlet and it feels warmer than usual, it can be an indicator of a fire-hazard wiring condition and should be addressed as soon as possible to prevent house fires or other dangerous and destructive events.
  5. Keep an Eye Out for Discoloration – Outlet covers or switchplates that are discolored in a manner that suggests exposure to heat are no laughing matter, nor are they something that should be put off until later. They're a strong indication that there are problems with the wiring in your home, and could be the warning signs of an impending electrical fire.
  6. Childproof all Outlets – If there are curious little explorers in your home, one rule that you should always abide by is the vigilant use of childproof outlet covers. Kids are fascinated by the outlets that are frequently placed right at eye level for a crawling little one, and can be seriously injured if their tampering leads them to place an object inside the outlet slots.
  7. Address Outlets or Switches that Make Unusual Noises – If an outlet or switch in your home makes any sort of unusual sound, including buzzing or sizzling noises, it's important that you consult a professional promptly.
  8. Replace Frayed or Damaged Cords Immediately – Normal wear and tear or the attention of pets' teeth and claws can fray or damage an electrical cord, which can present a shock or fire hazard if the bare inner wires come into contact with some surfaces, including carpets and skin.
  9. Don't Pinch the Wires! – If you have to bend a cord, be sure that you do so loosely and never crimp or pinch them. These actions can break or tear the plastic housing around the live wires, leaving them exposed in dangerous and potentially destructive ways. You should also never attach wires and cables to surfaces with staples or nails that could cut through the plastic coating, either.
  10. Install and Maintain Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters – Arc fault circuit interrupters provide greater protection than normal circuit breakers from electrical fires, and should be installed to protect your home. Just like GFCIs, you should make a point of testing them once a month to ensure proper functionality.

Tags: electrical safety, general safety tips, electrical safety tips, fire safety

Electricity & Office Safety: Listen & Learn, Don't Sizzle & Burn

Posted by Joshua Fleishman on Mon, Jun 24, 2013 @ 04:00 PM

History of Electricity

600BC: A mathematician in Greece named Thales (one of the 7 sages of Greece) is thought to be the first person to discover what we know as static electricity by rubbing amber with animal fur.

Late 1500s: An English scientist, William Gilbert (one of Queen Elizabeth’s physicians) found out that amber was not the only conductor. He added many more substances to the list and coined the term electricity.

Early 1700s: Stephen Gray discovered conductivity and that even water could be electrified. Charles Du Fray, in Paris, performed experiments based on Gray’s work and came to the conclusion that everything and everybody contained electricity (leaving out lightning, ironically).Benjamin Franklin, Electrical Safety, Office safety

1752: Ben Franklin conducted his famous kite experiment. In the process, he proved that pointed rods conduct electricity better than balls do and that lightning is a form of electricity. Franklin then invented lightning rods and sold them throughout colonial America.

1870s: Thomas Edison built a DC (direct current) electric generator in America and later provided all of New York’s electricity.


1800s: Nikola Tesla invented the AC (alternating current) system for electrical transmission. This is what is used today over DC due to its many advantages; the biggest is that you can generate much more power from AC than DC. He also invented motors that run on AC and designed the world’s first Hydroelectric Plant.

Nikola Tesla, Electrical Safety, Office SafetyThe short answer to “What is electricity?” as OSHA states it, is the flow of electrons though a conductor. Since atoms make up any and everything, and electrons are particles that make up an atom, electrons are therefore everywhere. Because of this, electricity is everywhere. We are going to discuss how this affects us and how it is paramount to take a few extra steps in our daily lives and remember a few tips to keep ourselves safe with regards to electricity and electrical apparatuses.

Electricity is conducted through some materials better than others. Returning for a moment to the definition given earlier about electricity being the flow of electrons through a conductor, we know that conductors are materials that loosely hold electrons. Great examples of these are most metals: copper, aluminum, or steel. Other things hold electrons very tightly, these are called insulators. Insulators include: rubber, cloth, plastic, glass, or dry air. 

Electricity has a few important properties:Electrical Safety, Office safety

  • It must have a complete path (or circuit) to continuously flow.
    • Without two points of contact on the body for current to enter and exit, respectively, there is no hazard of shock. In fact, this why birds and squirrels can sit on power lines; there's only one point of contact!
  • It will all paths back to the source, but it will follow paths proportionally according to the conductivity of each path.
    • When impedance (resistance to electrical currents) increases even slightly, the electrical current seeks other paths to ground, such as through a person in contact with an energized surface.

As electricity is a serious workplace hazard, exposing employees to electric shock, burns, fires, and explosions, it is very important to understand how to avoid these risks and learn how to reduce electrical accidents down to 0.

The good news is that these electrical accidents are 100% preventable with proper knowledge and training!

In short, there are only 3 things needed to achieve this.

  1. Understanding how electricity works.
  2. Recognizing potential electrical hazards.
  3. Learning about safety devices that prevent shock.

All three of these things are taught (and then some) in Safety Training Service’s NFPA 70E training course. For more information contact us and find out more information. For anyone not interested in the training at this time, read on for more information/tips on reducing these risks in your workplace.

Electrical equipment used in an office is potentially hazardous. It can cause serious shock and burn injuries if improperly used or if equipment is poorly maintained. Remember, periodic self-inspection should be conducted of your area to help identify and correct electrical hazards and maintain compliance. Follow these tips to reduce exposure to electrical hazards.

  • To reduce the risk of fires, turn off all appliances at the end of the day.
  • Only use 3-prong (grounded) outlets and grounded appliances.
  • Immediately disconnect any malfunctioning electrical equipment or any equipment giving off a strange odor.
  • Promptly disconnect and replace cracked, frayed, or broken electrical cords.
    • Don't "yank" cords out by pulling on the cord itself.
  • Keep extension cords clear of doorways and other areas where they can be stepped on.
  • Do not use staples to fasten extension cords. Do not hang cords from nails, or suspend by wire.
    • It is recommended to keep all wires and cords off the floor to prevent injuries caused by tripping.
  • Don't use equipment with worn or frayed cords or cables.
    • Ensure that unsafe electrical conditions and practices are promptly reported to a supervisor.
  • Never force a plug into an outlet if it doesn't fit!
  • Plugs should fit securely into outlets, but check for those that have loose-fitting plugs, which can overheat and lead to fire.
  • Ensure that all appliances are certified by an independent testing lab! E.g., Underwriter's Laboratory (UL).
  • Maintain at least 3 feet of clearance in front of all electrical panels. (Overlooked way too often!)
  • Water and electricity should never be very close to each other.
    • Electric plugs at cubicles should be away from places where water or coffee spills are most likely to occur.
  • Inspect space heaters!
    • Verify the devices are approved for commercial use and have a switch that automatically shuts off the heater if the heater is tipped over. Further, make sure space heaters are not powered through an extension cord or placed near combustible materials such as paper.
  • Never block fire sprinklers!
    • Furniture and tall stacks of materials can block the range of fire sprinklers, reducing their effectivemess in the event of an emergency.
  • Do not block escape routes or prop open fire doors.
    • Items should never be stored along an emergency exit route. These paths should remain free from clutter, according to OSHA. Fire doors should not be held open by unapproved means (such as with a garbage can or a chair), as this creates a significant fire hazard.
      Electricity safety, office safety,  electrical safety program
Last, but not least, and most of all, insurance is essential. Although it is not an office safety tip, it often helps to have it just in case an emergency occurs. With these safety tips for your workplace and your informed knowledge on the topic of electricity and electrical safety, you can be sure to avoid some of the most common accidents and emergencies of electric shocks and fire!
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Tags: electrical safety, electrical safety program, office safety, osha electrical safety, electrical safety training, electricity safety