With the deadline of January 1, 2015 quickly approaching, facilities that are not in compliance with National Fire Protection Association 70E requirement run the risk of violating the new OSHA regulations. The mandate requires all equipment to be put in a location that is electrically safe prior to any worker engagement with or near the equipment.
The requirement also specifies that arc flash, arc blast, shock hazard, and electrocution risk should only be present when equipment is energized. When such equipment is being used, the owner is responsible for warning workers of potential hazards when working on energized electrical equipment.
Due to the high potential for danger and penalties caused by noncompliance, keep these six tips in mind to ensure your facility stays on the right side of the new regulations:
1) Have a complete written safety plan that directs activity appropriate for electrical hazards, voltage, energy level, and circuit conditions.
2) Perform an incident energy analysis, apply labels to equipment that define the arc flash boundary, and identify the personal protective equipment (PPE) that must be used within the boundary.
3) Provide an up-to-date electrical one-line diagram identifying sources of supply to specific electrical equipment.
4) Train employees to understand the specific hazards and safety-related work practices.
5) Purchase personal protective equipment (PPE) and provide it for all employees that work in areas that are within the arc flash boundaries.
6) Design overcurrent protective devices and perform maintenance on electrical equipment to reduce the risk of failure and the possibility that employees will be exposed to electrical hazards.
Emily Aschinger Martin is president and CEO of Aschinger Electric.
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