A Safety Reminder

Eric Beckman, National Field Services, NETA PresidentColumns, President's Desk, Summer 2022 Columns

Summer is in full swing across the country, and I want to take some time to focus on safety. You’ll find many of our articles in this edition of NETA World revolve around some aspect of safety. Our cover story continues the discussion of the 2018 changes to the arc flash calculation process in IEEE 1584. (Editor’s note: Catch up on Part 1 in the Spring 2022 edition of NETA World).

I particularly want to focus my message on driving. Many times, we’re very focused on the electrical hazards associated with the jobs we do, and rightly so. However, we often forget about some of the other hazards that can sometimes be taken for granted.

For instance, perhaps the most dangerous thing each of us does every single day is drive to and from our place of work. This has been minimized to some extent for office staff working remotely during COVID, but has never changed for our technicians and engineers in the field.  NHTSA reported that 39,000 people were killed in car accidents in 2020. Compare that to 400 fatalities per year due to high-voltage electrical injuries reported by the NIH.

We’re constantly worried about getting to our jobsite on time, or maybe we’re running behind or in a hurry to get prepared for the job. Then we’re anxious to get home or back to the hotel after a hard day’s work. And especially during this era of technology, there are so many distractions. The one that is possibly the most distracting is the cell phone.

I know these are things everyone already knows, but it’s good to remind everyone of this particular hazard that exists every single day, on work as well as personal time.

Just a few tips and reminders for safe driving:

  • Put your phone away when driving.
  • Don’t eat and drive.
  • Inspect your vehicle before use.
  • Don’t drive fatigued.
  • Practice defensive driving techniques.
  • Slow down.

We work in a very dangerous industry, but remember that electrical hazards are just one of many dangers that exist in the daily life of a field technician and engineer.

Plan ahead, and always put safety first!

Eric Beckman, PE, President
InterNational Electrical Testing Association