Don’t take electricity for granted…
Recent Event
Several months ago, a new contract electrician at a DOE site was
performing work under a contract.
The electrician was asked to perform an additional task by someone
not related to the contract or contractor oversight.
This task involved deenergizing some lights by lifting leads in a
junction box.
The electrician proceeded to perform the requested work without
authorization, without controls, and without turning off the circuit.
Guess what happened?
Recent Event
The worker was not shocked,
injured, burned, or anything
When asked, this worker, a 40 year licensed journeyman
electrician, stated that this work was performed live all
the time where he worked before, so he just went ahead
and did it the way he always did.
The Reality
The worker in the event was LUCKY, not good.
NFPA 70E – The Standard for Electrical Safety in the
Workplace, requires that energized work – lifting
leads, in this case – be justified.
In the described event, there was no reason for the work
to be performed live. In fact, a pre-brief earlier in the day
identified that this very activity would require an
extensive lockout/tagout.
Another Event
In 2004, another worker made a
decision to replace a breaker in a
panel without turning it off.
This worker spent a month in the
hospital with 2nd and 3rd degree
burns over 50% of his body.
The reason was the same – it was
easier, faster, there was some
time pressure…but again, no
The outcome, on the other hand,
was significantly worse.
Worker Responsibilities
As an electrical worker – or any worker, for that matter –
on a DOE site, NFPA 70E is required to be followed by
federal regulation (10CFR851)
More importantly, you have a right to a safe and healthy
work environment – but that entails certain
• Follow site regulations concerning energized work activities
• Deenergize whenever possible
• Wear appropriate PPE at all times
Working Safely
The primary cause of electrical safety violations,
and ultimately, electrical accidents, is not failed
equipment, but failed people.
Complacency and inattention kills (and injures)
just as certainly as a failed piece of equipment,
and much more frequently.
7 Deadly Words
The real killers of electrical workers:
“That’s the way I’ve always done it”
“My supervisor told me to”
“I was in a hurry”
“I left my meter in the truck”
“I assumed it was dead”
“There’s a bonus if we can finish by 5 pm”
“I turned off the wrong unit”
You’ve heard these words, and their variations, a
thousand times before. What are you going to do about
What to do…
Turn it off, lock it out
Check it dead
Test your meter before and after
Really – how long does this take compared with living a healthy life?
Ask yourself…
Why does this have to done live?
Is this job worth my life?
If you don’t like either of the answers,
More Information
Contact your site’s Electrical Safety Program for
additional information on safe work practices
OSHA has many additional resources on safe work
practices in construction and general industry:
NFPA 70E, The Standard for Electrical Safety in the
Workplace, available at most online booksellers

Electrical Safety Awareness