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New safety devices could help electrical workers

Electrical workers in North Carolina can face serious and unique safety threats while on the job. While electrical workers are vulnerable to all of the accident and injury risks of other installation workers, especially when dealing with buildings under construction or outdoor installation, securing an electrically safe workplace is a particular concern.

In order to abide by federal workplace safety standards set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, qualified electrical workers must wear personal protective equipment when conducting voltage studies inside an electrical panel. They must also use voltmeters when performing these tests. However, there has recently been a greater understanding of the electrical science behind arc flash energy as well as the danger that it can pose to workers on the job. In response to this, permanent electrical safety devices (PESDs) have been used in many places in order to make electrical work safer. These devices make it far more likely that workers will be exposed to zero voltage while performing tests.

Over the past 10 years, installation and use of PESDs has helped to increase the safety of electrical work. It has also led to the development of more devices, Absence of Voltage Testers (AVTs), which could replace the portable voltmeter. By automating the process of testing for and creating an electrically safe work site, AVTs could eventually replace the mandated voltmeter test.

When electrical workers suffer on-the-job injuries, there can be long-term consequences and extensive medical bills. A worker who has been hurt on the job can consult with a workers' compensation lawyer about pursuing the compensation they deserve.

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