Arresting Arc-Related Incidents Before They Start

A recent article in Plant Engineering magazine discussed the latest changes to the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) 70E standard, which covers electrical safety in the workplace. The article looked at the hierarchy of safety controls, from elimination (de-energizing) the electrical system at the top of the pyramid to the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) at the bottom.

Despite 15 revisions to the NFPA 70E standard since 1975, there still are hundreds of incidents each year where improperly performed work on energized equipment is associated with a substantial share of electrical injuries. That is why the third level of the electrical safety hierarchy after elimination and substitution is engineering controls.

Products such as the Woodhead ArcArrest 30A Switch-Rated Connector System have been developed to help ensure energized electrical equipment can safely be powered down. It brings the technology to safety and quickly remove the electrical danger by preventing the release of energy in powering down equipment.

Even experienced workers overlook electrical safety issues, and the use of PPE can be cumbersome and time-consuming. Developing policies and training that reinforce the consistent use of safety protocols are crucial to maintaining a safe work environment. When that safety training is combined with world-class technology, it provides another level of protection from electrical incidents—and keeps OSHA investigators at bay.

Investing in electrical safety technology has an added benefit not covered by NFPA’s standards—it gives workers confidence that the company is willing to put money behind that desire for a safe workplace.