May is Electrical Safety Month
Electrical Safety Month is a time to revisit one of the leading causes of workplace injuries and reassess your company’s safety program.
May is National Electrical Safety Month, and Wesco joins the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) in observing this time to revisit your safety programs to stay safe around electric appliances, any electrical system, and power lines. As one of the leading causes of workplace injuries, tackling electrical safety is essential for worker safety.
Take a minute to review the electrical safety accident/injury statistics below. The statistics are both literally and figuratively shocking.
- Every 30 minutes during the standard workday, a worker suffers an electrically induced injury that requires time off from the job for recovery.
- Electrocution is the fifth leading cause of workplace fatalities in the U.S.
- Approximately 97% of all electricians have been shocked or injured on the job.
Related: There is an emphasis on safety in May. Learn more about the National Safety Stand-Down that takes place over the first week of May and how you can prepare your organization to prevent falls in the workplace.
Electrical Safety Month Themes and Trends
In 2022, the theme of National Electrical Safety Month was “Energy Resilience,” which focused on emerging technology and how electric vehicles, energy storage systems, and photovoltaics could provide energy to homes and businesses more safely and efficiently. Electrical safety should never be considered a trend, however, but a practice that we utilize every single day.
The goal of Electrical Safety Month is to raise awareness of the risks and to educate both employers and workers by providing information to help reduce the number of electrically related injuries, fatalities, fires and property losses.
What are some important steps I can take to promote Electrical Safety Month in my company?
- Ensure that your workers have received "Qualified Worker" training. This training explains common electricity hazards, risk assessment strategies and provides resources on safe work practices for electrical work. Employees must be retrained and made aware of any changes to the NFPA 70E standard at least once every three years.
- An arc flash study identifies electrical safety violations, hazards and non-compliance in your facility. Confirm that your workplace's arc flash study has been completed and that all equipment has been labeled so that workers are aware of specific shock protection boundaries.
- Make certain that all Qualified Workers have the correct Arc Flash Clothing to perform the required job tasks where a potential exposure could occur.
What is the NFPA 70E 2018 standard for arc flash clothing and arc flash suits?
The NFPA 70E standard addresses electrical safety work practices and procedures for employees who work on or near exposed, energized electrical equipment. This standard requires employees to wear arc rated (AR) clothing that meets the requirements of ASTM F1959 whenever there is a possibility of an arc flash and the employee is within the restricted approach or arc flash boundaries.
How do I choose the correct arc flash clothing and/or arc flash suit for myself or my organization?
Choosing the right arc flash clothing and/or arc flash suit depends on your electrical safety requirements. The higher the incident energy level at the point of work, the higher arc-rated PPE you’ll need. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) uses four Arc Flash PPE Categories to classify the range of hazards. Let’s take a look at the clothing and PPE required at each level:
Where can I purchase arc flash clothing and/or arc flash suit?
Wesco Safety is proud to partner with a variety of industry-leading suppliers to bring you a comprehensive selection of Arc Flash Clothing, Gloves and Supplies.
Our Safety Support Team is always available to discuss your electrical-related workplace applications, National Electrical Safety Month, and to help you choose the right clothing to keep your workforce protected from arc flash.