A new research report has zeroed in on the 10 most hazardous electrical tasks that pose the greatest risk of injury to workers.
The report, conducted by the Washington, DC Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association, found that the most hazardous electrical task is demolishing or removing electrical equipment.
The rest of the top 10 most hazardous tasks are, in order behind demolishing or removing electrical equipment:
- performing site work, layout and logistics
- preparing ground for underground electrical installations
- working with pull cables and wires
- performing lockout/tagout
- operating trucks with boom lifts or standalone lifts
- producing openings for conduit and electrical lines
- installing new electrical equipment
- performing preventive maintenance on electrical equipment, and
- energizing electrical equipment.
Each task has ‘numerous contributing factors’
Researchers told the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) that within each of these tasks they identified “numerous contributing factors.”
In situations where new electrical equipment is being installed, for example, there’s an increased risk of injury because of tight workspaces, improper coordination of overhead work and uncomfortable PPE.
For demolishing or removing electrical equipment, the increased risk is a result of unsecured components, poorly installed equipment with missing drawings or labels, inadequate or inconsistent training and exposure to unknown particulates.
Data from 14 electrical, general contracting companies
The study was conducted with NIOSH support at the Center for Construction Research and Training in collaboration with 10 experts representing electrical contractors, unions and trade associations.
Researchers then developed a data collection form that was meant to identify the electrical tasks that posed the highest risk for injury.
Out of the 18 electrical and general contracting companies that received the form, 14 responded. Based on those responses, researchers compiled a list of the 10 most hazardous electrical tasks.
The findings from this study will be used to help inform additional, larger studies. The next step may involve developing an online system containing task-specific information and proven controls to mitigate hazards. That resource could then be used by companies to help in planning for these hazardous tasks.