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Electrical

Year-End Budget Planning: Invest in Electrical Equipment

As the year draws to a close, growing companies may find that they still have the budget for a capital investment or two. The end of the year is a great time to invest in new equipment to make the coming year more productive. Any operation that depends on electrical work, whether that’s in the construction industry, the electrical supply business, or for-hire electrical contracting, has a unique end-of-year opportunity to build an “electrical equipment wish list.” You might already have the tools you need to work to get by, but who couldn’t use a productivity boost? Here are a few pieces of electrical equipment that can make the job much easier for contractors as well as supply houses: Conduit…more

Electrician Safety in Cold Outdoor Environments

Electrical contractors can’t simply pack up and wait out the winter weather; eventually, electricians just have to work in the cold. Extreme temperatures create special hazards, especially for electricians, and staying safe in the depths of winter requires special efforts on the part of employers and employees alike. The Occupational Safety and Health Association breaks down their safety rules for working in cold and snow into three categories: plan, equip, and train. Here’s what that means for electricians working outside on a freezing Midwestern or Northern day: Employers should invest in engineering controls to help limit the risk. As you know if you’ve read any of our previous entries on ergonomics, “engineering controls” are the most powerful way to keep…more

Measuring Electrical Conduit Sizes at the Job Site

For electricians, pulling cable is only half the job. Before they can even begin installing the cabling, they have to create vast networks of electrical conduit. Electricians typically run multiple cables through a single raceway, so it’s vital that they know how much space is available inside the duct. That isn’t always apparent at a glance. The trade sizes of rigid metal electrical conduit don’t always correspond exactly to actual inside diameter. Even worse, bundles of conduit can arrive on-site unlabeled, and it isn’t easy to tell the difference between 1.25- and 1.5-inch conduit with the naked eye. For instance, according to online resource the Engineering ToolBox: 5-inch metal conduit actually has an inside diameter of 0.622 inches. The inside…more

Ergonomic Solutions for Electrical Contractors

The risk of shock isn’t the only occupational hazard that electrical contractors face on a daily basis. Like many construction trades, electrical work is full of ergonomic hazards that can cause serious injuries. Spools of wire, bundles of conduit, and tools themselves can cause significant stress on muscles when workers try to lift them. In fact, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has called lifting heavy items “one of the leading causes of injury in the workplace.” Two factors typically play into a musculoskeletal disorder caused by working in the electrical industry: overexertion and cumulative tissue damage. Avoid both risk factors with these simple ergonomic tips: Use a forklift to lift and transport the heaviest materials on the job. These…more

The Ergonomics Sandbox: A New Way to Prevent Musculoskeletal Injuries in the Workplace

In 2013, a major tire manufacturer was facing a familiar problem. Too many employees were being injured on the job. This wasn’t a case of faulty processes or malfunctioning equipment. The simple fact was that staff members were working in conditions that made certain injuries inevitable. The plant in question hadn’t yet enacted ergonomics reforms, and the nature of the job involved working with large, heavy, and awkward structures. Every time a worker lifted an object, they increased the risk of developing a musculoskeletal disorder. Toward the end of 2013, safety officers at a plant in Fayetteville, North Carolina instituted a new ergonomics drive. The “Push, Pull, Lift” campaign was designed just to train workers on safe techniques for common…more

Solving the Forklift Battery Room Power Puzzle

A lot of disparate pieces go into an efficient battery charging area, especially when it comes to power distribution. Facilities should be free to add and remove chargers whenever they need to, without the expense and delay of bringing in electricians for every change. Wouldn’t it be great if you could just plug in a forklift battery charger like a lamp? Simplifying charger installation creates a flexible, hassle-free battery room, and saves considerably on electrician’s fees — which brings us to our next point. Managing the Forklift Battery Charging Budget Let’s start with the most important piece of the battery room power puzzle: your budget. Hard-wiring a battery room is a huge job for a hired electrician, and that huge…more

Electrical Distribution for Forklift Battery Rooms

Every battery room has distinctive power requirements, but these can change as operations grow. Don’t just wire the charging areas for your current needs; plan ahead for future changes — or, even better, ongoing expansion. Powering The Fleet’s Power Source Think of the battery charging area as the power source for your entire forklift fleet. In a way, charging systems are simply efficient pathways for power to get from the grid into each and every lift truck. When you think about it like that, it’s easy to picture the volume of electricity you’ll need to plan for. Of course, you don’t just need to power your chargers — you’ll also need to provide electricity for ventilation systems, battery handling equipment,…more