How Supervisors Should Be Demonstrating Safety

A safe workplace begins at the top with the supervisor. Without leadership from that crucial role, safety will never be a priority. Supervisors have responsibility for most of what happens daily in the workplace.

A safe workplace begins at the top with the supervisor. Without leadership from that crucial role, safety will never be a priority. Supervisors have responsibility for most of what happens daily in the workplace. However, it’s not just a position that’s charged with handing out work and making sure it’s done correctly.  Supervisors must also be accountable for the safety and health of their workers.

Along with a safe environment, employees must also feel secure reporting unsafe or unhealthful conditions or any hazards they observe to their boss without fear of reprisal.

Here is a list of the essential responsibilities concerning safety and health for all employees that safety-conscious supervisors should be assuming:

Conducting the orientation and training of new hires

Supervisors should be taking the lead in training new employees on how to perform their work safely. They should be familiar with and conduct training on how to use personal protective equipment (PPE) that is required for each task. Whenever there are mandated safety training courses, the supervisor ensures that every worker takes them and that they are documented accurately.

Enforcing safe work procedures

Supervisors demonstrate their commitment to safety by enforcing safe work practices. Without enforcement, safety takes a back seat to production, and it’s just a matter of time until there is an accident. Workers should also be encouraged to identify unsafe or unhealthful workplace conditions.

Correcting any safety hazards  

Whenever there are safety concerns, it’s up to the supervisor to take immediate steps to fix them. If it’s not within the supervisor’s ability to do that, then it’s critical to take temporary precautionary measures. The supervisor has to stay on top of any corrective actions until they are completed satisfactorily.

Training workers to spot and report unsafe conditions

Most near-miss incidents are the result of hazardous workplace conditions. One of the supervisor’s chief responsibilities is to educate and remind employees of what to be looking for and how to correct and report these unsafe conditions.

Investigating accidents in the workplace

Supervisors conduct accident investigations and make sure that all injured employees report to the Occupational Medical Service (OMS) right away. OMS works with Occupational Health and Safety to identify hazardous conditions that lead to injuries. They also document and treat any acute injuries. All facts and opinions about the cause of the accident must be recorded on the Workers Compensation Forms (CA-1 or CA-2), which supervisors must review, sign, and submit within 48 hours.

Promoting a speedy return to work

The longer workers are out from work, the less likely they are to return. Supervisors should be encouraging employees to return to work quickly by offering light-duty work and any other assistance whenever possible.

Are you looking to add some safety-conscious electrical workers to your team?

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Four Ladder Safety Practices for Electricians

If you’re considering a career as an electrician, you need to understand that a ladder will be included in many of your workdays. If you’re already in the trade, it’s almost a sure thing that you’ll agree.

If you’re considering a career as an electrician, you need to understand that a ladder will be included in many of your workdays. If you’re already in the trade, it’s almost a sure thing that you’ll agree.

Ladders are as much a part of an electrician as a stethoscope is of a doctor. The difference is that when ladders are misused, it can lead to a fall that may cause a fatality or a serious injury.

Even if you are an experienced ladder user, it can’t hurt to re-visit some of the best practices for using them safely. If you’re just starting your career, take these suggestions seriously and learn how to be safe when you are several or more feet above the ground:

Read the labels and markings on the ladder

Note the ladder’s load rating and don’t exceed it with the weight it will be supporting, which should include any tools or equipment. Inspect the ladder before using it, and take it out of service if it’s damaged. Ensure that the ladder is free of any slippery material on the rungs or steps.

Use ladders and their accessories–ladder levelers, jacks, or hooks–for their designed purposes. Don’t use a step ladder as a single ladder or in a partially closed position. Be sure that all locks on an extension ladder are engaged before you get on it.

Use a ladder on level and stable surfaces only

Unless it has been secured at the top or bottom, use a ladder only on a firm and level surface. Never place a ladder in any area where other work activities could displace it unless it is secured or protected by a barrier to keep traffic away from it.

Never place a ladder on boxes, barrels, or any other unstable base to get additional height. And don’t shift or move a ladder while a person or equipment is on it.

Do not use the top step or rung of a ladder

Stay off the top step or rung of any ladder unless it was designed for that purpose. Always maintain a 3-point contact (two hands and a foot, or two feet and a hand) on the ladder while climbing. Also, keep your body near the middle of the step and face the ladder. 

If you’re using an extension or straight ladder to access an elevated surface, it must extend at least three feet above the point of support. The proper angle for setting up an extension ladder is to place its base a quarter of the working length of the ladder from the wall or vertical surface. Stay off the three top rungs of the ladder.

Watch out for electrical hazards

Check for overhead power lines before setting up a ladder. Never use a metal ladder near power lines or any exposed energized electrical equipment.

Are you looking to enhance your career in a fast-growing field?

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What Should Electrical Workers Wear? Investing in the Right Apparel for the Job

It’s a risk that electrical workers face every day on the job: Arc flashes occurring without warning and causing an injury that can be severe.

It’s a risk that electrical workers face every day on the job: Arc flashes occurring without warning and causing an injury that can be severe. The most serious of these burn injuries typically happen when clothing ignites and continues to burn, so it stands to reason that the right apparel – arc-rated (AR) and flame-resistant (FR) – can offer protection from these painful burns.

What Causes Arc Flashes?

  • Electrical worker error: Occasionally, workers fail to verify that there is no voltage. They might be using faulty voltage testers or forget about lockout/tag-out procedures. Overconfidence, complacency, and poor communication can all contribute to arc flashes.
  • Working on energized equipment: There are situations in which workers must work on hot equipment—hospitals are a perfect example. But there are times when workers believe they have the experience to work on energized equipment or they don’t de-energize because they are pressed for time.
  • Lack of equipment maintenance: When equipment is not regularly maintained, corrosion can build up and increase resistance and heat. Corrosion is one of the leading causes of equipment failure and arc flashes.

Electrical Workers Can Protect Themselves with Flame-Resistant Wear

Electrical workers are usually not burned severely by the arc flash itself. Instead, the significant injury occurs when non-FR clothing ignites and fuels the flame. The extent of the injury is increased with the worker experiencing severe and painful burns.

Flame-resistant apparel will self-extinguish, which lessens the burn injury since the source of ignition is removed. It also provides enough insulation to reduce the likelihood of second-degree burns significantly.

FR Daily-Wear is a Simple and Effective Solution

For the most common lower-energy work, wearing AR/FR daily-wear could be the solution. It takes away the guesswork of deciding whether a task requires arc-rated clothing, and it eliminates that extra step of getting into personal protective equipment (PPE) for a specific job. For high-energy tasks, however, the extra step of donning appropriate task-based PPE is recommended or required.

Match Your Clothing to the Hazard Levels

The National Electrical Safety Code (NESC) requires utilities to assess the hazards for employees working around energized equipment. If energy exceeds a certain level, workers must wear AR/FR clothing with an arc rating equal to or higher than the levels with which they work. 

Employers may be required to perform an arc-flash risk assessment to determine the potential energy level and the total area in which the hazard exists. Once the energy level and total area are determined, you can select the appropriate AR/FR clothing. Start by choosing a fabric that gives you the comfort and performance that meet the needs of your workplace and the tasks you’ll be performing.

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What Motivates Employees and Supervisors to Work Safely Together?

Part of every supervisor’s responsibility is to support and promote a safe workplace. While various methods can lead to a safe working environment, most of them will revolve…

Part of every supervisor’s responsibility is to support and promote a safe workplace. While various methods can lead to a safe working environment, most of them will revolve around encouraging open communication and giving workers clear guidelines on the type of behavior that will promote safety, while quickly attending to any acts that undermine safety.

Here are a few safety tips every boss should keep in mind.

Walk the Walk

Supervisors are the company’s leaders in all aspects of the business. Leadership in safety means showing subordinates an excellent example. Advocating safety doesn’t do much good if those at the top aren’t applying it themselves. While managers and supervisors should be doing their utmost to set positive examples in all areas, it is essential they adhere to the same safety policies expected of their workers.

Make the Message Stick

Those managers who are conducting safety training must ensure that the message – “Safety is our company’s priority!”- is getting through to their workers.

Open the Lines of Communication

Listening to workers about their safety concerns and acting on them shows you are committed to their safety. It’s also an excellent way to motivate them.

Remain Vigilant

A safe workplace is not “once and done.” Supervisors and employees should always be monitoring the work environment for unsafe conditions. Leaders should be providing regular feedback, observing workers, and encouraging them to stay safe by informing them about all required safety procedures.

Keep Your Employees Engaged

While training is crucial, employees who are closely connected with their work and to their employer will be more motivated to take safety seriously.  Here are some suggestions to engage them:

  • allow your workers to make suggestions for a safer workplace;
  • have them participate in purchasing personal protective equipment;
  • let them conduct safety evaluations; and
  • put them on problem-solving committees.

Successful employee engagement in every company program, including safety, will depend predominately on the support and enthusiasm of those in leadership roles.

Positive Reinforcement Enhances Safety

In the past, one of the boss’s primary functions was to point out and correct the mistakes of their workers. Today, positive reinforcement, such as thanking an employee for completing a task efficiently, has been shown to reinforce the positive behavior and cause it to happen in the future.

Safety programs also benefit from positive reinforcement. When supervisors take the time to notice and commend safe acts by their workers, those actions will likely be repeated. And research on employee satisfaction indicates reminding employees that they are working safely and thanking them for their efforts goes a long way toward motivating them.

Positive reinforcement, however, does not mean ignoring accidents, even if they are minor. Supervisors must continue to address safety issues, but more as a learning opportunity and less in an accusatory manner.

Are you looking to add talented electrical workers to your team? Contact Outsource!

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Protect Your Employees From Costly Slips, Trips and Falls

Fall injuries make up a substantial amount of workers’ compensation and medical costs.

Fall injuries make up a substantial amount of workers’ compensation and medical costs. According to the National Safety Council, they cost over $70 billion each year in the U.S. Also, slips, trips, and falls account for 15% of all accidental deaths in the workplace, costing employers over $11 billion per year.

While these shocking figures might seem overwhelming, there are some cost-effective safety solutions employers can implement that will reduce slips, trips and falls significantly. Supervisors and workers learning what they can do to prevent these accidents is an essential first step.

Common Causes of Slips, Trips and Falls in the Workplace

While there is a myriad of reasons why a worker is injured in a fall, here are the most common:

  • ladders
  • stairs and railings
  • weather-related conditions
  • poor lighting
  • spills
  • floor mats
  • unprotected openings and edges
  • uneven walkways

The following practices can be put into effect immediately to eliminate these hazards and prevent slips, trips and falls in your workplace.

Practice Good Housekeeping

Ensure all tools and equipment in the work area are organized and put back after each use. Remember the 5S System of organization: Sort, Set in order, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain. People who use the walkways may be distracted and could be vulnerable to falling over obstacles. You can prevent potentially serious injuries just by using proper housekeeping methods.

Provide Proper Lighting in All Areas of the Facility

It might seem obvious, but poor lighting is often overlooked as a safety hazard. A dimly lit work area can keep workers from seeing dangers in their path, which can lead to slips, trips and falls. Stairwells, parking lots and certain parts of the warehouse are just some of the areas that can be poorly lit. Have your maintenance supervisor look at these areas to make sure they are adequately lit and to add lighting where it’s needed.

Mark the Floors as a Safety Guide

Another relatively simple safety upgrade is to add floor markings to guide pedestrians around dangerous areas. Combined with safety signs that warn workers of potentially hazardous spaces, these floor markers can go a long way in preventing falls.

Keep the Floors Dry

Containing spills and keeping all areas of the workplace as dry as possible will result in fewer slips and falls. It’s no secret wet floors increase the chances of a nasty fall, so make sure your employees are trained to clean up all spills immediately, instead of waiting for someone else to do it. Once again, use warning signs around any areas that are not completely dry to make workers aware of the danger.

Let Outsource Help You Find Safety Conscious Workers

If you would like assistance finding your next electrical professional, contact the experts at Outsource. We are the largest staffing firm in the nation specializing in the placement of low voltage and electrical talent.

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