Create an effective electrical training program

Understanding standards critical to efficient operations, worker safety.

By Dave Kreger, Emerson Network Power April 8, 2015

Facilities that wish to avoid costly fines, protect their equipment, and safeguard their employees must invest in appropriate training programs for employees who maintain, diagnose, and test energized electrical equipment. The following best practices can help your facility establish or enhance a training program that meets these objectives:

  • Understand the risks posed to workers. Creating appropriate training begins with understanding the types of risks workers face. NFPA 70E and OSHA 1910.269 require facilities to perform an arc flash risk assessment prior to allowing a worker to perform tasks on energized equipment. The arc flash risk assessment determines the presence and location of any arc flash hazards; calculates incident energy; and determines appropriate safety-related work practices, arc flash boundary, and the correct PPE to be worn within the arc flash boundary. Working with a well-qualified, professional electrical engineering or electrical testing service provider ensures a quality assessment and reliable results.
  • Conduct a professional review and compliance assessment. An electrical engineering service provider can review your current safety practices and training program, and identify any areas of risk or noncompliance. It’s important to work with a professional firm that has a solid understanding of the latest consensus codes and requirements. Your chosen service provider should also offer capabilities to customize and implement cost-effective safety practices and training programs that can bring your facility up to code.
  • Develop an electrical safety program that incorporates training and awareness. An effective electrical safety program should be designed to support and complement the facility’s overall site safety program. It should provide specific maintenance training while also building awareness of potential electrical hazards, and specifically arc flash, for all employees. Maintenance training must include training specific to the maintenance and test procedures required for your plant’s equipment. At a minimum, the training program should address special precautionary techniques, required PPE, insulating and shielding materials, and insulated tools and test equipment.
  • Create an arc flash training program and PPE plan. Developing a specific arc flash training program and complementary PPE plan based on the results of an arc flash risk assessment can ensure workers fully understand electrical and arc flash hazards and how to mitigate the risks.
  • Document and audit your training program. Electrical safety and training programs must be documented and audited at least every three years to verify compliance with NFPA 70E. Such reviews can help maintain ongoing compliance with arc flash standards, practices and regulations, and ensure safe practices within your facility or plant.
  • Review individual workers. Individual worker reviews, or audits, must be performed annually to verify compliance with safety-related work practices. This includes auditing field work. The audits allow managers to assess the effectiveness of their safety training programs.

Key Words:

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