Organizations are facing a perfect storm when it comes to electrical safety due to 3 factors:
- Budget Constraints
- Retiring Electricians
- Skilled Trade Shortage
Does this scenario sound familiar?
Budgets have been constrained for years (most recently due to COVID), and it’s been harder and harder for Operations and Facilities teams to keep up with the workload. Every year they fall further behind on maintaining critical information about their electrical assets – such as single line diagrams, arc flash data and lockout points. While this has caused frustration and inconvenience, so far organizations have been able to get by by relying on the experience of their mature work force – and the know-how they’ve gained through years of servicing the vast electrical infrastructure.
But as those electricians retire over the next few years, all that know-how leaves with them. In a perfect world, there would be knowledge transfer from the retiring workers to the new hires. But the reality is that knowledge transfer rarely happens (see above lack of budget).
This situation is made worse by the skilled trade shortage. One report showed that more than 700,000 workers in the skilled trades are expected to retire by 2028. – meaning new electricians will be younger and with much less experience. In many cases, organizations will have trouble even hiring electricians and will need to rely on contractors who have little or no knowledge or experience with the facilities.
The result will be:
- Inefficiency – for your operations
- as every task takes longer when the staff electrician or contractor needs to spend more time finding whatever information they can about the equipment
- Reduced Reliability – for your community
- since the lack of information and experience means longer outages and more downtime
- Greater Safety Risk – for staff and contractors
- due to missing or incorrect information about critical items like lockout points and arc flash
Experts say that the solution is to move from an experience-based model (where you rely on worker’s know-how) to a data driven model (where that know-how is documented). This only works if you actually have the data which, in many cases, you probably don’t! And there is simply never enough time to go around and capture the information (see above lack of budget).
This is where a solution like e-WorkSAFE can help. Electricians use the e-WorkSAFE mobile app to do Job Safety Assessments before each task to ensure they’re working safely. The same app can be used to quickly capture knowledge about electrical assets.
…An electrician servicing a breaker and when they de-energizing the panel, they note the disconnect ID, location and take a photo.
…An experienced electrician servicing a panel and quickly dictating a short voice-note into the app capturing that “trick” they’ve learned about this panel over the years. No need to type, just talk.
From then on, that knowledge is available every time anyone works on these assets.
e-WorkSAFE ensures that your staff and contractors Work SAFE by complying with CSA Z462 for all electrical tasks and Work SMART by capturing critical knowledge. Thus, allowing your organization to weather the perfect storm.
For more information on e-WorkSAFE, please visit eworksafe.ca.