Smart Business 2018: Prioritizing Electrical Safety for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals

These days, smart businesses prioritize electrical safety. To maximize the benefit of electrical safety with regard to maintenance and reliability in the plant, it’s important to consider the allocation of resources.

When it comes to equipment maintenance, choose reliability over risk. Neglecting the maintenance of electrical equipment and wiring can lead to non-compliance with installation codes and practices, but it can also increase the probability of workplace injury.

Today, the smart business choice is to lean into safety.

It can be said that electrical professionals may be knowledgeable about electrical technology and how electrical equipment functions, but they may not be seasoned experts in safety management and maintenance and reliability systems. And, maintenance and reliability professionals may be highly skilled in understanding and implementing functional equipment, but they may not be familiar with safety management or the facility’s electrical systems.

A facility’s senior management may not have deep expertise in either of these areas, but they do hold the key to financial resources and human resources that can solve for issues of importance, like electrical safety. Therefore, their collective skills and responsibilities can create facility-wide collaboration to improve both the electrical safety program and the electrical system maintenance with an eye on uptime.

Smart businesses also put a significant emphasis on eliminating energized work, whenever possible. This means placing equipment in an electrically safe working condition and verifying that equipment is deenergized must be a primary focus of the electrical safety program.

Lockout/tagout is a critical step in verifying the absence of voltage

Every step to verify the absence of voltage is purposefully designed to serve as a critical safety step.

Eliminating a hazard is the most effective method according to the hierarchy of risk controls, and should be the first choice whenever possible. NFPA 70E emphasizes the need to work on electrical systems only when they are placed in an electrically safe working condition, but creating and verifying this condition requires more than just de-energizing, as it involves multiple steps to confirm the system is safe and verify the absence of voltage.

Though the entire testing process may seem complex, every step is purposefully designed to serve as a critical safety step, making it impossible to skip testing steps and still attain an electrically safe working condition.

Absence-of-voltage testers (AVTs) are permanently-mounted testing devices that are specifically designed to determine if a circuit part is de-­energized prior to opening panels or removing covers to access and maintain electrical equipment.

AVTs are a new product listing category in UL 1436, Standard for Outlet Circuit Testers. They are designed to automatically run internal diagnostics and administer the live-dead-live type of verification testing with an internal known voltage source and actively indicate the absence of voltage.

AVTs help improve electrical safety by way of a Prevention through Design approach, making them an ideal option for maintenance and reliability professionals and their staff.

Be Proactive, Not Reactive When It Comes To Your Maintenance Repair Operations

Every year, the rail industry spends billions of dollars to improve the national infrastructure. For example, American freight railroads spent $28 billion in 2014, and a projected $29 billion in 2015 on infrastructure and equipment. Although new projects draw the most attention, the majority of spend is on routine maintenance repair operations to ensure continuous safety and efficiency of the railroad system. There is a definite correlation between the increase in rail network investments and enhanced safety performance.

After a recent US passenger train accident last month, the Federal Railroad Administration issued a safety advisory for passenger railroads. The railroads are recommended to use an existing technology called Automatic Train Control (ATC) to alert trains appearing to be travelling at an excessive speed, in hopes they reduce their speed as they approach a curve or bridge. (On May 12, 2015, an Amtrak passenger train carrying 243 passengers and crew members derailed killing eight and injuring more than 200. The train was travelling well above the allowable speed limit for that area).

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Importance of Lockout/Tagout

Lockout/Tagout is a process to control energy hazards for preventing accidental start-up or release of stored energy during set-up, maintenance and servicing of equipment. OSHA outlines this safety method in standard 29 CFR 1910.147 (“Control of Hazardous Energy”). Lockout/Tagout is a widely accepted practice for companies in the United States.   OSHA advises US companies, “Workers servicing or maintaining machines or equipment may be seriously injured or killed if hazardous energy is not properly controlled. Injuries resulting from the failure to control hazardous energy during maintenance activities can be serious or fatal! Injuries may include electrocution, burns, crushing, cutting, lacerating, amputating, or fracturing body parts, and others….Craft workers, electricians, machine operators, and laborers are among the 3 million workers who service equipment routinely and face the greatest risk of injury. Workers injured on the job from exposure to hazardous energy lose an average of 24 workdays for recuperation.” Here are 3 examples of accidents due to a lack of Lockout/Tagout practices:

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Move Over Santa Claus, Here Comes GHS!

Guest post by Fred Dorman,
Global Solutions Mgr, Business & Channel Development

Some readers may already know the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals or GHS is an internationally agreed-upon system created by the United Nations. It has been designed to replace various classification and labeling standards used in different countries with a consistent labeling system on a global level. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has updated its Hazard Communication Standard to align with this Globally Harmonized System.

So what does this mean for Employers? Much of OSHA’s Hazardous Communication Standard has been changed in this transition and that means manufacturers and employers will have to update their hazard communication program accordingly. The new requirements include:

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Welcome to Panduit’s Market Solutions Blog

I want to take this opportunity to introduce myself; I am Chad Reynolds, and I have almost 20 years’ experience in various global Marketing and Product Management positions serving the Industrial and Commercial markets.

This blog will be geared towards what is currently going on in the industry and how it impacts you and your business. Market Solutions topics will range across four specific areas: Construction (both industrial and commercial), MRO, OEM, and Energy (oil & gas, wind and solar). From time to time I will invite guest bloggers to provide their expertise on specific topics. I will also encourage you the reader to offer suggestions on themes you are interested in as well as provide your feedback and insight on specific blog posts.

Panduit Market Solutions include Construction, OEM, MRO, and Energy components.I welcome you back on Dec. 5, as I am inviting Jeff Mehrer Director of Global Construction to talk to us about the 2014 Construction Outlook and What That Means to You. Continue reading