Electrical, Technician Tips, Business Tips
8 Electrical Safety Tips to Keep Your Employees and Customers Safe
Table of Contents
It comes as no shock electricians face safety hazards on the job.
Electricians can find themselves in dangerous situations as they install new wiring or repair faulty electrical systems.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 7,740 electric and wiring installation contractors working in the private industry suffered injuries on the job in 2019, the most recent data available.
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Electrical companies need to perform quality work so their customers stay safe, as electrical fires from failures or malfunctions were the second leading cause of home fires within a four-year period in the United States, according to a report by the National Fire Protection Association.
Communicate with customers
Identify potential hazards
To stay safe on the job, electricians should know what the job entails prior to arrival. Preparing proactively aquaints techs with the problem beforehand, so they can make sure they bring the proper tools and understand potential hazards.
Some electrical companies, like CW Electrical Services in Pittsburgh, launched a virtual technician service to address customer concerns during the COVID pandemic. The company offers free estimates and consultations via Facetime and Skype to provide virtual estimates or diagnose electrical issues.
Virtual services also provide added communication, giving techs valuable knowledge if customers choose your company for service. Techs likely will know how to fix the electrical issue before they arrive at the job.
Advance preparation allows for research of proper electrical codes or other safety measures.
With ServiceTitan’s cloud-based software solution, techs can easily access information through the mobile app on the jobsite, improving safety, communication, and customer service.
Use Proper Tools
Stock and organize vehicles
Electrical safety begins with utilizing the proper tools and equipment.
In electrical work, insulated tools and handling equipment provide an important measure of protection against electric shock.
Techs should maintain tools regularly to ensure they stay in proper working order and do not deteriorate. Remove defective tools from service and mark them so other workers do not use them.
Techs also need to keep vans properly stocked and organized, so they can complete the job efficiently and safely—and avoid accidental injury by tripping over ladders and tools.
An orderly van essentially serves as a mobile billboard, promoting a positive image to the public. That's the message one company illuminated to its employees.
"I think what really changed our technicians' mindset is the idea that their truck is a marketing tool," says Dominic Durbin of Tiger Plumbing, Heating, Air Conditioning & Electrical Services. "When they're working on a job, and a lot of people are walking their dog or walking by and see a truck full of trash, that's not a good image for the company."
Some companies, such as Nice Heating & Air, award points to techs for clean and well-stocked trucks, which the techs can exchange for rewards. Your company could also award bonus compensation for the cleanest or most improved work van.
Wear Personal Protective Equipment
Protect from injuries
Reduce electrical hazards
Personal protective equipment goes a long way toward reducing the risk of electrical hazards, including electrical shock, burns, falls from electrical energy contact, and electrocution.
The arc thermal performance value (ATPV) of the protective equipment needs to be matched with the potential workplace exposure, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Electrical personal protective equipment includes:
Hard hats and hoods
Face shields or safety glasses
Rubber insulated gloves and protector gloves
Rubber insulated sleeves for high voltage
Flame retardant clothing
Electrical safety shoes
Ear plugs for noise protection
Other electrical safety equipment may be needed, such as insulated matting and insulated ladders, and rescue rods and poles. In addition, electrician apps assist with calculations and measurement references to give immediate answers to urgent problems electricians may face on the job.
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Practice Safety Precautions
Implement best practice procedures
Eliminate jobsite injury
Electrical work presents a unique set of hazards to the licensed electrician. Injuries could be the result of direct contact from electricity or from an electric arc, which happens when an electric current flows between two conductors.
Safety procedures—and an electrical worker's common sense—go a long way toward safety on the jobsite. Basic electrical safety procedures ensure techs stay safe while working on power sources by:
De-energizing electrical equipment
Use lockout and tag procedures
Use equipment such as voltage testers
Maintain a safe distance from energized parts
Connect electrical equipment to a Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI)
Ensure tools are properly grounded
It may come as a surprise, but ergonomic injuries are the top electrical worker injury, resulting in the most worker's compensation claims than any other hazard, according to data from Independent Electrical Contractors. As with other jobs in the trades, electricians face injuries from repetitive motions, poor lifting and handling practices, and falls.
Qualified electricians play a key role in ensuring electrical safety at home, as they may be the first to alert a homeowner of a dangerous situation regarding electrical outlets or circuit breakers, or improper use of electrical cords, extension cords, power strips, or electrical appliances.
Practice safety rules
Provide continued education
Prioritize workplace safety by investing in electrical safety training.
Techs should be familiar with the National Electrical Code (NEC) and best practice electrical safety rules. Consider obtaining feedback from your team on electrical safety topics, so everyone stays on the same page.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health offers several resources for workplace safety through publications and professional associations. Through continued education and on-site work experience, employees can increase their knowledge and know the company values their work.
Employees who feel valued work harder, says Tom Howard, ServiceTitan’s Vice President of Customer Experience and owner of multiple home service businesses. He thinks electrical companies need to spend as much time attracting and retaining employees as they do trying to sell electrical services to new or existing customers.
Dispatch the Right Tech
Increase efficiency with cloud-based electrical software
Match tech skill to job
Use ServiceTitan cloud-based dispatch software to match the right tech to the job.
Drag-and-drop scheduling software allows your company to assign jobs based on tech skills, so you can match highly experienced techs to the most profitable jobs.
Detailed scheduling oversight allows for increased efficiency, so you can schedule jobs based on location, minimizing unnecessary drive time on hazardous roads. When techs possess the right knowledge and skills for the job at hand, it ensures safety and efficient work.
Protect with Insurance
Protect your business
Provide coverage for the unknown
While you can attempt to mitigate as many hazards as possible, electrician insurance protects your company in unforeseen circumstances.
Many states require workers' compensation insurance, which ensures your injured employees get medical care and compensation for lost wages if they are injured on the job. It also usually protects a company from lawsuits, and extends the same protection to your customers.
General liability insurance protects your business, if your work causes property damage or bodily injury to customers. Commercial vehicle insurance covers auto accidents while coming to or from a job and theft from work vans, while property insurance covers the office and everything stored in it.
Track Business Success
Adjust for growth
An integrated software platform enables you to track the progress of your company, so you can position your company for growth.
After switching to ServiceTitan, Mel Carr Electric in Albany, N.Y., says the software provides real-time business performance data, including updates from the field.
“It’s so user-friendly. So intuitive. (The software) just knows your next step,” Carr says. “It took care of things we never even realized we needed.”
ServiceTitan field reporting software allows you to keep tabs on technician performance. Through technician scorecards, you can track jobs, revenue, and conversions to measure their productivity.
Real-time data allows you to monitor your workforce and the financial current of your company, enabling you to gauge progress and make adjustments for optimal growth.
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