NECA was familiar with the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) way back when it was the National Electrical Safety Foundation. In 1994, this nonprofit organization launched as a cooperative effort between the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, Underwriters Laboratories, and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. NECA has worked as a contributing supporter with the ESFI ever since and has been represented on its board of directors from the beginning.
The ESFI is best known for sponsoring National Electrical Safety Month each May as a public awareness campaign. However, the foundation’s daily mission is to reduce electricity- related injuries, deaths and fires, saving lives and property through public education and outreach. Like this important ally, NECA promotes electrical safety every day. And like the ESFI, NECA reinvigorates its approach continually and keeps up with evolving safety concerns.
The influence wielded by organizations such as NECA and the ESFI continues to grow. We’re seeing more electrical safety stakeholders step up their efforts to relieve the production, manipulation and use of electric power from as much inherent risk as they can, though some risk will always remain.
I’m particularly proud that NECA contractors are constantly raising the bar on safety performance. The evidence of the upward trend is in the fact that the NECA Safety Excellence and Zero Injury Award Program attracts more participants and certifies more winners every year.
We’re also seeing electrical safety advocates use National Electrical Safety Month as a platform for launching exciting and productive programs of their own. For example, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration called for a National Safety Stand-Down from May 4–15 to focus attention on preventing falls, the leading cause of construction fatalities. The timing was no coincidence. All contractors were urged to be part of the largest occupational safety event ever by supporting this important campaign to raise worker awareness. We hope you took part.
As for our association, we’re celebrating National Electrical Safety Month with the fifth annual NECA Safety Professionals Conference presented by Westex. Its purpose is to bring up-to-the-minute information on regulations, compliance, management techniques and standards development to those who manage our safety and health programs or have similar responsibilities within our companies. Rapid changes in technology and techniques, and corresponding changes to the codes and standards that govern our daily work, affect our industry more than most. It’s essential that the people we make responsible for our company’s safe performance have all of the information they need—information that can be applied immediately on the job.
As in previous years, the 2015 NECA Safety Professionals Conference (May 18–20 in Phoenix) includes both electrical line construction and inside electrical construction educational tracks. Along with in-depth sessions exploring a wide variety of topics, multiple opportunities to help attendees deal with the 2015 edition of NFPA 70E, Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace, are on the agenda. I’m really pleased that NECA is offering this vital education for the safety directors, human resource professionals, project managers, risk managers and supervisors working for member companies.
But don’t forget: anyone can take advantage of relevant safety resources available in the online store at www.necanet.org. Considered to be the most important document applicable to electrical construction and maintenance, NFPA 70E is a critical tool for protecting electrical workers from shock, arc flash and arc blast hazards while also safeguarding customers and their personnel and facilities. All inside contractors and their safety personnel need to understand and abide by it.
By the way, NECA has been represented in the continual refinement of this standard by John Luke, top safety director for member-company ESCO Electric Co. of Marion, Iowa, for more than 20 years. In addition, NECA is represented on each of the 19 National Electrical Code (NEC) Code-making panels, NECA contractors hold six chair positions on NEC technical committees, and NECA’s Michael Johnston (executive director, Standards and Safety) chairs the NEC Correlating Committee. That’s why NECA is recognized as the leading voice of electrical contractors in codes and standards development.
NECA is also one of the 10 industry organizations in the Electrical Code Coalition (ECC). The ECC’s mission is to increase focus and emphasis on electrical safety for people and property through direct and full adoption, application and uniform enforcement of the latest Code edition as the standard for safe electrical installations.
Here’s a great National Electrical Safety Month activity: Visit electricalcodecoalition.org to see which states have adopted the 2014 NEC, which have started the adoption process, and which may need you to help bring it home. Be sure to check out the adoption support kit.
Let’s all make safety a standard practice—every day, all day, all year long!