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May Is Electrical Safety Month Do You Have A Compliant Electrical Safety Program?

By Terry Becker, P.Eng., IEEE Senior Member, CESCP

What is an Electrical Safety Program?  Why do you need one?  I have focused 11 years of my 27-year career as an Electrical Engineer helping employers ensure they have developed, implemented and audited a compliant Electrical Safety Program.

I travel across Canada and United States working with companies that believe they have a compliant Electrical Safety Program. Many companies do not even have a documented Electrical Safety Program, not understanding that it is a mandatory requirement of NFPA 70E and CSA Z462!  Other companies believe or have been told they have a compliant Electrical Safety Program when they really don’t.

To understand what “compliant” means we can start with the new definition in NFPA 70E and CSA Z462:

“Electrical Safety Program – a documented system consisting of electrical safety principles, policies, procedures, and processes that directs activities appropriate for the risk associated with electrical hazards.”

There is more to it than you think, I see documents that are 2 pages, 10 pages or more than 50 pages that are NOT compliant Electrical Safety Programs!

By the way just buying arc flash PPE, sending your employees on arc flash awareness training and hiring an Electrical Engineer to complete incident energy analysis calculations and installing Equipment Labels is not a complaint documentation and training solution.

Use Occupational Health & Safety Management System Standards (e.g. ANSI Z10 or CSA Z1000, VPP for the United States or COR for Canada to also understand what a compliant “Safety Management System” should be.

Don’t be fooled by thinking what you have documented is compliant and correct, get your documentation audited!

Developing, implementing and auditing a compliant Electrical Safety Program forms the basis of the best due diligence you as the employer can have to OSHA in the USA or OH&S Regulations in Canada!!!

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