May is National Electrical Safety Month, and the campaign theme for 2021 is “Connected to Safety,” which aims to educate the workforce about solar panel and temporary power safety precautions, and helps businesses prepare their facilities for electric vehicle charging. As a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) sponsors this annual industry campaign that is focused helping to reduce electrically-related fatalities, injuries, and property loss. Activities around home safety are also a significant part of the events.
According the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 166 electrical fatalities in 2019, a 3.75% increase over 2018, and the highest amount of electrical fatalities since 2011. ESFI created this year’s National Electrical Safety Month resources to address workplace safety needs to prevent these avoidable injuries and deaths. “Contact with electricity is one of the leading causes of construction workplace fatalities,” said ESFI’s President Brett Brenner. “This is why workers must receive proper training on how to work with or around electricity safely.”
Featured among National Electrical Safety Month Workplace Safety Resources is Solar PV Electrical Safety, which highlights that solar photovoltaic installer jobs are expected to increase at a much higher rate than the average of all occupations. These installers must learn how to stay safe while working with or around solar panels. Temporary Power Safety details the proper safety procedures for working with or around temporary power. Temporary power is essential to construction work sites but poses a risk to workers. Following safety procedures is imperative to prevent accidents with temporary power. Installing Electrical Vehicle Chargers delivers information for businesses interested in installing electric vehicle chargers in their building. As many consumers consider or purchase electric vehicles, business owners may want to consider installing chargers in their facility as an incentive to employees while showing their corporate social responsibility.
NFPA Supports National Electrical Safety Month With Its Resources
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) actively supports ESFI’s efforts toward National Electrical Safety Month. “Exposure to electricity poses a real injury risk to workers and the public, especially as new technology is introduced in our homes and vocations,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA vice president of Outreach and Advocacy. “Many people are not aware of electrical dangers and yet each year people are injured or killed from these hazards. National Electrical Safety Month helps better educate people about the true dangers of electricity and ways to prevent related tragedies from happening.”
According to NFPA and ESFI, contact with electricity is a leading cause of workplace injuries and fatalities. As part of this year’s campaign, electrical and non-electrical workers are encouraged to participate in safety training programs that focus on personal protective equipment, safe work practices, and risk assessments to help avoid electrical injuries, deaths, and OSHA violations, as outlined in NFPA 70, National Electrical Code® (NEC®) and NFPA 70E®, Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace.
When exposed to electricity, NFPA states that electrical and non-electrical workers need to follow these steps to ensure proper safety procedures on the job:
- Design and install temporary wiring according to OSHA, the NEC and NFPA 70E® requirements
- Have a qualified electrician install temporary power at a work site
- Consider all overhead lines to be live, energized, and dangerous
In May, NFPA launches its 125th Anniversary Conference Series, a year-long virtual event that will replace the 2021 Conference & Expo and feature educational content, industry roundtable discussions, networking opportunities, and more for building and life safety professionals and practitioners. On May 18, the first program of the series, Empowering Electrical Design, Installation, and Safety, will highlight the latest code requirements, safety practices, and applicable technology developments in the electrical industry.
Information about electrical codes and standards, and worker safety training, can be found on the NFPA electrical solutions webpage.