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In the field of electrical safety training, there is a special place for the practice of grounding and bonding. Grounding is one of the very first things any electrical worker learns before allowing them to go anywhere near electrical equipment. While this is a fundamental skill, it is complicated when the conditions a worker is dealing with are far from ideal.
These hazardous conditions may be as simple as inclement weather or as drastic as working on unstable surfaces at great heights. The inherent hazards of working with electrical equipment are always there wherever a technician is working, but tough conditions can be a prime motivator to cut corners and take shortcuts that can lead to a deadly condition.
Electrical grounding and bonding safety needs to be a priority, but how you find the right training to ensure that everyone is following safety precautions, especially when conditions are treacherous?
Although any electrical worker has heard this ad nauseam, grounding an electrical system prior to work saves lives. Even highly insulated systems have metal components that may become improperly electrified, leading to a variety of consequences ranging from equipment failure to accidental death by electrocution.
The higher the voltage rating, the higher the stakes, and in certain conditions such as inclement weather these potential risks are multiplied exponentially. Secure grounding that is stable and firmly embedded in the earth is often a long and thankless task that can slow down work and stretch out exposure to unhealthy conditions, but they may just be the most important part of any installation.
No electrical worker wants to do a bad job or conduct their practice in an unsafe manner, but the truth is that they have often received fair-weather training and have not been adequately prepared to conduct operations in extreme conditions. In the wake of this year’s hurricanes, sending out workers to conduct shutdowns in floods or restore power to significantly damaged systems amid standing water, garbage, metal debris, and rubble has transpired. These are not the right conditions for training to occur, and electrical workers cannot be blamed for not being prepared if they have not had the proper training for these emergencies.
When it comes to compliance with safety regulations, the responsibility ultimately rests with the employer. While you may not have needed to have your employees deal hazardous conditions in the past, that is no guarantee for the future. Every part of the nation is subject to some form of natural disaster, and you never know when an emergency – whether large or small – will force your workforce to respond to a sudden and unexpected hazard in the workplace.
When this day comes, knowledge of grounding and bonding fundamentals may not be enough. In fact, its fundamental nature may be cause for it to be overlooked as it may be taken for granted by workers who are in a hurry and under a great deal of duress to work with urgency.
The answer to this question may surprise you. While it may be obvious that your youngest and more inexperienced apprentices and journeymen are prime candidates for this training the truth is that even your most skilled and experienced craftsmen could benefit from it even if it is only a refresher.
As years pass between certifications and re-certifications, experienced technicians can let certain skills slip as they are delegated to less skilled workers who need to practice. This gradual skill degradation is why periodic refresher training is why OSHA recommends annual refresher training to maintain a state of safety readiness.
There may be many reasons why you have not yet made a commitment to bring a formal grounding and bonding safety-training program into your workplace. You may find it an expenditure that is hard to justify given the safety record of your workplace, but that could all change in an instant. You may well have cause to trust the abilities of your workers and the efficacy of their on the job training program, but are you certain that they will be able to perform the same under unexpected hazardous conditions? You owe it to both them and to yourself to give them all the training they need to work safely under any condition in which they may find themselves, and that starts with the decisions you make today.
Are you ready to make your workplace safer with an NTT safety seminar in Hazardous Location Electrical Systems with Grounding & Bonding? Call today for more information on these hands-on training programs.
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