Working in energy and utilities is no small task. As a part of this industry, you are required to respond to demands from both public and private external organizations. Additionally, it is your responsibility to avoid service interruption to the public and to perform repairs/maintenance to create as little downtime as possible. In such a high-pressure job, it’s no wonder that energy and utility workers are at high risk for on-the-job injuries.
If your company primarily performs energy and utilities work, then you may be asked by your hiring client to become certified — probably with Avetta®. Certification for energy and utility workers is common in the US, although other countries are adopting these requirements as well. Keep reading to learn about the dangers of energy and utilities work, and the safety programs you may need for your certification process.
Risks of Energy and Utilities Work
Energy and utilities work often occurs in facilities that are operated by either a private or public organization. The maintenance of these facilities can be neglectful — energy and utility workers may have to navigate through aging infrastructure, mold, or lead to perform their work.
Due to the nature of energy and utilities work, paired with the environment in which this work takes place, workers frequently face the following risks:
- Struck-by accidents
- Caught-in and caught-between accidents
- Exposure to contaminants
- Hazardous weather
- Musculoskeletal disorders due to awkward postures, repetition, vibration, and poorly designed tools
Luckily, there are many things that your company can do to decrease these risks and protect your employees from on-the-job injuries.
Safety Programs for Energy and Utilities Workers
There are many safety programs that you can adapt to your company to protect your employees. At Industrial Compliance & Safety, we will look at the specifications of your hiring client, the nature of your work, and the regulations of OSHA to write a series of custom safety programs for your company. Here are some of the most common safety programs required for energy and utility work:
- Environmental awareness
- Asbestos safety
- Fall protection
- Fire prevention and awareness
- Storm/hazardous weather responsiveness
- Mold safety
Do I Need New Energy and Utilities Safety Programs?
If you’ve never been certified (with Avetta® or a similar pre-qualification service), then you might not have a formal compilation of safety programs for your company. You may have an informal checklist for training new employees, or you might teach on the job, as workers encounter new materials and tools. If this is the case, then you should consider writing safety programs for your company.
Written safety programs ensure that every employee knows how to handle materials and tools safely. On the other hand, disorganized safety training leads to inattentive employee behavior — which eventually leads to workplace accidents.
If you are already certified and have safety programs, then you will be notified if one of your clients requests a new or updated safety program. However, you don’t need to wait for your client to act before revamping your safety training. It is always a good idea to re-evaluate your safety programs after a workplace accident or near-miss. Additionally, it is a good idea to refresh your employees’ memories and offer retraining for various safety practices every 6 months - year.