Worksite Safety Archive



Heat Injury and Illness Prevention: Past, Present and Future

On October 27, 2021, OSHA published in the Federal Register an advance notice of proposed rulemaking for heat injury and illness prevention in outdoor and indoor work settings. This followed OSHA implementing an enforcement initiative on heat-related hazards and the development of a National Emphasis Program on heat inspections in September. At the same time, […]

A Close Look at Step and Touch Potentials

The topic of step and touch potentials is controversial, which is precisely why we need to discuss it. In my role as a work methods auditor and consultant, I see more variations in how employers address step potential than in any other aspect of equipotential bonding. I know the reasons for this and will address […]

April – May 2022 Q&A

Q: Why are communications systems bonded to a utility system neutral? Doesn’t that make the communications messenger a parallel neutral path? A: Yes, it does, but this is a case of “Which is worse?” There are a number of things we do for one purpose that create hazards for another. We must know the issues […]

OSHA Electric Power Standards – Simplified

Protection from Flames and Electric Arcs It is important to remember that all arc hazards are not equal. By Pam Tompkins, CUSP, CSP, and Matt Edmonds, CUSP, CIT, CHST According to OSHA, electric power generation, transmission and distribution workers face a significant risk of injury from burns due to electric arcs. Studies have concluded that […]

February – March 2022 Q&A

| Jim Vaughn, CUSP | ,
Q: Is it a good idea to wear dielectric boots in a substation? Do they provide additional protection to a worker? We feel that the worker is at equipotential – given the grid and stone are maintained per design – so we don’t believe that dielectric boots would provide extra protection. What are your thoughts? […]

Grounding Conductor Confusion: What’s the Best One to Use?

| Stephen Oaks | ,
Consider new testing data before making a final determination. Proper grounding is both a life-and-death matter and an operational imperative. But many questions remain about grounding. Some of the most frequently asked include:

Safety Signs and Sign Policy

You might be surprised how a little thing like a safety sign can turn out to be one of your company’s biggest financial losses of the year. Over the last decade, I’m aware of three clients who lost big because a sign they put up was the wrong color, the print was imprecise, or the […]

Lineworkers and Line-Clearance Workers: Understanding Their Similarities and Differences

Everyone in the utility sector should familiarize themselves with the relationship between these two work groups.

Containing Contagions in Close Quarters

Pandemic preparation is nothing new. In fact, I have been telling employers since the 1980s that a pandemic plan is one of the business/safety mechanisms they should have in place. It’s just good practice to address and interrupt a contagion that could potentially immobilize the employer’s workforce. The United States has been researching pandemic responses […]

Actionable Safety: Modeling Change for Line Crews

Demonstrating simple strategies for teams to practice can begin to effect behavioral changes that improve safety.

December 2021 – January 2022 Q&A

| Jim Vaughn, CUSP | ,
Incident Prevention magazine still receives many questions about the different facets of equipotential bonding. In this installment of Q&A, we provide detailed answers to several of the most frequent questions in an effort to help the industry better understand and resolve these issues for the safety of their workers who use temporarily grounded systems. Q: […]

A Historical Review of Workplace Safety in the U.S.

While OSHA may sometimes make it difficult for businesses to do business, their rules are necessary for the safety of the American workforce.

OSHA Electric Power Standards – Simplified | Part 6

De-energizing Lines and Equipment for the Protection of Employees It’s critical for workers to understand the process of de-energizing lines and equipment to hold them clear.

October-November 2021 Q&A

Q: We are contractors with a truck grounding question for work inside substations. Working within a proper clearance, the generation and transmission cooperative (G&T) that owns the transmission circuit coming into the substation believes 4/0 equipment grounding is needed, while the consumer utilities operating the substation say 1/0 or 2/0 is required. We sometimes are […]

Eating the Elephant

There is an adage applied to seemingly insurmountable jobs: “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” Of course, being quite literal, my first thought after hearing the adage for the first time was, “Won’t it spoil before you finish?” And that’s the problem with safety management. There’s too much to do […]

Establishing a Comprehensive Ergonomics Program During a Pandemic

| Lisa Harris |
Austin Energy and Healthworks Ergonomics were able to pivot and keep up the program’s momentum after COVID-19 hit the U.S.

August-September 2021 Q&A

Q: We have been reading OSHA 29 CFR 1910.269 regarding two-man work, but we cannot find a definition for “routine switching.” We are under the impression that a trained troubleshooter can replace blown fuses in cutouts without a second man. Since it is not specifically mentioned in the exceptions, do we have this wrong? We […]

Information Transfer: What’s Needed to Protect Affected Workers?

As with all the other articles in this series, when it comes to information transfer, it is important to start with the hazard. Individuals who work on or near electric power lines and equipment face a multitude of potential high-risk electrical hazards. Employers have the responsibility to identify and control known hazards to ensure worker […]

Who is Your Customer?

But first, this public service announcement. Summer is here, and if your organization doesn’t already have a policy on energy drinks, you should do the research and develop one. I had long been skeptical of energy drinks because I know that anything that artificially enhances body function always comes with consequences, especially if it’s overused. […]
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Building an ATV/UTV Training Program for Utilities and Contractors

Utility task vehicles (UTVs) and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) are quickly becoming the preferred motorized equipment for lineworkers to use to access difficult terrain for necessary inspection and repair of infrastructure. And although they are exceptionally capable, these vehicles – identifiable by their large off-road tires, relatively small size and light weight – pose certain challenges […]
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