Next Generation of Electric Utility Workers

Posted On: March 20, 2018

New hires in the electric utility industry can face a number of steep challenges when they are learning the ropes. Since they have to learn to use several different procedures and systems in the facility, retaining that knowledge can be difficult. The result can be serious accidents and mishaps in the workplace that may be fatal.

Even small errors can have significant consequences. According to OSHA, all workers who are exposed to or work near energized machinery or parts are ‘qualified’ employees who are eligible for specialized training. Others are considered to be ‘unqualified’, and can be trained to recognize and stay away from hazardous situations only.

Qualified employees on the other hand have to be trained to deal with those situations as part of their job descriptions. This is understandable since according to OSHA regulations, the degree of training a worker gets should be proportionate to the risk level of their job. In fact, even workers who are not involved in electrical work may need safety training if they are routinely exposed to electrical hazards at work. To ensure the safety of their entire workforce, employers have to analyze the risks they face as per their duties and should be held accountable for providing appropriate training to their employees.

The Need for Electrical Safety Training

The new generation of Electric Utility Workers has their work cut out for them as senior workers retire in droves. Unlike their veteran counterparts, they need to undergo extensive Electric Utility Safety training according to OSHA standards.

According to OSHA, this is necessary for all workers who are at risk of facing injuries due to electric shocks and other electrical hazards on the job. The type of jobs that these injuries are common in include:

  • Equipment assemblers
  • Supervisors
  • Electricians
  • Electrical engineers
  • Operators of industrial machinery
  • Painters
  • Mechanics
  • Stationary engineers
  • Riggers and roustabouts
  • Repairers
  • Maintenance crew members
  • Welders

Training Options for Electrical Utility Workers

Video aids provide new hires in the industry real time demonstrations which are more immersive than presentations. To ensure employees retain the information presented in the video, make sure it is only a couple of minutes long.

These should also be shared on a cloud folder so that they can be accessed anytime by any worker who wishes to review the lessons. By making them compatible on all smart devices, employers can increase their reach and ensure the practices become second nature for new employees.

Self-Check Training

This is a practical and simple performance tool that can help workers focus on their duties or any task assigned to them. It is usually used in activities where errors have serious consequences. Known as STAR (Stop, Think, Act and Review), the procedure is necessary for everyone who works with or near electricity. The way this process works is simple.

If say, employees have to turn on a switch, as per training, they have to first pause, think about the action to be taken, consider possible hazards it can result in if proper procedures are ignored, and then turn it on only if everything checks out. Then they can check to see if the task resulted in the intended action.

Peer Check Training

As the name implies, a peer check is when one employee checks on another to see if they have done a task correctly. Workers are trained to do this before and after the task is completed to minimize mistakes which can otherwise result in dangerous situations.

The STAR tool works here as well. For instance, if an employee opens a valve, he can ask his peer to conduct a peer check by reading out its ID number according to the work order. If everything checks out, the employee can continue with the task at hand.

Power Utilities Library

Sign up for’s Power Utilities Library if you are a supervisor or work in Human Resources, and you do not have the resources to create an OSHA approved electrical safety program for new hires. It gives you unlimited access to material that can help you create effective training modules. Sign up today before there are mishaps that can be avoided with a bit of training.

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