How to create, implement and manage your electrical safety program (Part 1)

Are you struggling to wrap you head around what an electrical safety program is? What you need to do to create one? And how you are possibly going to implement and manage it? Well, look no further. In this 4-part series, I’m going to go over everything you need to do to create, implement and manage your very own electrical safety program.

Who will this help?

You are probably going to fall under one of these three categories if you’ve read this far.

Safety Professional – You work for a medium-to-large size industrial corporation and electrical safety has been on your bucket list for years. You have extensive experience in operations but when it comes to electrical systems you could use some guidance.

Electrical Engineer/Technologist – Due to your technical background you have been asked to champion the electrical safety initiative. Trouble is you have little practical knowledge of influencing a safety culture and the company’s complex organizational structure only adds to the challenge.

Manager or Owner – Thank you! If you are reading this, I’m so happy. You must understand that a safety program (not just an electrical safety program) takes leadership, authority and the access to resources to be effective.

What is an Electrical Safety Program?

Imagine a guy named Bob.

Bob is interested in improving his health and decides he needs a fitness program in order to attain his goals.

Bob goes to his favorite exercise facility, walks up to the lady behind the counter and says “I would like to purchase one fitness program please”.

The lady looks at the pizza stains on Bob’s shirt and wonders how serious this guy really is. Then she thinks to herself, you should give people the benefit of the doubt you know. So, she goes to the end of the counter and grabs a binder off the shelf marked fitness program and hands it to Bob. “That’ll be $237 please”.

Bob reaches into his pocket, pulls out his credit card and 45 minutes later is back at home watching TV with his newly purchased fitness program tucked away neatly on the top shelf of his bookcase.

The fitness program remains on the shelf for the next 2 years before Bob’s wife throws it in the garbage during a spring cleaning session. Bob never lifted a finger the entire time.

Let me explain

Now, I haven’t explained what an electrical safety program is, but there are a few fundamental lessons we can learn from Bob’s story that will help us understand.

The first thing is an electrical safety program is not a document which sits on your shelf. It is documented, but you can’t pick up the program in one hand and say “this is my program”, there are other pieces which all need to fit together to make up the program. Just like there are other things that Bob needed to be doing for his fitness program.

Let’s look at what Bob does have, what the missing pieces are, and how it all relates to an electrical safety program.

What Bob has is a plan

What Bob has in his possession is a blueprint that describes what he needs to be doing to attain his goals for improved health and overall fitness level. It describes what Bob should eat, how much sleep he needs, how often he needs to work out, what his routines are composed of, how often he should go for a run, bike or swim. The plan has all the necessary sheets he needs to track his progress and some data tables to determine how he stacks up against other men who are his age. It describes how often he must check in with his fitness instructor, his swimming coach, and his doctor. It describes what tests he is going to take when he visits the doctor and how often they are going to check his weight. What Bob has is a plan.

When it comes to electrical safety this is often the step that people start with and unfortunately fail at. As I mentioned earlier most people assigned to develop the electrical safety program are technical people, not safety professionals or management. So, by nature, they focus on the technical aspects of electrical safety. Calculating arc flash and determining the PPE that needs to be worn but they totally miss on the planning portion!

While those things are important they do not make up a complete plan or program. There are other fundamental things that are required to ensure the success of the program. When you choose to take on something like this you are changing the way people think about how they do their jobs… and this is often very challenging. The plan needs to describe how you are going to roll the program out.

What comes next?

As I mentioned above, this is going to be a 4-part series. Today we just introduced the idea that an electrical safety program is more than just a document, it’s a full-blown blueprint for increasing the safety culture at your workplace. There are 3 fundamental sections your program needs to have and next week I’ll discuss the first one in detail.

Want this 4-part series delivered in an all-inclusive e-book?


arc-flash-ebookI hope you found this article useful and if you did please share it using the social media buttons at the bottom of the post! Also if you would like some help with your electrical safety program, feel free to contact me anytime.