At Fluke, customer safety is our top priority. When you’re dealing with electrical safety, the quality of your tools is important because it could be what stands between you and electric shock. However, workplace safety goes beyond just the tool in your hand. For the second year, Fluke sent out a survey, asking electricians and electrical workers to weigh in on the culture of safety in their workplace today.
Table of contents
- COVID-19 impacts
- Culture of safety
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- Electrical safety index
Conducted at the beginning of 2021, this survey gathered information from 511 electrical workers. Given the timing of this survey, we asked about the impact of COVID-19 on the industries. While this survey also covers the same areas asked about in previous years, addressing how the workforce was hit by the pandemic is an important factor in the data for the year’s survey.
Of the responses gathered, 90% of respondents were considered essential workers during the pandemic. 85% of those individuals felt they were able to continue working safely during the lockdown.
However, now that we’ve been dealing with the impacts of COVID-19 for more than a year, electrical workers haven’t seen an increase in how their companies are approaching safety. Only 38% of respondents believed safety is being taken more seriously since the pandemic.
Workplace culture of safety
Similar to last years’ survey, in 2021 98% of respondents agree that a strong culture of safety is important in keeping workers safe. But only 38% believe that most companies have a strong culture of safety, leaving 96% of those same people saying there is still room to improve electrical safety within the workplace.
In the 2020 survey, 99% of respondents said a strong culture of safety is important, but 44% said there was a strong culture of safety in most companies. Last year, 99% of respondents said there was an opportunity to improve electrical safety in the workplace.
Building a culture of safety
Only 25% of respondents believe most companies provide adequate safety training. In this survey, that leave 371 electrical workers saying they strongly disagree, disagree, or remained neutral on companies providing enough safety training.
According to OSHA, out of 4,779 worker fatalities in the private industry in year 2018, 8.5% of those deaths were caused by electrocution. Taking a look at past statistics as well as the information this survey brought to light, Chuck Pettinger, Ph.D. a safety expert at Predictive Solutions, suggested a three-step method to create a culture of safety within your organization.
1. Set up a training program
- Take the time to train everyone regularly so that the information is always fresh in every employee’s mind.
2. Get workers engaged in safety
- Make safety meetings interactive so workers become a part of the safety program instead of zoning out during training sessions.
3. Change how you communicate about safety
- How you talk about safety sets the tone within your company. Managers should show that the rules are about caring for employees by using possible unsafe actions as teachable moments.
In 2020 when Fluke conducted this survey, nearly 50% responded saying someone else was responsible for their safety on the job. In 2020, this didn’t change. 48% of respondents believed the worker was responsible for their own safety, leaving 52% saying someone else, like company leadership, safety managers, supervisors, or HR.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Continuing the trend seen in the rest of the survey, in 2021, 82% of respondents said electricians skip the safety step of putting on the right PPE for their environments. When this survey was conducted in 2020, 85% said they skipped this step because it’s inconvenient.
Both the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) and the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) lay out rules and regulations for using PPE around electrical equipment. NFPA 70E documents what levels of PPE to wear in the different workplace situations you’ll find yourself in. Following the robust PPE guidelines and regulations around jobsite safety can help ensure your own safety in case of an arc flash.
Electrical safety index
- 4,779 worker fatalities in 2018
- 86 (8.5%) number of electrocution fatalities in 2018
- 5-10 arc fault incidents in the U.S each day
- 1 out of 3 electrical workers has experienced arc flash
- 95.9% say a strong culture of safety in the workplace is important to keep workers safe
- 61.8% believe most companies do not have a strong culture of safety
- 52% of workers believe someone other than themselves is responsible for safety
- 82% believe electricians skip using PPE because it’s inconvenient