Safety Regulations, Utilities, Arc Flash

Progression of Utility Industry PPE

Electrical Worker on Utility Pole

Since the commercial inception of the utility industry in 1882 by Thomas Edison, its rugged and dangerous work environments have posed challenges. Throughout the years, utility workers have continuously battled factors, such as high voltage, toxic chemicals, towering heights, fire hazards, and extreme temperatures.

As the utility industry continues to progress, new safety considerations arise. According to a study conducted by DEKRA Organizational Safety and Reliability, a safety consulting firm, "workers in the utility industry are at an increased risk of serious injuries and fatalities (SIFs) compared to other industry workers."

Additionally, many utility companies of today face responsibilities beyond providing customers with energy. Now more than ever, utility companies are held accountable for operating responsibly to ensure their employees' safety, in addition to the general safety of the public and the environment.

The Evolving Landscape of the Utility Industry

Utility companies worldwide are currently facing challenges due to tighter C02 regulations, lack of government subsidies, customer retention, increased competition, and technological disruption. The industry's shift towards renewable energy sources has led companies to upgrade their infrastructures—optimizing operations and decreasing footprints. Unfortunately, such progression often comes at the cost of introducing new workplace hazards and complex challenges. As the utility industry continues to evolve, it is critical for safety concerns regarding personal protective equipment (PPE) to be appropriately addressed.

As the modern day utility worker continues to face new dangers on the job, updated PPE is necessary. Over the years, utility industry PPE manufacturers have developed various specialized tools and offerings to protect workers from multiple threats simultaneously.

Utility Industry PPE Standards and Guidance 

When it comes to safety in the workplace, PPE is one of the last lines of defense. Several PPE standards and guidelines must be met or exceeded to ensure workers' safety within the utility industry.

National Electrical Safety Code® (NESC®)

Many safety managers at utility companies prefer referring to NESC® for guidance. These standards set the ground rules—providing guidelines to protect utility workers and the public.

NFPA 70E®, Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace®

These standards help safety managers assess risks in the workplace. Additionally, it is a guiding resource in regards to reducing workplace fatalities and injuries due to shock.

1584-2018 - IEEE Guide for Performing Arc-Flash Hazard Calculations

This guide provides safety managers in the utility industry with the framework to determine available incident energy workers could be exposed to during their work near or on electrical equipment.

Embracing Comfortable PPE Solutions

Durable and comfortable PPE is increasingly becoming a trend within the utility industry, as PPE is historically known to be hot and irritating after prolonged use. When it comes to comfort, a one-size-fits-all approach does not suffice, as it can vary for each person.

Industry-leading manufacturers are now producing new and improved high-performance protective tools and apparel—providing utility workers exceptional PPE without compromising quality. Although safety has always been a primary focus within the utility industry, companies worldwide have recently become more committed to considering comfort as an essential component when procuring PPE.

 

We recommend the following utility industry PPE products:

Ritz Safety, a family-owned business since 1983, is here to serve you. Our 13 sales and distribution centers across the United States provide a wide array of PPE and safety solutions, promoting all workers' health, well-being, and protection. Contact us at sales@ritzsafety.com or 800-451-3077 for convenient, cost-effective, and customized utility industry PPE solutions.