As people continue to balance work, school, and daily living at home, or are employed in the office or out in the field, it is critical that homes and workplaces are electrically safe, secure, and efficient. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) actively supports National Electrical Safety Month, an annual campaign sponsored by Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), which raises awareness of potential home electrical hazards, the importance of electrical fire safety, and the safety of electrical and non-electrical workers, each May.
This year’s theme, “Connected to Safety,” focuses on emerging technology. From understanding how to charge electrical vehicles at home and use household electrical safety devices to working safely with or around solar panels and temporary power, homeowners and workers can take steps to greatly reduce electrical hazards associated with the latest technological advancements.
“Exposure to electricity poses a real injury risk to workers and the public, especially as new technology is introduced in our homes and vocations,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA vice president of Outreach and Advocacy. “Many people are not aware of electrical dangers and yet each year people are injured or killed from these hazards. National Electrical Safety Month helps better educate people about the true dangers of electricity and ways to prevent related tragedies from happening.”
During Electrical Safety Month, homeowners can take these simple steps to reduce risk:
- Learn the importance of using surge protective devices to protect against damaging power surges that can destroy electrical equipment in the home
- Use grounded outlets that guard against electric shock
- Use a smart plug or power strip to turn off power when devices are not in use
Residents should have all electrical work done by a qualified electrician, including scheduling electrical inspections when buying or remodeling a home. Even during this time of social distancing, electricians are still working and considered essential businesses in every state.
According to NFPA and ESFI, contact with electricity is a leading cause of workplace injuries and fatalities. During National Electrical Safety Month, electrical and non-electrical workers are encouraged to participate in safety training programs that focus on personal protective equipment, safe work practices, and risk assessments to help avoid electrical injuries, deaths, and OSHA violations, as outlined in NFPA 70, National Electrical Code® (NEC®) and NFPA 70E®, Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace.
When exposed to electricity, electrical and non-electrical workers need to follow these steps to ensure proper safety procedures on the job:
- Design and install temporary wiring according to OSHA, the NEC and NFPA 70E® requirements
- Have a qualified electrician install temporary power at a work site
- Consider all overhead lines to be live, energized, and dangerous
In May, NFPA will launch its 125th Anniversary Conference Series, a year-long virtual event that will replace the 2021 Conference & Expo and feature educational content, industry roundtable discussions, networking opportunities, and more for building and life safety professionals and practitioners. On May 18, the first program of the series, Empowering Electrical Design, Installation, and Safety, will highlight the latest code requirements, safety practices, and applicable technology developments in the electrical industry. Learn more about the series and register for the full-day electrical program.
NFPA recently launched, Faces of Fire/Electrical, a video awareness campaign focused on electrical hazards and created in collaboration with the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors. The series reminds everyone about the importance of taking action – at home and in the workplace – to stop electrical incidents from happening. The videos and related resources such as fact sheets, tip sheets, and reports can be found at nfpa.org/facesoffire.
Information about electrical codes and standards, and worker safety training, can be found on the NFPA electrical solutions webpage.