Working on live electrical equipment comes with a substantial risk of electric shock and arc flash. Whenever exposed to energized equipment, workers must have a clear understanding of what the potential hazards are and how to work safely. Preventing unsafe conditions is essential, as the consequences of an electrical shock or an arc flash can be devastating.
Protecting your employees from hazards such as these warrants several interwoven and necessary training components. Two entities – Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) – address specific electrical safety and arc flash training requirements. Together, they help to ensure the protection of those individuals working with electricity through training, risk identification, safe work practices, and applicable PPE requirements.
Who needs Arc Flash Training?
When deciding on who needs arc flash and electrical safety training, there are a number of certain factors that need to be considered. The simple answer is to say that anyone who works with electrical equipment, or works in an area where an arc flash is possible, should go through arc flash and electric safety training.
OSHA identifies a number of specific job titles that are typically associated with higher levels of risk for arc flash exposure. These include but not limited to Riggers, Blue Collar Supervisors, Welders, Electrical Engineers, Mechanics and Repairmen, Electrical Assemblers, Material Handling Equipment Operators, Electrical Technicians, Industrial Machine Operators, Electricians, and Stationary engineers.
Employers that have any of these job titles within their workforce should make sure that they receive this type of training. It is also important to make sure that they have access to the appropriate levels of FR and arc flash clothing and PPE, so that they can perform their day-to-day duties in as safe a manor as possible.
How often is Arc Flash Training required?
Most employers within the industry will know that their staff need to undergo arc flash and electrical safety training and have ensured that they have received this, as per the OSHA and NFPA 70E requirements. However, many are unaware that those same employees will need to be re-trained every three years.
There are some circumstances where retraining is necessary, even if it hasn’t been three years since the last time that training occurred. A worker shall receive additional training (or re-training) if any of the following conditions exists: the supervision or annual inspections indicate that the employee is not complying with the safety-related work practices; new technology, new types of equipment, or changes in procedures necessitate the use of safety-related work practices that are different from those that the worker would normally use; the staff member must employ safety-related work practices that are not normally used during their regular job duties.
If the actions of any workers indicates that they’re not clear on arc flash and electrical safety, of if their duties have changed, and now they work with electrical equipment that they did not work with previously, then they will need re-training. Similarly, if electrical equipment has changed, or procedures for handling that equipment have changed, then the affected employees will need re-training.
Clearly, the integrity of an employer’s arc flash and electrical safety training program is key. This training requires instructors with in-depth subject matter knowledge. By using a trusted expert to provide thorough and detailed training it will help workers to develop their skills, awareness, and core competencies to comply with the necessary requirements.
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