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Eight Things To Consider When Evaluating Your Electrical Safe Work Program Audit

Every year, Environmental, Health, and Safety (EHS) managers are required to audit their Electrical Safe Work Practices formats and programs.  How do we truly know if our programs are covering the company’s risk and liability needs? How do we know what is new or trending in the compliance sector? Who can we ask for help to review our programs, and what are their qualifications or experience?

As I travel the country speaking with EHS directors, I have discovered it is a common practice for companies to contract a third party to perform an engineering study of their “arc flash” hazards. It is also very common to find that little is done beyond the study. Below are eight quick points to consider asking yourself before an annual internal audit of your safety programs.

  • Is my Arc Flash program current or in place?
    • Have my one-line diagrams of the electrical system been updated since my last renovation or modification in the plant?
    • Have my one-line diagrams been updated within the last 5 years?
    • Do my one-line diagrams actually help my employees with LOTO goals and PPE use or is my report on a shelf and not being utilized effectively?
  • Have my Insulated Rubber High Voltage Gloves been dielectrically tested by a third party and date stamped?
  • Are my Arc Rated Clothes (PPE) in good shape and stored in a proper place?
  • Do I have an Energized Work Permit within my safety policy, and has anyone utilized this document within the past year?
  • Are my insulated electrical tools the correct ones?
    • Do they have a double triangle and 1000V rated?
    • Is there an ASTM testing standard number on the shaft or handle?
  • Am I using the correct voltage meter for the right situation?
  • Are my training records up to date?
    • Has my staff been trained and should I consider skills qualification methods for training vs simply classroom based programs?
    • Has my staff been re-trained within the last 3 years or should I implement annual training to keep employees current on goals with EHS and electrical hazards?
    • Do I have CPR and AED training for my qualified electrical personnel?
  • Have my qualified people been re-trained annually by a qualified person?

These are just some of the items to look at when evaluating your Electrical Safe Work Program. OSHA and safety compliance officers will be looking for these answers when/if they do a site visit, so be prepared with documentation, and seek professionals with several or more years of compliance background with NFPA 70E.  The code is loosely-written, so it is up to the employer to implement a program that covers your individual risk needs.