Being an electrician is a popular trade in North America. Ibisworld.com report there are over 223,000 Electrician companies registered in the U.S for 2022. ¹ This is a 1.8% increase from 2021. ² These companies are required to adhere to regulations set out by OSHA. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is run by the United States Department of Labour. It was created by President Richard Nixon in 1971 to assure safe and healthy working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards. As a government body, OSHA regulates most private and some public sector employers and their workers.
Which OSHA Standards Apply to Electricians?
OSHA standards fall into four categories: General Industry, Construction, Maritime, and Agriculture. The standards that apply to electricians can be found in Construction and General Industry.
Occupational Safety and Health Standards:
1910 Subpart J, Standard 1910.146 – Permit-required confined spaces (General Environmental Controls)
1910 Subpart I, Standard 1910.132 – General requirements (Personal Protective Equipment)
Safety and Health Regulations for Construction:
1926 Subpart K, Standard 1926.403 – General requirements (Electrical)
1926 Subpart K, Standard 1926.407 – Hazardous (classified) locations (Electrical)
1926 Subpart K, Standard 1926.416 – General requirements (Electrical)
1926 Subpart M, Standard 1926.501 – Duty to have fall protection (Fall Protection)
1926 Subpart M, Standard 1926.502 – Fall protection systems criteria and practices (Fall Protection)
One other Standard that often applies to electricians is, 1915 Subpart F, Standard 1915.84 – Working alone (General Working Conditions). Although this standard is aimed specifically at shipyard workers, it does apply to lone workers across all industries.
How To Keep Lone Working Electricians Safe
In order to enhance safety and protect electricians, there needs to be a company-wide focus on health and safety. Workers need to carry out risk assessments and follow company safety policies and employers need to implement and ensure OSHA requirements are being followed.
One way to do this is to use a lone worker safety app that allows workers to check in at regular intervals and request help if they need it. The system should have GPS capabilities that can locate a worker if they are out on a job and fail to check-in.
Ok Alone is a lone worker solution designed for users and administrators which has been optimised for laptops, desktops, smartphones and tablets. The solution has many features that benefit those in the electrics industry, but especially the Help button, High-risk timer and man down function.
Top Three Features of a Lone Worker App for Electricians
Here are 3 features that electrications would find useful in their lone worker app:
Man Down Protection
The Man down feature has the capability to alert a fellow worker, supervisor or call centre personnel if there has been no movement from a worker within a set length of time. This could help indicate if an electrician has been involved in an accident. The feature alerting management that there has been an incident means the injured party will not have to wait for the next shift to start or for someone to notice they are missing, before being found.
High Risk Check In
It is important to be able to change the time between check in’s when going into a situation deemed high risk. The high risk check in feature benefits lone workers in the electrical industry especially. The ability to set the time period for their check in from between ten minutes to one hour (in 10-minute increments) allows an electrician to adjust the feature to be beneficial to the specific activity they are doing. For a higher risk activity, such as interaction with cables in a confined space, it should be set to a shorter time. Once the task has been completed without incident, the check in time reverts to the normal frequency previously set for the worker.
A ‘Help Button’ sends an alert to a supervisor, manager or representative of the employer, informing them that a worker needs immediate assistance. The help button has options to trigger it; being pushed manually or triggered using voice commands. Workers also have the option of sending a written or voice message directly to the person monitoring their situation. Ok Alone has GPS capabilities that can locate an electrician if they activate the ‘help’ alert.
Having a solution with these key features and various other capabilities helps companies meet many health, safety and compliance issues.