Risk increases the longer preventive maintenance is delayed. While it’s easy to focus on mechanical maintenance, electrical components also need attention in order to prevent problems from arising and to avoid dangerous electrical hazards. When electrical maintenance is ignored, any problems could result in longer periods of downtime, reduced or lost productivity and an increase in the price of repairs.
Accident and injury avoidance
In 2020 – the most recent data released by ESFI* – 2220 non-fatal electrical injuries occurred in the U.S., which was a 17% increase over 2019. Fatalities were down, though, with 126 fatal workplace electrical injuries (a 24% decrease from 2019).
Leaving the electrical maintenance to qualified electrical workers (QEW) or licensed electricians is a must; with properly trained workers handling the preventive maintenance, troubleshooting, and repairs to electrical systems, the chance of electrical faults, downtime, and accidents will be reduced.
Proper planning will not only protect your personnel from electrical accidents, but also protects your facility. As such, a plan to prevent problems from arising is one of the most important steps to a comprehensive electrical safety program.
How to get started
- Ensure all of the tools necessary for preventive electrical maintenance are available and functional. Calibrate your voltmeter every 1-2 years to ensure that preventive maintenance won’t suffer.
- Create a plan for onboarding new employees and ensuring that those working on electrical systems complete courses to become a qualified electrical worker or maintain electrical licenses.
- Make a list of components that are critical to safe operation of your facility and make those the highest priority for preventive maintenance. Schedule less crucial components at longer intervals.
- Create documentation and checklists for your maintenance team to follow and ensure the correct team members understand your documentation before they begin any preventive maintenance procedures.
- Establish a storage area for all maintenance documentation and keep back ups in case of an emergency. If possible, store these documents electronically to ensure that if an emergency arises, those documents won’t be lost.
All electrical maintenance programs need to include these steps
- Always perform the proper Lockout/Tagout procedure prior to working on electrical components.
- Examine all enclosure panels and doors for damage and proper functionality
- Check grounding and bonding on electrical circuits so that current has a return path, which helps to prevent surges and arcing.
- Check for frays, broken ground pins, damage to insulation. Clean all insulation and contacts.
- Check bolts and other fasteners for rust or corrosion and replace if needed.
- Ensure that there is no moisture on electrical components and panels. If you find moisture, search for the source in order to prevent condensation or leaks from damaging components and causing safety hazards.
- Use a voltmeter and electrical schematic to confirm that every component is maintaining correct voltage for its rating and design. Record measured voltages as part of your maintenance checklist so it’s easier to identify trends before they become problems.
Of course, this is not a complete list of the tasks that should be completed for proper electrical maintenance. When developing a preventive maintenance plan, levy the skills of a licensed electrician to recommend maintenance intervals or check out this course on maintenance fundamentals if your maintenance staff comprises qualified electrical workers instead of licensed electricians.
How we can help
Need to brush up on your electrical skills or train new personnel? Here are a few courses we recommend for learning how to complete electrical procedures and handle componentry properly and safely:
Electrical Troubleshooting (eLearning)
Industrial Fundamentals (instructor-led)
Basic Electrical Training for Non-electricians (instructor-led)
Electrical Troubleshooting & Preventative Maintenance (instructor-led)
Advanced Electrical Troubleshooting (instructor-led)