What keeps businesses powered and facilities running can also pose some of the most dangerous hazards to workers.
The Electrical Safety Foundation International has launched its annual National Electrical Safety Month (NESM) in an effort to reduce electrically related fatalities, injuries, and property loss. Each May, ESFI spearheads the campaign and this year’s theme is “Connected to Safety,” focusing on staying safe while working with emerging technology. In the workplace this means working around solar energy, temporary wiring safety, and EV chargers.
Solar PV Electrical Safety
Did you know the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is projecting solar photovoltaic (PV) installer jobs to grow 51% between 2019 and 2029? For environmentally conscious businesses turning to solar energy, it’s important to know how to stay safe when working with or around solar panels.
Like any energized system, solar PV systems introduce electrocution hazards and other dangers that put workers at risk of injury or death. One of the best ways to ensure safe installation is by effectively communicating warnings through signs and labels. Businesses should review the safety standards from OSHA and the National Electrical Code for labeling requirements, PPE, requirements, and other guidelines for working around solar PV panels.
OSHA + Temporary Power Safety
According to OSHA, contact with electricity is one of the leading causes of workplace fatalities in construction. Although it poses a high risk of danger for workers, electricity is often necessary to keep the job site operating. ESFI outlines the three following steps to ensuring safety for anyone working with or around temporary power:
- Setup: Meeting temporary wiring standards from OSHA, NEC, and NFPA 70E; installation must be done by a qualified electrician; ensuring protection from foreign objects; establishing an expected timeframe for permanent power.
- Use: Inspecting cords and wires for damage; maintaining temporary wiring while meeting codes; keeping a test and maintenance log; always following lockout/tagout procedures when maintaining, repairing, or re-routing temporary power.
- Removal: When the project has been completed, temporary wiring must be removed as it is only allowed for construction, remodeling, maintenance, tests, and developmental work.
Preparing your Business for Electric Vehicle Chargers
As more drivers opt for environmentally-friendly cars, adding electrical vehicle (EV) charging to building can attract new customers and give your business a competitive edge. In addition to making sure charging equipment has been rated and listed by a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory, cord management is an important part of EV charging safety. Keeping long cords and cables out of the way will help prevent wear and tripping hazards.
How is your workplace observing National Electrical Safety Month? May brings a great opportunity for a toolbox talk with your employees on staying safe while working with electricity. Explore our own electrical safety resources below:
- Download our free Solar Paneling Labeling Guide
- Stay up to date with the National Electrical Code (NEC).
- Check out supplies for Wire and Cable Management
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