Electrical Contracting Foundation Goes Public with Research to Protect Line Workers


The Electrical Contracting Foundation (ECF), the primary research arm of the National Electrical Contractors Assn. (NECA), is undertaking research—expected to conclude in 2006—for the development of an ANSI-approved industry standard defining best practices for protecting ground workers performing construction and maintenance work on electric transmission and distribution systems.

Because protective techniques for workers aloft on transmission structures (poles) and in bucket trucks are better understood, these aren’t within the scope of the current ECF research effort. The research will only deal with protecting ground workers from the electric shock hazards of overhead line work.

Underground T&D construction presents different safety challenges and will not be directly addressed. However, the current study is expected to yield results that may be applicable to high-voltage construction and maintenance work in power plant yards, substations and industrial installations.

Field testing on electrical hazards and mitigation techniques will begin next month at a Kansas City Power & Light facility. Testing is planned for a number of locations around the country because varying soil conditions, customary work practices, climate conditions and utility power system configurations around the country affect the degree of primary shock hazard to ground workers.

There are close ties between the ECF research project and another major line industry safety initiative, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Transmission and Distribution Strategic Safety Partnership. NECA is involved in both efforts, along with major line constructors and other stakeholders. Accident data generated by the OSHA Partnership will be used in the ECF research project.

For more information go to www.electri21.org .

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