The Changing Meaning of Safety
I watched a home video recently of when my son first started riding a 2 wheel bicycle. The bike he was riding was teeny. If he ever fell, it wasn’t far to the ground. But nevertheless, he was outfitted with a helmet, elbow pads, knee pads and wrist guards. He looked like some kind of robot or SWAT team member. I think all of this padding cost more than the bike. I didn’t have quite some level of “protection” when I was first learning how to ride a bike.
When I was young, we had a VW Bug with a peel-back convertible roof when my sisters and I were still young. My dad would drive us around town with our three heads sticking out of the roof. He would likely be arrested for child endangerment today….
Our views on safety certainly have changed over the years. I think all states have seat belt laws now and every car has airbags. Have you seen the number of WARNING and CAUTION labels on a ladder lately?
The meaning of “safety” in the electrical world has been changing, too. OSHA guidelines are getting tighter. NEC/NFPA rules are getting more restrictive, not less. For example, code now calls for GFCI protection for anyone operating a power tool on an outdoor jobsite. Worker safety is more important today than it ever has been.
We here at Woodhead have been making products to keep workers safe for many, many years. We have been providing products like explosion proof lighting, Watertite© wiring devices, boxes and faceplates for a long time. But we have to keep developing new products and fine tuning others to keep up with the new safety rules and regulations, and to meet our customers’ new definitions of “worker safety”. For example, we now offer more GFCI products than we ever have, including new 30A versions and split and 3 phase products. GFCI enabled outlet boxes are now available. More products that are designed to keep workers safe are planned and will be available soon.
Importantly, we offer a safety training course to help our distributors and end-users understand what the new code says and how code changes affect job site and plant safety. In addition, we show photos of applications that don’t meet code (and can be dangerous) and provide guidance on how to fix them and bring them into compliance.
Because our customers are now more interested in worker safety and meeting the latest codes, we created a website focusing just on safety. You can find this site here: Extreme Safety. This site includes code information, detailed safety product specifications and videos on electrical safety topics. You can even sign up to receive information on the aforementioned safety training. We will be updating this site regularly with product and code updates.
As codes and customers’ expectations change, so will we.