Lancaster, PA Electrician Directory

Find licensed electrical contractors in Lancaster County, PA for Residential, Commercial & Industrial projects here!

Homeowners need electricians to install new modern circuit breaker electrical service panels replacing antiquated fuse panels. You may need extra outlets installed in an older home that didn't have electrical receptacles installed in every corner of the home. Perhaps you're installing ceiling fans and need them wired to switch panels on the walls. Or, you want to add a hot tub to your backyard and need electrical service installed. You'll find electricians available for all of these services and more here on lancaster electrical .com.

Need an industrial or commercial electrician here in Lancaster County? Whether you need high bay lighting installed or a new three phase feed for that new high powered machine your adding commercial and industrial electricians have the skill set to make every installation and upgrade run smoothly.

 



Read the latest news for licensed electrical contractors in Lancaster County, PA.

Tesla Eyes a Break-Through With Low-Cost, Long Lasting Batteries
Tesla Eyes a Break-Through With Low-Cost, Long Lasting Batteries aconstanza Fri, 05/22/2020 - 13:37

Tesla Eyes a Break-Through With Low-Cost, Long Lasting Batteries

Consider the irony: A state known for its mile-high neon billboards and slot machines with their flashy displays has taken up the fight for greater lamp efficiency. This month, Nevada state lawmakers voted to join a multistate rejection of Trump administration action on lamps.

In February, the Department of Energy announced a plan to rescind an expansion of efficiency standards for lamps that was scheduled to go into effect in 2020. The expanded standards were adopted two years ago by the Obama administration. The expansion favors the growth of LED lamps, which are highly efficient. It will further accelerate the phase out of incandescent and halogen lamps, which are not.

Several other states, including Vermont, Washington and Colorado, have already adopted legislation committing to the expanded Obama-era standards. Nevada now joins their ranks.

Efficiency proponents applauded the move. According to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), the Nevada legislation will save Nevadan’s more than $85 million in electric bills.

The Obama administration ruling expands a 2007 standard adopted by the Bush administration, which would phase out A-lamps, the traditional pear-shaped incandescent bulbs. The expansion applies that standard to other varieties of lamps, including globes, reflectors, and candelabras.

By themselves, individual lamps might seem inconsequential in the larger battle for greater efficiency across the energy sector, but the impact of the Bush-era standard and its expansion by the Obama administration is hard to ignore. According to ACEEE and its partner, the Appliance Standards Awareness Project, approximately 3 billion A-lamps draw power from sockets in American homes. Bulb shapes affected by the standards the Trump administration wants to roll back account for 3 billion more.

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Largest U.S. Solar Farm Gets Approval
Largest U.S. Solar Farm Gets Approval aconstanza Fri, 05/22/2020 - 12:21

Largest U.S. Solar Farm Gets Approval

On May 11, the U.S. Department of Interior (DOI) gave final approval for a $1 billion installation in the Nevada desert 33 miles northeast of Las Vegas, which will be the largest solar-powered project in the United States.

It is estimated the Gemini Solar Project, which has the financial backing of NV Energy and Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners, could provide enough power for approximately 260,000 homes, which is enough to cover the residential population of Las Vegas itself. The two companies signed a 25-year deal in 2019 to take the solar farm’s output of 690 megawatts (MW)

According to the DOI, the on-site construction workforce is anticipated to average 500 to 700 construction workers, with a peak up to 900 at any one time and supporting up to an additional 1,100 jobs in the local community. It is also estimated that the project will contribute $712.5 million to the economy in wages and total output during construction.

The DOI expects the project to be constructed in two phases. The first phase of power could come online in 2021 and the final completion as early as 2022.

The project is unique among the nation’s other massive solar projects because it includes major battery capacity, 380 MW, as a way to continue to feed the grid overnight.

“Despite the challenges of the coronavirus, we’re pleased to see that Nevada will soon be home to one of the biggest solar projects in the world,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association, quoted in the DOI press release. “The solar industry is resilient, and a project like this one will bring jobs and private investment to the state when we need it the most.”

The DOI approval also includes a right-of-way grant, and the authorized solar facilities include 34.5 kilovolt overhead and underground collector lines, a two-acre operation and maintenance facility, three substations, internal access roads, access roads along generation tie-lines, a perimeter road, perimeter fencing, water storage tanks for fire protection, drainage control features, a potential on-site water well or new water pipeline and improvements to the existing NV Energy facilities to support interconnection.

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IEA Reports Global Energy Demand Could See Historic Drop
IEA Reports Global Energy Demand Could See Historic Drop aconstanza Wed, 05/20/2020 - 13:28

IEA Reports Global Energy Demand Could See Historic Drop

The coronavirus pandemic and resulting shutdown has made an enormous dent in global energy demand, and the cumulative effects from a slow recovery and a possible second wave could be substantial, according a report by the International Energy Association (IEA).

In fact, the impact from this “once-in-a-century crisis” for 2020 could be more than seven times larger than the impact of the 2008 financial crisis on global energy demand, the IEA projects.

“Looking at the full year, we explore a scenario that quantifies the energy impacts of a widespread global recession caused by months-long restrictions on mobility and social and economic activity,” the IEA writes. “Within this scenario, the recovery from the depths of the lockdown recession is only gradual and is accompanied by a substantial permanent loss in economic activity, despite macroeconomic policy efforts.”

The IEA’s projection for such a scenario? Global energy demand would contract by 6%, the largest in 70 years in percentage terms and the largest ever in absolute terms.

“If efforts to curb the spread of the virus and restart economies are more successful, the decline in energy demand could be limited to under 4%,” the IEA writes. “However, a bumpier restart, disruption to global supply chains and a second wave of infections in the second part of the year could curtail growth even further.”

Under the IEA’s “base” scenario, all fuels would be affected. Oil demand could drop by 9%, or 9 million barrels per day, on average across the year, returning oil consumption to 2012 levels. Coal demand could decline by 8%, in large part because electricity demand would be nearly 5% lower over the course of the year. Gas demand could fall much further across the full year than in the first quarter, with reduced demand in power and industry applications. Nuclear power demand would also fall in response to lower electricity demand.

The bright spot? Renewable energy, according to the IEA.

“Renewables are the only energy source likely to experience demand growth across the remainder of 2020, regardless of the length of lockdown or strength of recovery,” the IEA writes. “Renewables demand is expected to increase because of low operating costs and preferential access to many power systems. Recent growth in capacity, some new projects coming online in 2020, would also boost output.”

The IEA estimates that total global use of renewable energy will rise by about 1% in 2020. Despite supply chain disruptions that have paused or delayed activity in several key regions, the expansion of solar, wind and hydro power is expected to help renewable electricity generation to rise by nearly 5% in 2020. However, the IEA’s growth projections are smaller than anticipated before the pandemic.

“The energy sector that emerges from the Covid-19 crisis may look significantly different from what came before,” the IEA writes. “Low prices and low demand in all subsectors will leave energy companies with weakened financial positions and often strained balance sheets. Business lines that are insulated to a degree from market signals, including those with renewable electricity projects, will emerge in the best financial position.”

Another bright spot amid the pandemic? Global carbon dioxide emissions are expected to decline by 8%, or almost 2.6 gigatonnes, to levels of 10 years ago, the IEA projects.

“Such a year-on-year reduction would be the largest ever, six times larger than the previous record reduction of 0.4 Gt in 2009—caused by the global financial crisis—and twice as large as the combined total of all previous reductions since the end of World War II,” the IEA writes. “As after previous crises, however, the rebound in emissions may be larger than the decline, unless the wave of investment to restart the economy is dedicated to cleaner and more resilient energy infrastructure.”

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You Need A Plan: Developing Company Safety Programs
You Need A Plan: Developing Company Safety Programs aconstanza Tue, 05/19/2020 - 16:12

You Need A Plan: Developing Company Safety Programs

To develop a safety program, one needs to address challenges associated with such responsibilities. For instance, look at often duplicate or conflicting information regarding productivity, safety, host requirements, government regulations and industry consensus standards, including National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 70E, Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace.

To help contractors implement a company safety program, the National Electrical Contractors Association developed a safety manual and instruction guide that provides 30 templates based on common third-party evaluator requirements. The Standing Policy on Safety offers guidance on how to use the templates and provides information from host or third-party assessments and actions needed to ensure the safety program goes beyond simply meeting prequalification standards. This is achieved by ensuring that all NFPA 70E requirements are met and by providing recommendations for building an effective, comprehensive  safety-management system.

A number of issues must be considered. The most critical is written program documents that contain methods for keeping employees safe. Then there is understanding that the written program will be evaluated by different entities. They are the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and host employers (i.e., customers). Typically, host employers hire a third-party to evaluate the safety program. 

OSHA may review all or part of a program during an inspection. Each element is based on applicable regulations. These regulations may be specific or performance-based. Host employers review safety programs as a prequalification for awarding a bid. Components of the safety program may be required to address regulations, consensus standards and best practices. This evaluation is typically performed by a third party.

According to the NECA Safety Manual: “The industry trend has been an increase in the number of host employers performing a safety prequalification of electrical contractors and for the assessment to be performed by a third party.” 

Each safety program is available as individual Microsoft Word templates that can be edited, rebranded and uploaded for review. 

Each template will help ensure the safety program addresses required criteria. The program needs to align with each individual company’s unique organizational structure, procedures and resources. Additionally, it should comply with relevant OSHA regulations and compliance as well as industry consensus standards. 

In addition to the templates and instruction guide, Intec Inc. (the developer of the materials), will add new templates or update existing versions as needed. Workshops, webinars and other programs are also available. 

The NECA Safety Manual and instruction guide can be downloaded at https://www.necanet.org/store/product/neca-safety-manual.

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Adam Ashton: General Superintendent, Forest Electric
Adam Ashton: General Superintendent, Forest Electric aconstanza Tue, 05/19/2020 - 15:53

Adam Ashton: General Superintendent, Forest Electric

In February, Forest Electric, Edison, N.J., celebrated four years without a lost-time injury. Adam Ashton, general superintendent, explains how the company makes safety such a top priority.

What’s the secret of your success?

It comes from the top down. The [company's] president has 100% bought into safety and pushed it down to our foremen. Another reason why there’s 100% buy-in: safety practices also help boost productivity and quality of work.

We have to do a little forward looking on our jobs, including using a lift instead of a ladder to be safer and wearing personal protective equipment when cutting something out using a razor knife. We pretask plan for pretty much everything we do. We are looking ahead and always thinking through so we’re not just reacting on the job and shooting from the hip.

We also do a lot of prefabrication in our shop to lessen risks on job sites. In our shop, everything is elevated in a controlled environment, adjusting for the height of individual workers. That way, our workers can do things like bend conduit in a less risky manner.

Also, our shop is lit much better than the typical lighting on a construction site. Then workers can take the preassembled materials and just pop them in place on job sites.

How do you encourage crews to take safety seriously on the job?

We let workers make some of the decisions with us. When they participate in safety decisions, they feel like they are part of it. We also provide training, including instilling in them that their job can’t just be about a paycheck—their family also depends on them to be there for them. We want them to be able to go home and be with their family. That can change in a split second, so we tell them that they shouldn’t make hasty decisions but think about what they need to do ahead of time to be safe.

We also reward our workers for being safe by giving them kudos for doing a great job and gifts, such as t-shirts. Is there a specific injury or almost injury that changed how you thought about safety on the job?

Back in 2002, when I was an electrician at another company, an elevator installer working on Christmas Eve in a shaft in the largest building in New Jersey fell 13 stories to his death because he wasn’t wearing full protection. He was 34 years old and had two small children. Imagine, for every Christmas Eve for the rest of his children’s lives, they will think of their dead dad. That’s when it really hit me that this has to stop—there has to be a better way.

What spurred your interest in getting into the safety profession?

Today, I am both an electrician and a safety professional. Being on the job site where that elevator worker was killed really jumpstarted my desire to help people be safer. Another thing that spurred my interest in becoming a safety professional was attending a fire-retardant demonstration in Pennsylvania. The demonstrator created an arc flash near a mannequin that was not wearing protective clothing, and  the mannequin immediately caught on fire. I was standing 50 feet back and said, “Oh my God—that could be me.” That also really upped the game.

What challenges do you face in managing safety responsibilities for your company?

New employees, honestly. We’re a union contractor, so we get some employees from the union hall who have worked for other contractors where safety was not as important. The challenge is to get them to buy into our culture, especially workers who have been in the business for 30 years, doing things their own way. You’ve got to get them to see the benefits of being a safe and productive worker.

Do you have any other advice for safety professionals?

You’ve got to show your workers that you really care about their personal safety for them to buy into your culture. You’ve got to praise your workers when you see them doing a good job at being safe. Walk up to them, shake their hand and thank them. They really appreciate it, and it goes a long way toward maintaining a safe workplace.

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COURTESY OF ADAM ASHTON
Safety Leader
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Hand Safety
Hand Safety aconstanza Tue, 05/19/2020 - 15:33

Hand Safety

Toolbox Talk is a series of informational guides designed to help contractors hold short safety meetings on the job site. Use the provided discussion questions to help start a safety conversation with your workers.

TOOLBOX TALK OBJECTIVES:

• Be familiar with the possible job site dangers to the hands.

• Be familiar with the different types of gloves available.

THE RISKS:

Electrical work is very hand-intensive. What would you do on a job site if you couldn’t use your hands? As a result, your hands

are at risk every day from things as simple as a splinter and as extreme as losing fingers.

These risk falls into three categories:

• Mechanical hazards—hazards involving machinery like drills, saws and nail guns. Potential injuries will include cuts,

punctures, abrasions or crushing

• Environmental hazards—include extreme heat or cold, materials handling and electricity

• Irritating substances—skin issues, such as dermatitis, can be caused by your hands coming in contact with chemicals or biological organisms, such as bacteria, fungi or viruses

STAYING SAFE

• Keep your hands out of harm’s way. Keep machine guards on equipment and use them!

• Use proper PPE

PPE

Gloves are obviously the most common PPE used to protect your hands, wrists and sometimes your forearms, but it’s

important to use the right type of glove for the work you’ll be doing.

• Leather gloves for handling rough or abrasive materials.

• Rubber, vinyl or neoprene gloves will protect your hands when handling and using caustic chemicals like acids,

cleansers or petroleum products.

• Puncture/cut-resistant gloves will help reduce the severity or a cut or puncture.

• Rubber gloves are designed especially for those that work with electricity. They are made either of natural or

synthetic rubber and are rated according to their level of voltage protection. This may include insulating sleeves

as well.

A proper fit–Only wear gloves that fit your hand properly. Proper fit is a matter of safety, not comfort. Gloves that are too large are difficult to work in and run the risk of getting caught in equipment, while too-small gloves can cause your hands to tire more quickly.

Care–Gloves should be treated and cared for like your other types of PPE: cleaned, inspected, repaired and replaced as necessary.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

• What are the categories of potential hand hazards?

• Why are your hands at such risk while you’re at work?

• Which type of glove is best suited for working with electricity?

• You show up for work and realize you’ve forgotten your rubber gloves. What do you do?

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Reducing the Risk: In all ways, safety experts confirm safety risk management yields big dividends
Reducing the Risk: In all ways, safety experts confirm safety risk management yields big dividends aconstanza Tue, 05/19/2020 - 14:45

Reducing the Risk: In all ways, safety experts confirm safety risk management yields big dividends

One of the major goals of risk management is to help keep employees safe. Whether from ladder falls, auto accidents, arc flash or other hazards, prioritizing safety risk management can truly bring a business to the next level,” said Nate Oland, senior national account executive at Owatonna, Minn.- based property and casualty insurance provider Federated Mutual Insurance Co.

SAFETY LEADER

Karen Czor, director of risk management at EnTrans International, an Athens, Tenn.-based manufacturer of energy and transportation equipment, agreed and added that failure to focus on safety in the workplace can be costly.

Along with the medical and additional labor costs typically associated with an injury/accident, “a firm’s ability to bid on work is affected by the success of its safety risk management activities, as its EMR [experience modification rate] is used as prequalification criteria,” Czor said. An EMR of 1.2, for example, would increase a company’s insurance premium to a level 20% higher than the industry average and can affect that company’s premiums for up to three years.

Keith Wheeler, president and chief human resources officer for HR Resources of the Carolinas in Fort Mill, S.C., said that prudent safety risk management can also affect a company’s bottom line from a human resources perspective.

“Providing employees with a safe work environment can increase employee engagement by making employees feel valued, which in turn has a positive impact on employee productivity, motivation and profitability,” he said. “In addition, having a strong reputation as a safe company—one that makes its employees’ safety a priority—makes it easier to attract and retain top-quality job candidates.” [Editor’s note: Keith Wheeler is the brother of NECA's director of safety, the association that publishes this magazine.

However, managing safety risk in today's electrical contracting industry is by no means easy.

CHALLENGING TIMES

Auto liability is the leading source of claims, Oland said.

“Industries with auto exposures, such as the electrical contracting field, need to be careful to ensure that their policies are strong and that their employees adhere to them,” he said. “Distracted driving caused by the lure of mobile devices, the radio, rude drivers, food, etc., is a significant cause of auto crashes, so it’s important for businesses to encourage their drivers to concentrate on one thing: the road. With contractors, we also emphasize the importance of safe practices on the job site, with ladder safety being a top priority.”

Czor believes the juxtaposition of two [until recently] concurrent trends—the nation’s economic growth combined with demographic shifts occurring in the workforce—will increasingly prove challenging.

Specifically, “the electrical trade is expected to grow by 10% between 2018 and 2028 at the same time that a large number of Baby Boomers are set to retire, which leads to a loss of knowledge combined with an inexperienced workforce who may make errors when performing difficult or complex tasks,” she said.

“In the trades, the apprentice process has always been the way to train inexperienced team members, but the dwindling population of experienced personnel may be stretched thin and mentoring a large number of new employees, which can lead to new employees doing more work on their own, making errors, and sustaining injury,” Czor said. “I think that one of the challenging areas in the next decade will be to develop a training system that can be effective for workers when they don’t have an experienced mentor close by.”

In another modern challenge to safety risk management, Wheeler highlighted a growing need for companies to focus holistically on employee wellness.

“This involves not just physical or activity-based employee wellness initiatives, such as weight loss or walking programs, but also those addressing employee stress and how it can impact employee safety,” Wheeler said. “Employee stress can be driven by social, financial and workplace conditions and can have an impact on an employee’s emotional or mental well-being, potentially increasing accidents and fatalities on the job.”

PURSUING BEST PRACTICES

Following, our experts share some best practices and trends in several areas requiring safety risk management:

Managing fleets/using company vehicles

“Fleet management is one of the areas where liability keeps increasing year over year, so the effective use of electronic/ GPS tools to access and track drivers’ on-road behavior is becoming a tool that insurers are requesting small fleets to include as part of a fleet-management program (as large fleets have been using the tool for several years),” Czor said. “However, if coaching on unacceptable performance isn’t maintained, these tools have increased liability for the employer in an accident. The bottom line is that if you’re using on-road behavior tracking, a formal program must be written for how the data is collected, reviewed and applied to drivers."

Czor reiterated that a two-tiered approach of thorough recordkeeping and coaching on poor driving behavior is critical to reducing employee injury, property damage and liability.

In addition, Wheeler recommends companies provide employees with defensive driving classes, as these can help employees from becoming complacent about their driving habits.

According to Oland, “successful businesses have a written fleet-management program that covers driver hiring and vehicle maintenance, and a fleet manager should perform preventive vehicle maintenance even if it’s not required by laws or regulations governing some commercial motor vehicles.”

Oland also recommended that firms create their own safety campaigns, adding that, “it doesn’t need to be a big show, but regular brief safety messages can effectively demonstrate your commitment to the safety of both the company as well its employees, their families and others who share the road.”

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Meeting of the Safety Minds: Experts Discuss High-Risk Safety Challenges While Ensuring Compliance and Managing Documentation
Meeting of the Safety Minds: Experts Discuss High-Risk Safety Challenges While Ensuring Compliance and Managing Documentation aconstanza Tue, 05/19/2020 - 14:21

Meeting of the Safety Minds: Experts Discuss High-Risk Safety Challenges While Ensuring Compliance and Managing Documentation

Safety is paramount in the electrical contracting industry, and firms have never employed more innovative approaches or been more dedicated to keeping their contractors safe. Safety Leader invited several of the industry’s most proactive safety experts to share how they address everything from high-risk safety challenges to safety compliance and documentation management. 

How do you handle the following challenges?

Drug testing in light of the increasing legalization of cannabis by states nationwide

Sara Currie, safety and training director, Tice Electric, Portland, Ore.
Sara Currie, safety and training director, Tice Electric, Portland, Ore.

Sara Currie: The NECA/IBEW Drug Free Workplace Policy makes it a lot easier for us to navigate this as a company. Cannabis is still illegal federally and, because of this, it’s illegal to use per our policy.

Mark Lynch: A lot of our larger clients require on-site drug testing of our people. None of our clients accepts the use of medical marijuana, and we don’t either. Should pot be legalized here, it could be a very difficult situation, and we’d have to re-evaluate. 

Barry Moreland: We continue to enforce our Drug Free Workplace Policy in the same manner as before legalization. Cannabis is still illegal at a federal level and, until we see changes there, we’ll continue to utilize pre-employment, random and for-cause testing to maximize safety on our projects.

Allen Sloan: While cannabis is legal in our state (California), we follow federal guidelines, and it’s not legal at the federal level. While we no longer test for cannabis as part of our random testing of members, applicants are tested for it prior to entering apprenticeships. We drug test for pre-employment, reasonable cause, random and post-accident. If someone tests positive for drug use, they’ll have to follow a strict disciplinary process in order to be eligible to return to work. 

Management of fleets and use of company vehicles

Currie: We educate all of our employees, even the ones that aren’t driving for us, on the dangers of the road and what they can do to be a safer and more proactive driver. 

Mark Lynch, safety coordinator, IBEW Local 98, Philadelphia
Mark Lynch, safety coordinator, IBEW Local 98, Philadelphia

Lynch: Use of company vehicles is limited to a very few, high-level foremen, but anyone driving one of our service trucks undergoes safe driver training, often with a certified member. 

Moreland: A number or our contractors are utilizing GPS tracking and similar third-party electronic resources to identify trends of unsafe drivers (among employees and fellow drivers alike). Additionally, many use a penalty system for drivers who are involved in driving incidents, both at work and in their personal vehicles, that could ultimately render them ineligible to operate company-owned vehicles.

Sloan: Hardware and software can now be placed in vehicles or on employees’ phones to monitor where they go, their speed levels, if they’re texting, etc., and our members will be disciplined if they’re not practicing safe driving.

Work performed at heights

Currie: Like many other contractors in our area, we’re moving away from ladder use. We train all of our employees to use scissor lifts, boom lifts and bucket trucks any time the space allows. In instances where ladders need to be used, we’ve trained our employees to use them safely.

Lynch: We enforce a 100% tie-off requirement over 6 feet at all times, and there’s no bending of the rules.

Moreland: As a cohesive and focused safety group, our contractors’ safety managers have agreed to share accident information with each other and our joint safety committee; from there, we broadcast lessons learned from the investigation with our apprentices and journey-level workers. As it relates to fall protection, we find this frequent reminder of injuries others sustain when working at heights useful to minimize recurrence. 

Sloan: 100% tie-off is the trend nationwide. Other trends include activation of a ‘Ladders Last’ program, through which standard ladders become a last resort in favor of scissor lifts or more solid platform ladders with guard rails on top.

Energized work

Currie: We follow NFPA 70E and de-energize equipment before working on it wherever possible. I feel that people are taking energized work a lot more seriously these days than in the past; when I first started as an apprentice in 2011, there were still a lot of people performing work energized unnecessarily and without regard to company policy or national standards. We educate our workforce so they can take that knowledge into the field and protect themselves and their colleagues.

Lynch: We follow NFPA 70E standards; that’s our bible. We fill out energized work permits (unless clients prove that there’s a greater risk by de-energizing the work) and require sign-off by the owner of the building. We don’t allow any apprentice to be on a job site until they’ve taken OSHA 10 training and we require our members to take the 70E class every three years as the standards change.

Barry Moreland, CSP, safety director, NECA-IBEW Electrical Training Center, Portland, Ore.
Barry Moreland, CSP, safety director, NECA-IBEW Electrical Training Center, Portland, Ore. 

Moreland: In 2000, our contractors began implementing NFPA 70E concepts and procedures into their overall safety and health management systems. Over the last two decades, we’ve extensively trained our workforce and leadership, including our clients and general contractors, on what constitutes justifiable energized work and the means to assess the associated risks to all parties involved. Use of shock and arc-related PPE/OPE is now the norm. If a contractor needs PPE, they can borrow Level 2 or 4 kits from the NECA/IBEW Electrical Training Center. We set limits on when and at what voltage apprentices can be exposed to energized systems. In addition, a number of contractors now establish electrically qualified person teams; those electricians who have received additional energized electrical work-specific training are the only ones within the company authorized to perform energized electrical work.

Sloan: In addition to shutting things down so there’s zero energy, we invest in extensive training of our apprentices and journeymen at the Electrical Training Institute in Los Angeles, where we went from a 12-hour to a 16-hour class, half in the classroom and half dedicated to hands-on practical work. As a policy, our apprentices don’t touch anything energized, even after becoming journeymen; the employer is responsible for qualifying them. Overall, we’re big proponents of safety training, run a two-week boot camp with an OSHA 30 class before apprentices touch any job, and encourage members to take safety training to meet their annual continuing education hours.

Safety-related programs are only as good or as enforceable as the company policies behind them. What strategies have you found to be most effective for increasing compliance with safety programs and why? 


Currie: I think that the most effective way to increase safety compliance is to educate employees on the purpose behind it and why it’s important. Electricians are smart, have pride and 

want to know why something is important. Once people truly understand that, they’ll take part in it.

Lynch: It’s truly about drilling safety into workers from day one, and our contractors really want to be the best around, both to keep their workers safe and to manage their insurance rates. One of our contractors recently took a creative approach and shut down for the day to train employees on electrical safety, PPE, driver safety, etc., providing food and t-shirts to everyone to increase team spirit.

Moreland: Policy compliance is directly related to those policies/procedures that utilize the SMART process during creation and roll-out. The policy has to clearly Specify what you want done, be Measurable in performance outcomes, be Achievable and Realistic for the application, and have a proper amount of Time allotted for full compliance. The process should also encourage feedback from those who are expected to comply with and own the policy. A compliance expectation without that buy-in process makes compliance efforts even more challenging.

Allen Sloan, SMS, CHST, IBEW Local 11, LA NECA/LMCC, Los Angeles
Allen Sloan, SMS, CHST, IBEW Local 11, LA NECA/LMCC, Los Angeles

Sloan: The overwhelming majority of accidents/injuries are preventable, and we see ourselves as coaches. It’s about establishing a culture of safety from the beginning. Safety issues are behavior-based, so you need to change behavior to impact safety. There are no shortcuts or “going around” safety measures. We have a two-week boot camp for incoming apprentices so that they can get the training they need as well as an understanding of our safety culture from day one.

Currie: I’m sure there’s a more effective way to manage documentation than we have at Tice. For now, I have an electronic file folder for each job that I keep documentation in. It’s worked for us so far, but I’d love ideas on how to make it better.

Lynch: We document everything (date, time, temperature, details of incident, etc.), and technology has made it that much easier; across the industry, there are fewer and fewer file cabinets full of injury reports. We’ve used UnionLOGIC software since the mid-2000s; it works great and makes it easy for workers to report injuries on a job.

Moreland: As the NIETC is a training provider for our contractors, we maintain records such as first aid/CPR, mobile elevated work platforms and powered industrial trucks (PIT), electrical safety, and OSHA 10/30 that are easily accessible by the apprentice or JW via our website. They can print out their transcript and provide it to their employer. This isn’t just for incident response but also allows the employer to better assess areas where they need to conduct additional training during new hire onboarding. 

Sloan: Incident documentation software has become more prevalent and specialized for contractors. Anchor Rock software is a safety software that’s being used more and more, and they’re writing their programs with the electrical industry in mind. It helps automate the whole process for us, automatically sending reports to HR, key executives, etc.

In August, the Safety Leader Roundtable experts discuss future trends and how smart technology is changing the face of safety management.


Proactively Approaching Mistakes

Carl Potter, certified safety professional, certified management consultant and founder of the Safety Institute (www.safetyinstitute.com), shares three “mistakes” leaders make.

Pursuing a ‘fool-proof solution’—“Leaders sometimes think that situations, jobs, and environments can be made perfect so that people won’t make mistakes,” Potter said, “but this can actually create anxiety among employees and stifle an organization.” He recommends focusing on excellence instead. “Engage everyone in excellence—doing the right things well—and you’ll find an organization-wide focus on excellence rather than on perfection.”

Being nonchalant—“Acting as if ‘mistakes are OK’ is a hands-off approach. All mistakes aren’t equal—some have minor, short-term consequences, while others are a matter of life and death. Make sure you know and communicate the consequences of various types of mistakes.”

Being Intolerant—Potter confirmed that mistakes are opportunities for learning. When a ‘no-tolerance’ attitude exists, he said, “accidents and near-misses are hidden, which can drive the safety culture into a downward spiral. People become afraid for their jobs, fear becomes a distraction, and the risk of injuries and fatalities increases. Rather, take time to reconsider your attitude and approach to mistakes,” he recommended. “Are you thwarting progress with a hard line or are you treating each mistake on a case-by-case basis?” —S.B.

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Hierarchy of Needs: Electrically Safe Work Conditions and Risk-Control Methods
Hierarchy of Needs: Electrically Safe Work Conditions and Risk-Control Methods aconstanza Tue, 05/19/2020 - 13:48

Hierarchy of Needs: Electrically Safe Work Conditions and Risk-Control Methods

In the 2018 edition of NFPA 70E, a new Section 105.4, “Priority,” was added to clearly state hazard elimination is the first priority in implementing safety-related work practices. The informational note (IN) following this section reminds the user that elimination is the first risk-control method identified in 110.1(H)(3), “Hierarchy of Risk Control Methods.” Also, in 2018, the hierarchy of risk control was relocated from an IN into positive text in the required risk-assessment procedure [see 110.1(H)] included in the employer’s electrical safety program. These revisions put the hierarchy of risk-control methods on the front burner. 

It is imperative to understand that these methods control risk; they do not control hazards. When a hazard exists, a risk assessment must be performed. A risk assessment identifies hazards, estimates the likelihood of injury occurrence or damage to health, estimates the potential severity of injury or damage to health, and determines if protective measures are required. 

For example, consider the following task involving justified energized work. Remove the dead front, drill hole, punch hole, install connector, enter a conduit, pull conductors and terminate conductors on a circuit breaker in an energized 800-amp MLO panelboard supplied at 480/277 volts. Significant hazards associated with this task include shock, arc flash and arc blast. 

However, when an electrically safe work condition (ESWC) is properly achieved and maintained, the hazard is eliminated for the period of time that the ESWC is maintained. An ESWC is a state in which an electrical conductor or circuit part has been (1) disconnected from energized parts, (2) locked/tagged in accordance with established standards (this is the employer’s written LOTO program and prescriptive steps for LOTO), (3) tested to verify the absence of voltage, and, if necessary, (4) temporarily grounded for personnel protection.

It must be understood that NFPA 70E, Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace, addresses only electrical hazards, and the stated purpose of the standard in 90.1 is to provide a practical, safe working area for employees relative to the hazards arising from the use of electricity. It is practical to eliminate electrical hazards through the creation of an ESWC. 

In the 2018 edition of NFPA 70E, requirements were followed by INs that referenced safety management standards that can be found in multiple locations. In the 2021 edition, all references in INs to safety management standards following requirements have been deleted. 

NFPA 70E is not a safety management standard. These safety management standards deal with every hazard imaginable, and, in those standards, they consider elimination as the permanent removal of the hazard. This means all hours of every day. 

How do we design, install and maintain an electrical distribution system without a source of voltage? NFPA 70E does not apply to equipment that does not contain an electrical hazard. The concept of complete elimination in safety management standards functions very well in many work environments and associated hazards, but it does not work within the scope of NFPA 70E. 

Confusion arose when a few individuals were writing articles and providing presentations to electrical contractors, engineers and others telling them in no uncertain terms that eliminating electrical hazards is never achievable in an electrical distribution system. That is completely inaccurate. When an ESWC is achieved and maintained, the hazard is eliminated. 

The NFPA 70E technical committee addressed this misconception by adding an IN in the 2021 revision cycle that follows the definition of ESWC. This note says: “An electrically safe work condition is not a procedure, it is a state wherein all hazardous electrical conductors or circuit parts to which a worker might be exposed are maintained in a de-energized state for the purpose of temporarily eliminating electrical hazards for the period of time for which the state is maintained.”

The creation of an ESWC is energized work, and it involves exposure to potential hazards. See 120.2(A) that clarifies electrical conductors and circuit parts are not considered to be in an electrically safe working condition until all of the requirements of Article 120 have been met. This requirement further mandates that safe work practices applicable to the circuit voltage and energy level be used in accordance with Article 130 until such time  both electrical conductors and circuit parts are in an ESWC.

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Making Safety Personal: Electrical Accident Survivors Share Their Stories
Making Safety Personal: Electrical Accident Survivors Share Their Stories aconstanza Tue, 05/19/2020 - 12:24

Making Safety Personal: Electrical Accident Survivors Share Their Stories

After surviving an arc flash incident in 2011, Brandon Schroeder started giving safety presentations, sharing his “Believe in Safety” message. Now he discusses safety at companies such as Facebook, Google, Intel and Nike. He was named a top 10 presenter at this year’s National Safety Council conference.

At the time of his accident, Schroeder did not have his arc flash suit in his van. “We didn’t get the suits until 2008, and my accident was in 2011,” he said. “I had done the job before with no PPE.”

“The presentations were kind of my therapy,” Schroeder continued. “They gave me my life back. It was one of the most difficult things I had to do. I broke down and cried. At the end of it, I was having flashbacks, reliving the accident, the surgeries. But I decided if one person hears my story and they understand things can go wrong, even for experienced people, then I’ll give this for as long as I can.”

Lee Shelby, who has been giving safety presentations for 15 years, agreed. Shelby came in contact with an energized overhead conductor carrying 13,200 volts and needed both of his arms amputated. He was not wearing primary conductor gloves at the time of the accident. 

“I didn’t go down and get my rubber gloves; I continued working,” he said. “That was my responsibility to look out for myself, to make sure I kept myself safe. Whenever I chose not to do that and violated the safety rule, I had to live with the consequences.”

Shelby often discusses personal accountability in his presentation “Triumph Over Tragedy.” 

“I’m accountable for everything that happened at that point forward,” he said. “I did this; this was not a mechanical failure.”

“When you get it out, admit it was your fault and let other people know, it’s therapy,” Shelby said. “It’s just like Alcoholics Anonymous.”

Injuries Have Far-Reaching Effects

More than 2.4 million burn injuries are reported every year, according to Grossman Burn Center at Bakersfield (Calif.) Memorial Hospital. On average, these patients can remain in the hospital for 9–10 days for burns that are less than 15% of their total body surface area, 30 days for burns that are 30% of their body surface area and 60 days for burns that are 60% of their body surface area, according to Dr. Peter Grossman, medical director at Grossman Burn Center.

“About 7–10% of our admissions are high-voltage electrical or electrical arc flash incidents,” he said. “With these injuries, there is not only skin damage but also muscle and nerve damage, which takes longer to heal.”

Employers need to recognize these incidents cause high-risk injuries. 

“To minimize lost productivity and permanent disability, the faster individuals get specialized burn care, the faster they can recover, rehabilitate and get back to work in some capacity,” Grossman said. “That’s the key: don’t let them go to a random hospital. They should have a predesignated card in their wallet with a specialized burn unit. The faster we can see these patients, the faster we can get these patients to heal, the better their outcomes.”
“To minimize lost productivity and permanent disability, the faster individuals get specialized burn care, the faster they can recover, rehabilitate and get back to work in some capacity.” Grossman said. “That’s the key: don’t let them go to a random hospital. They should have a predesignated card in their wallet with a specialized burn unit. The faster we can see these patients, the faster we can get these patients to heal, the better their outcomes.”

Patients with these injuries can also experience depression, fatigue, lack of libido, anger or generalized pain. 

“These are all what we feel are effects that the current has on the brain and the nervous system,” Grossman said.

Several arc flash survivors concurred. 

“Your identity just leaves you,” said Gary Norland, who presents “12.5 Still Alive: Life After 12,500 Volts.” He survived electrocution and has endured more than 50 surgeries. “Everything you thought you were is now gone. It’s a hard road to deal with,” he said.

His wife, Jeanne, described the grief of losing the husband she knew.

“You can’t see the emotional scars,” she said. “Most people don’t understand this is a lifetime thing. The forever part is big. Think about what you won’t be able to ever do again. That person died. A new person came, and we grieve the old one. No one lets you do that. While everybody is celebrating that Gary lived, there’s also grief and loss on a daily basis.”

Norland’s injury happened on the day of his 16-year-old daughter’s homecoming dance. 

“She didn’t make it through the dance,” he said. “I missed every match and banquets for my son, who was the MVP on the soccer team.”

The impact of such an injury radiates beyond the individual, affecting their families in many ways. Survivors often end up divorced. 

“What happens when you vacate your job at home?” Shelby said. “The nature of the world we live in—someone will fill your position. Those are the things you have to lose—the things you can’t get back.”

Lack of PPE is Problematic

“The injuries from arc flash are not happening because they’re wearing the wrong PPE; they’re happening because they’re not wearing anything at all,” said Michael Johnston, NECA’s executive director for standards and safety.

“You don’t see guys jumping out of an airplane without a parachute,” Norland said, adding that, “you’ve got to put on your proper PPE.”

The original PPE for ECs was a bulky switching hood that didn’t enable the manual dexterity the job required, according to Johnston. “Now, companies are getting real innovative to make equipment and daily wear that is lighter, more comfortable and ventilated,” he said. 

Daily wear includes arc-rated shirts and pants.

“We still have a long way to go, and education is a big part of it,” Johnston said.

Instilling a Culture of Safety 

Schroeder emphasized that using safety equipment and ingraining a culture of safety in workers helps prevent those life-or-death scenarios. Accidents can happen in a split-second, but he believes that every accident is avoidable. 

“There are risks, but there’s always things you can do to lower the probability,” he said.

Shelby agreed: “You have a personal responsibility not only to your company to work safe but to your family.” 

Shelby has written two books, “Consequences: Workplace Safety Is NOT Optional!” and “No Hands and No Excuses! Living a No Excuses Life No Matter What Happens to You!”

It is important that safety be made personal for workers, otherwise they may not find it relevant, Norland said. 

“They need to find out what’s important and make sure they work safely so they still have that,” he said. “Not everybody’s married, but do they like to go hunting, do they want to give it up? It’s really tough to do that without your legs or eyes.”

Being safe for the right reason is key. 

“We’re always looking for a faster, quicker way to get a job done, but it’s the wrong attitude. There’s not a faster way, there’s the correct way.” –Gary Norland
“We’re always looking for a faster, quicker way to get a job done, but it’s the wrong attitude. There’s not a faster way, there’s the correct way.”
–Gary Norland. PHOTO COURTESY OF ROSCOE HIX, MEDIA MANAGER, CAPTURING THE FUTURE LLC

“You want to go home at the end of the day with all your appendages, with the ability to walk, talk, think,” Shelby said. “There are people depending on you to come back home.”

“We’re always looking for a faster, quicker way to get a job done,” Norland said. “But it’s the wrong attitude. There’s not a faster way; there’s the correct way. What’s the way to get the job done safely?”

Norland likened this fervor for working quickly and finding shortcuts to “a virus.” 

“It becomes a mindset—the only one who can stop it is you,” he said. “If you’re not going to use safety at home, why do you think you’ll use it at work?”

He admits that it is human nature to take shortcuts, but such a mindset can be dangerous.

“If your head’s not in it, get your body out,” he said. “Take five minutes, fix it and focus on your job.”

Complacency is a real risk, and Schroeder has seen the evidence of it. 

“I saw ECs doing dangerous things every day and just thought that was the job,” he said. “But if you make a mistake, your family is going to pay the price. Every person that loves and cares about you is going to be picking up the pieces.”

Norland ends his safety presentations with this question: “How many people have seen someone in a dangerous situation, and you walk by shaking your head?” He implores people to be the one to speak up and save others and themselves from a possible injury. 

Lee Shelby has been giving safety presentations for 15 years, since having his arms amputated after coming into contact with an energized overhead conductor.
Lee Shelby has been giving safety presentations for 15 years, since having his arms amputated after coming into contact with an energized overhead conductor. COURTESY OF LEE SHELBY.

“That’s my challenge to them,” Norland said, adding that he has seen 22 people pass out during his presentations due to their graphic nature. “We need to start getting this message out there that it’s okay to talk about safety.”

He believes the industry is changing. 

“The apprentices are coming into a culture where we’re talking more about safety,” he said. “It used to be that the guy who was talking about safety was kind of a weenie. Now, the newer guys are speaking up a little bit better.”

A big aspect of on-the-job safety is asking questions, according to Shelby. Though he warned that there is peer pressure to get the jobs done fast and not hold anyone up by asking questions. 

“For young apprentices, don’t act like you know everything just because you’ve been through school,” he said. “Ask questions, listen and learn from the journeymen. They have so much knowledge in their head and you need to get it all out because that will help keep you alive.”

Schroeder said that safety has a cost, and there’s a fight about whose responsibility it is to pay. Safety should be taken off the workers’ plates and instead planned into a job to keep workers safer.

“It doesn’t matter who pays for it,” he said. “Let’s get it done. When you’re talking about $600 of equipment for each EC for a year, it’s not that much. It shouldn’t all fall onto the foreman. The foreman should make sure crews are working safely, because the second the safety manager turns their back, crews go back to doing things the way they’ve always done them. And not all of them have a safety manager.”

A Healing Space for Survivors

An electrical arc flash survivor’s club could provide a necessary space for injured ECs to experience catharsis and for other workers to recognize the importance of safety. 

While the survivor’s club is still in the idea stage, “we have compared this to a survivor’s club that was established for police officers who were shot in the line of duty, and their PPE, bulletproof vests, protected them,” Johnston said. 

He understands how such a club could have healing qualities, but also worries that many people would not be willing to or want to relive these traumatic experiences.

“I think that would be fantastic,” Shelby said. “It’s a resource for people. You can’t discuss these things with other people.”

With HIPAA medical privacy laws, identifying and connecting survivors may prove difficult. But Shelby expressed interest in participating in such a network.

Norland also appreciates the idea of a survivor’s club. 

“It’s a good thing to be able to talk to someone,” he said. “When I was recovering in the hospital, several burn victims came in and talked to me. There was almost relief, that I could discuss something with somebody who knew exactly what it was like to go through what I went through, a living hell.

“Having those survivors who have been there and can help you understand, it’s really big,” he said.

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Brandon Schroeder tells his story of surviving an arc flash to a variety of groups, including Alabama Power, East Kentucky Power and the Wisconsin NECA/IBEW. PHOTO COURTESY TIM WEBB.
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