May is Electrical Safety Month. This focus affects everyone within the chain of energy consumption, from the professionals who work with it to the millions of people who use electricity every day. Though we’re accustomed to flipping a switch and seeing light right off the bat, many people have forgotten how dangerous electricity is and how carelessness can lead to death.
NECA members have a vested interest in workplace safety because their health is on the line every day. Our electrical contractors know the importance of working with labor partners to provide training and proper PPE as well as ensuring only qualified workers perform electrical tasks. From properly installed ground fault circuit interrupters at home and on the job, to designing and installing electrical photovoltaic systems, electrical installations depend on qualified contractors and workers.
By encouraging the NECA Standing Policy “Safety and Health,” our members have adopted safety as a core value. This policy pushes us to do everything with a heightened level of caution. Some of the more recent precautions we’ve taken include providing comfortable and properly fitting garments, harnesses and other PPE for women and handling the more extreme risks of installing electric vehicle charging stations as part of the infrastructure expansion.
Safety is not only physical well-being, but mental and emotional health as well. A new push in worker safety focuses on the employee’s needs and is referred to as the total worker health approach. Whether it be personal, financial or workplace stress, by understanding the challenges that our employees face in their day-to-day lives, we can help to point them in the direction of assistance and support. Emphasizing employee wellness and having engaged, healthy and stress-free workers can lead to a huge return on investment. National associations have developed a 988 chip with the wording, “It’s Okay to Not Be Okay” as a resource for co-workers, friends and family to start the conversation with someone that may benefit from intervention.
May is also the pinnacle of our association’s safety gatherings with the NECA Safety Professionals Conference (NSPC) held in Nashville, Tenn. The agenda features topics such as mental health, occupational safety and safety leadership. Sessions for outside line contractors are dedicated to human performance, protective grounding, aerial unit safety and frontline leadership. Safety is not a secret, and learning best practices and leadership principles at the NSPC benefits everyone within our organizations. From the entry-level workers, apprentices and journeymen, all the way to top management and CEOs, safety is our priority!