Gas, Water and Power Utilities Safety Products
Checkers manufactures the world’s most extensive and versatile line of safety equipment for utility applications including industrial cable protection, wheel chocks, warning whips, and vehicle beacons. These utility safety products comply with industry safety requirements and they ensure a safe working environment in areas where high volumes of pedestrian and vehicle traffic are present. Our safety products are engineered in collaboration with utility safety managers to work with a wide range of equipment and vehicles for a wide range of applications. All Checkers products are built from high-quality lightweight materials that allow for easy setup, disassembly, transport, and storage.
The utility industry is essential to our economy, though it is also one of the most high-risk industries for employees. Each day on the job involves handling heavy equipment, dangerous products, and long hours which can quickly turn into a nightmare.
Understand the dangers specific to each sector of the industry and how employers can reduce risk and encourage safety procedures.
Utility Industry Safety and Compliance
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about two percent of employees in the utility industry suffer job-related injuries. While workplace safety has significantly improved in the past century, numerous government agencies such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) strives to raise the bar in safety standards and reduce accidents.
Following OSHA procedures have proven to be effective at reducing accidents, though education and compliance still have room to improve. James Grant, the vice president of business development for DEKRA Insight, explains that most injuries in the utility workplace are due to obvious dangers and involve one or several violations of OSHA standards. For example, a worker may arrive on-site ready to work only to realize that they forgot some protective equipment. Rather than returning to retrieve it, they may start on the job and ultimately become injured.
Therefore, compliance and enforcement have become the main focus of the industry. A large part of this must come from each employer, and supervisors should be diligent on the job and promote safer work practices. Using decision trees, the process of considering all possible outcomes for every action is another way that supervisors can encourage utility compliance and a safer work environment.
Educating employees on the dangers of safety violations is another way to encourage compliance. OSHA offers a number of workplace compliance courses in multiple languages that employers can purchase for their employees. These courses range from half a day to four days long. Investing in employees should be a priority for every employer as it will help eliminate worker compensation costs and create an improved workplace experience.
Power and Electric Industry Safety
OSHA heavily regulates the power and electrical sector of the utility industry due to the substantial danger that is common in plants.
Electrocution is one of the most common issues with electric utility equipment, though trip and fall accidents, fires and explosions, and even confined working spaces have contributed to numerous fatalities in plants.
In addition to OSHA, the U.S. Department of Energy provides regulations to improve electric utility safety while the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) assesses radioactivity and regulates each plant’s ecological footprint on the environment.
Water and Sewer Construction Safety
Several state programs approved by OSHA regulate the water utility safety. For each state program to pass inspection, the regulations must be as effective as OSHA at protecting workers and reducing job-related injuries.
Respiratory protection is one of the biggest challenges for water and sewer construction workers, and it can lead to health problems such as Silicosis, Mesothelioma, Asbestosis, and other diseases.
Hazardous chemicals are another challenge to water and sewer construction workers. Incorrectly labeling chemicals can lead to disastrous results for both workers and the environment. Therefore, chemicals are heavily regulated by both the EPA’s Risk Management Program and Process Safety Management (PSM) program, which is also regulated by OSHA.
Natural Gas Pipeline Construction Compliance
Pipeline construction is one of the most high-risk construction jobs and the leading cause of injury is fire and explosion. Statistics show that gas pipelines explode once every 11 days, and a fire occurs once every four days. The aftermath of a gas line construction explosion can affect hundreds of people, so it's no surprise that this industry is heavily regulated.
The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration is an office within the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) that regulates each project's working conditions and provides educational resources for employers in the pipeline construction sector. For interstate projects, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission monitors the transportation and storage of gas.
Safety Equipment for the Utilities Industry
One of the best ways employers can reduce accidents is by creating a safe working environment that complies with OSHA standards.
Among all industries, trip and fall accidents are among the leading causes of injuries and OSHA emphasizes providing the right equipment as part of their three-pronged approach to reducing accidents.
For example, all walkways should be equipped with cable protectors or hooks to reduce trip and fall accidents and prevent cord damage. Our cable protection series offers a variety of options that can secure up to 1.325-inch cables and withstand up to 68,000 pounds per axle. The Yellow Jacket and Linebacker series offer heavy-duty support while the Guard Dog offers a lighter solution with medium-duty support to handle pedestrian and lightweight vehicle crossing.
If you choose to secure hoses and cables overhead, be sure to use durable hooks that comply with OSHA regulations, such as our Quick Hook, which can hold up to 80 pounds of cable.
Providing secure ground matting is another way to reduce trip and fall accidents caused by unsafe surfaces. We offer a variety of different mats, many of which can be managed by just two people and hold up to 120 tons. Not only do these mats improve footing for your employees, but they also help protect the construction area.
Vehicle safety is another concern in the utility industry, and installing proper chalks behind vehicles can reduce accidents. We offer three different lines of utility vehicle chocks. The Heavy-Duty Wheel Chocks are built for industrial vehicles, the Urethane General-Purpose Wheel Chocks are ideal for pickup trucks, and the All-Terrain Wheel Chocks ideal for large utility vehicles, mining vehicles, and firefighter trucks. All of them are durable, lightweight, and equipped with an unbeatable grip.
All lines are made of lightweight polyurethane material and resistant to oils, fuels, and other solvents that could destroy non-industrial chocks.
By investing in a safe work environment, you'll not only be able to slash worker compensation costs and reduce reporting, but you'll also improve company culture by showing your team that you care about their safety and wellbeing.Related Reading