It should be reasonable to expect that when you get to the workplace on any given day you will take part in a “tool-box-talk” or “safety-share” of some sort. It could be difficult, if not impossible, to cover every hazard of every job that you will be involved in throughout the day in a single tool-box-talk. This is why the CSAZ462 technical committee has stressed the importance of performing an electrical job briefing before starting any job.
Yup… I said any job (not just while you are pouring a cup of coffee and rubbing the sleep out of your eyes). That means if you are performing multiple jobs in one day then you need to stop and do a job briefing before starting the next.
Before you say to yourself “that guy’s crazy” and click the back-button lets just run through what the job briefing is all about and why it really does make sense to complete one for every job.
So what is a job briefing?
A job briefing is a plan. It’s a plan that focuses on the safety elements of your upcoming job. The job briefing identifies any hazards associated with the job, outlines specific work procedures involved, any special precautions the workers need to consider, determines how energy sources will be controlled, lists PPE requirements, and details the information on the energized electrical work permit if a permit is required. Check out the example form on our resource page.
I know it seems like a lot, but let’s just think about it for a second… imagine you work for an explosives control squad and are tasked to defuse a bomb, would you like to know if it were a smoke bomb or plastic explosives? Would you wonder if it’s cut red-blue-yellow or cut yellow-red-blue… or blue-yellow-red! Are there more bombs? Land mines? Do I need a bomb-suit?...
See where I’m going with this? Good. This is the way that you need to be thinking when you are working with electricity… it’s just like working with a live bomb.
What about a job that we repeat over and over?
Good question, this comes up all the time and usually I tell people to use their own judgement but for the most part, one job briefing is enough. However, you need to pay attention! If circumstances start to change, then you need to stop, take a step back, review the job briefing and make any necessary changes to the plan. An example would be cleaning motor control centre buckets. If every bucket you clean is in the same MCC section, then no need to complete another job briefing.
Do I need to write it down?
Technically a brief discussion between the worker in charge and the other workers is all that is required. You could use a checklist to help prompt the team to think about things that they might otherwise not. I suggest that you use a job briefing form that forces you to write down real information that will change from job to job. This will help you from getting complacent and memorizing which check boxes won’t raise any eyebrows.
The main thing is that you and your team have stopped and thought about the job at hand. Too many incidents (not just electrical incidents) are caused because the workers involved didn’t take the time needed to come up with a great plan to get the job done safely.
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