In my opinion, the effort to protect electrical workers and electrical equipment comes back to the three pillars of safety by design:
- Eliminate the hazard
- Reduce the likelihood of an occurrence
- Reduce the severity of injuries
As I mentioned, our goal has to be establishing an electrically safe working condition. For situations where justified energized work is required, designs must emphasize reducing the chances of something harmful occurring and reducing the severity of injuries should an accident occur.
When it comes to shock hazards, while we can’t reduce the current flow we can provide ways to avoid inadvertent contact. This means choosing specialized equipment that provides more fingersafe solutions and options for barriers that help prevent the worker from coming in contact with energized parts. In some ways, I believe we can judge the work we’ve done based upon the complexity of PPE required for a task.
When designing electrical systems and the devices that go into those systems, a critical goal needs to be simplifying and safeguarding designs, so when systems need service or repair, electrical workers are safe in minimal PPE that consists of little more than their daily wear. Ultimately, electrical workers and our industry as a whole benefit most from a “never settle” approach to safety. Purchasing PPE at a higher Calorie capability than your solution demands doesn’t spell success. We need to ask ourselves if we can do better. We don’t have to settle for double digit calorie events anymore. We can do better. If we always strive for solutions that drive energy into the dirt, workers will eventually be safe in any situation.