May is Electrical Safety month. However, as Jim Phillips reminds us in his Arc Flash Safety column, every day is electrical safety day. We know you know that.
This issue looks at safety and ergonomics for electrical contractors and the people who love them. There has been a culture of resistance to ergonomics in the trades. We’re beginning to understand ergonomics isn’t just about making workers comfortable. It’s about keeping them safe, healthy and productive. An ergonomic tool can outperform a traditional one because the user remains stronger for longer and can, therefore, accomplish more work, go home healthy, and return the following day in good shape.
Jeff Gavin starts us off with “Leading Through Safety,” which is about incorporating safe practices in every part of your business. Jeff writes, “If your crew feels you have their backs, they will reciprocate with a commitment to safety.”
Our tools expert, Jeff Griffin, and safety sages, Mike Johnston and Wes Wheeler, provide the lowdown on ergonomics, how to use tools and your body the right way so you don’t hurt yourself on the job or at home.
We stay on topic with our monthly safety column by Tom O’Connor, Wes Wheeler’s safety quiz, and safety products and apparel listings.
Related to ergonomics in a sense, the lighting industry has been driving toward the study of lighting effects on health and productivity; lighting isn’t just about the practicality of being able to see. Craig DiLouie writes about the health effects of circadian lighting in “Beyond the Ceiling." We have covered this topic in the past, but it’s in the news all the time. We read about a study at Mount Sinai Health System in the Wall Street Journal recently. A clinical trial there is testing whether particular lighting in cancer patients’ rooms helps them feel less depressed and sleep better.
In the integrated systems section, Tom Hammerberg reviews changes to the requirements for fire alarm system power supplies. More changes are coming, so catch up now. Jim Romeo writes about electrical technology in his column, and Deborah O’Mara examines trends to watch in physical security.
All of this points to the idea that there is more to running a successful construction business than pounding nails, driving screws and pulling wire. People are an electrical contractor’s most vital resource, and caring for them is not only the moral thing to do, but it’s in a business’ best interest to keep them healthy so they remain effective and productive on the job.
The business that invests in safety training and gear, ergonomically designed tools, and its workforce’s overall health will prosper.