We live and work in an electrical industry that can be dangerous at times. We all must continue to sharpen our skills through continuous education. This education does not come from a one-size-fits-all,off-the-shelf training program. There are many approaches to training and the best program is that which meets your needs and yields results. Results come in a safer work environment and dollars to the bottom line. Electrical safety is more than just applying a product or sitting through a training class; it’s a regiment of training and procedures implemented in combination with technology that saves lives. Working smarter, utilizing what you learn and the tools available on the job, is a good way to begin to work safer.
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The National Electrical Code® (NEC) is a document that seeks the practical safeguarding of persons and property from hazards arising from the use of electricity. This document offers value to those who work on electrical systems. The NEC is an installation code that includes provisions from which the electrical contractors benefit. These provisions exist in the system for years after the structure is built and in operation.
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More than likely the old cliché of “Dress for Success” is a familiar phrase but one could argue that it takes on an entire new meaning when used in reference to an electrical worker. Appropriate dress can make a difference for electrical workers. Professionals working with electricity, including installers and inspectors, need to understand that appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) for the job is important if not critical to a better chance of a trip home and not to some other less desirable destination. It also just happens to be something OSHA finds very important. Personal protective equipment is not just something you buy and put on like other clothing, this equipment is life safety related and should be handled, treated, and understood as such.
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If you haven’t been made aware of the fact that electrical equipment exposed to water can be extremely hazardous if re-energized without proper reconditioning or replacement, then you just may also be surprised to hear that a similar message is applicable to electrical equipment exposed to the smoke/soot that may result from burning materials during and after a structure fire. One could argue that a structure fire not only creates an environment that is hazardous to the health of the occupants and first responders, it also has the ability to create a hazardous location caustic to electrical equipment.
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Overcurrent protective device interrupting ratings (IR) and equipment short-circuit current ratings (SCCR) are key considerations for the safety of commercial and industrial electrical systems. Inadequate overcurrent protective device IR or equipment SCCR can create a serious safety hazard. The National Electrical Code (NEC®) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have requirements around these important ratings and have resulted in changes to equipment designs and specifications.
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The topic of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) presents a target-richenvironment with regard to the topic of safety. As installers, we may only be concerned with the tools, personal protective equipment, liquids and chemicals, and electrical hazards from a safety perspective. We have to also consider that HVAC equipment could play an important role throughout its life for the contents (including people and goods) of the structure or area it serves. The fact that HVAC systems account for 39 percent of the energy used in commercial buildings in the United States means that we probably see a lot of these types of applications.
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One of the most fundamental calculations made on a power distribution system is that which yields available short-circuit current. Maximum available short-circuit current is an important parameter for every power distribution system as it provides a data point necessary to ensure equipment is being applied within its rating and the system is performing to meet expectations. Available short-circuit current is used in many other applications as well. The National Electrical Code demands this data point for enforcement of such Sections as 110.9 “Interrupting Rating,” 110.10 “Circuit Impedance, Short-Circuit Current Ratings, and other Characteristics,” and 10.24 “Available Fault Current.” Today we will discuss the development of an effective short-circuit current rating (SCCR) plan. Having a good plan in place can help increase electrical safety.
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As an electrical professional, we are no different than many others when it comes to stress; we deal with deadlines, commitments, financials, and other tasks associated with managing the business. and other tasks associated with managing the business. Stress is our body’s normal reaction to events that pull us in different directions. The effect of stress in our daily lives is sometimes quite visible but then again often it is not. Stress can be healthy but just like anything, too much can be unhealthy. Your mood, productivity, concentration, and general over-all health concerns are just a few negative results for someone under a lot of stress. For the electrical professional, stress has other possible safety impacts as things may become more complicated, especially for those who may find themselves working in and around energized equipment.
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Making terminations should be high on the list of good examples for the meaning behind the statement "the devil is in the details.” This task may seem simple but mistakes here could cause hours of troubleshooting or other types of problems after continued hours of use and aging of the installation. Let’s explore, from a high level, what you must concern yourself with when terminating conductors. I think you may see that this task, which quite often is left to the most inexperienced on the job, may need closer attention.
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We accept a level of risk in our daily lives in everything we do; the act of driving to work is a good example. The object is to reduce the risks of our actions, or inactions; reduce the potential that your action, your activity, or lack thereof will lead to an undesirable outcome. There are many ways to reduce the risks associated with the work you perform – it takes teamwork to make this happen. Your success can help take a bite out of the growing statistics of injuries and deaths in our electrical industry.
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