As with any important task, checking on progress is critical. The same concept applies to the e-Hazard Safety Cycle™. An audit that is utilized to determine a site’s electrical safety behavior is referred to as the Electrical Safety Audit. This audit is an opportunity to assess the company’s status in regards to adherence to specific electrical safety regulations, NFPA 70E®, and electrical best practice behaviors. These audits can be voluntary, and often are mandated by law per OSHA regulations, or in the case of government or military bases, by DoD or other military regulations (i.e. OPNAV and UFC 3-560-01).
The basics of any ES audit will cover the following topics:
A typical small to medium-sized location can complete a thorough electrical safety audit in one day, with some time taken up that evening for report writing as required. A larger facility may take two to three days for an audit, especially at sites that have an unusually large number of electrical employees (150 or more). The process involves a full review of electrical program records, including training schedule, qualification, electrical maintenance, and self-assessments. A typical audit report ranges from five pages to upwards of thirty pages for a larger facility.
1. In order to manage the incident investigations, an organizational policy is the first step. This document should identify the following:
Perform the audit in a systemic process as arranged in the planning stage. Stick to the plan; do not allow distractions to divert attention from the audit process. A suggested format might look like this:
The audit process must be revised periodically as changes occur within the industry, including code and standard updates, regulation changes, and updates on electrical Best Practices. Audit protocols, forms, and checklists will need to be updated, site interview questionnaires adapted, and required documentation checklists for the audit adjusted as necessary. These revisions are critical to keep the audit current and appropriate to the location undergoing the auditing process.
In NFPA 70E®, the overall electrical safety program requires a three-year audit to “verify the principles and procedures” of the electrical program are still in compliance with the newest NFPA 70E® standard. In the e-Hazard Safety Cycle™, these revisions should be caught in the “Revise” step. However, a periodic review of the electrical audit process needs to be completed to make sure every part of this process is going as planned, sometimes referred to as a “confidence check”. This review should include a trend-analysis based upon all previous audits, and should look at improvements already implemented, missed opportunities, and electrical injury rate trends (specifically shock, burns, and electrical near-misses).
By taking time to review the audit process, the location prepares mentally for the next audit, with specific targets in mind: reducing injuries, correcting unsafe behaviors, and leading personnel to the ultimate goal - a zero-electrical-injury work environment. Only then can the electrical safety cycle truly be called “complete.”