Written by Jim Pollard
Wait! Don’t push that START button… yet.
First, you need a plan. Do you know what will happen if you push that button before you’re ready? Jumping ahead without following an appropriate change management strategy may expose you to legal risk. Without implementing an updated Electrical Safety Program you’re also likely to waist a lot of time and money training your workers on new electrical safety-related work practices they will quietly forget.
News Flash: The CSA Group released the new Z462 publication this week. You can purchase the latest edition of CSA Z462 from the CSA website.
The Need for Change: Both the CSA Z462 and NFPA 70E Standards are on a 3-year revision cycle and have been updated for 2018. All employers who follow these standards are required to take action and make appropriate changes and updates to their electrical safety management system. Here is a link to review the 2018 Changes & Updates. We’ve created the following 5-Steps to help provide guidance on an effective change management process.
Step 1) Assessment: Employers are required to complete electrical safety auditing following the release of a new revision of the standard. A simple Electrical Safety Program Checklist is a great way to start. The employer’s electrical safety program shall be audited to verify that the principles and procedures are in compliance with the CSA Z462 2018 edition. Inspect all of your Arc Flash PPE for outdated and potentially dangerous products.
Step 2) Updating your Electrical Safety Program: It’s important to update your documentation before training any workers on the CSA Z462 2018 edition. The gaps identified in your audit (Step 1) must be addressed for compliance with the updated Standard. Create an electrical safety steering committee using stakeholders at your organization to facilitate the program updates. Your Electrical Safety Program Frameworkshould align with an Occupational Health & Safety Management System Standard such as CSA Z1000.
Step 3) Training your Workers:Provide electrical safety training to your entire workforce, not just electrical workers. The amount of training is determined by the worker’s risk of exposure to electrical hazards of shock, arc flash and arc blast. Typical “Arc Flash Training” is only one part of the overall training requirements for Qualified Electrical Workers. Awareness level training using eLearning is sufficient for Unqualified Workers provided the material is appropriate and based on the most current edition of CSA Z462.
Step 4) Implementation: The best time to roll out your updated electrical safety program is immediately following the completion of electrical safety training. By using a blended learning model you’re able to provide the equivalent of multiple days’ worth of training without having to fully demobilize your workforce. When training workers on your updated program be sure to include practical application exercises using your updated field level documentation and revised safety related work practices. Use relevant work task exercises that represent their typical work tasks.
Step 5) Evaluation: A continual improvement model requires a “Plan, Do, Check, Act” philosophy. Following the implementation of your updated electrical safety program, schedule an audit of the field work application. This will help you verify that the requirements contained in the procedures of your updated electrical safety program are being followed. If necessary, make appropriate revisions to either the electrical safety program, worker training or both. Measuring your performance is critical to the successful management of workplace electrical safety hazards.
Jim Pollard is a Subject Matter Expert on arc flash personal protective equipment (PPE), whose experience and technical knowledge has been tapped by technical committees in Canada and the USA including CSA Z462, ASTM F18.15, CAN/ULC-S801, CSC/IEC/TC78 and ULC Live Working. Jim’s company, Unlimited PPE Inc., performs as a Sales Agent for the Oberon Company (www.arcflash.com), Danatec Educational Services Ltd., Electrical Safety Division (www.danatec.com) and PROXXI Corporation (www.proxxiband.com).