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Electrical

These posts provide resources for electrical contractors, cable suppliers, construction electricians, and anyone else involved in the industry. Browse through our coverage here.

Topics

  • Why You Should Always Keep Electrical Materials Off the Floor

    During the course of a long, complex electrical installation, the fastest, easiest way to store tools and building materials is to pile them up on the floor. It may be messy, but you can’t argue with the efficiency…or can you? In fact, stacks of conduit, connectors, circuit breakers, light fixtures, and other electrical products may do more harm than you... Continue Reading
  • State-by-State Guide to NEC Adoption

    This may come as a surprise, but the National Electrical Code is not, in itself, a legally enforceable document. The National Fire Protection Association, which publishes the NEC in a document coded NFPA 70, is an international nonprofit organization; it has no authority to create laws or legally enforceable regulations. However, under state law, you probably do have to adhere... Continue Reading
  • Electrical Safety in the Forklift Battery Room

    The unique power demands of forklift battery rooms create singular electrical hazards. Electricians can’t simply cut power to the system and proceed without caution; batteries remain energized even when separated from charging systems. Additionally, unless the battery room was designed with working clearance and guarding around all live components, it can be a particularly dangerous place for workers to enter.... Continue Reading
  • Safety at the Electrical Supply Warehouse

    We spend a lot of time discussing electrical safety at the jobsite, in the home, and even in schools. But what about safety programs for the workers who make electrical systems possible? Long before electricians begin to observe their strict lockout/tagout protocols or double-check the NEC, the electrical-material supply chain is hard at work, manufacturing, storing, shipping, and distributing the... Continue Reading
  • Ergonomics for Electrical Workers

    Some electricians deride the term “ergonomics” as a meaningless buzzword, pointing out that marketers use it to describe everything from wire strippers to work boots. Other electrical contractors are always up to their elbows in the latest biomechanical research, looking for ways to save their lower backs. Either way, the fact is that ergonomics can help create a safer, more... Continue Reading
  • Workplace Electrical Safety: Setting a Baseline with Injury Statistics

    In honor of National Electrical Safety Month, we’re looking at electrical safety in the workplace throughout May. We’ll start with an examination of the current state of electrical safety, particularly as it relates to those most exposed to the risks: construction electricians themselves. You can’t figure out where you’re going until you know where you are, after all. In the... Continue Reading
  • Energy Savings for Green Warehousing Operations

    Whether you run a warehouse, a cold-storage facility, or a regional distribution center, odds are you’re pursuing aggressive sustainability goals. The fastest way to reduce your business’ carbon footprint is to invest in energy efficiency — and that doesn’t necessarily mean costly redesigns. Here are a few ways you can cut your warehouse energy bill while also contributing to a... Continue Reading
  • Green Supply Chain Management for Electricians

    It’s hard to create a more sustainable electrical firm without cleaning up the supply chain while you’re at it. But how can electricians make the move toward a green supply chain? First, of course, it’s helpful to have a working definition of “green” in the context of supply chain management in the electrical industry. According to an early paper on... Continue Reading
  • LED Retrofit Tips for Electricians

    There’s no quicker way to save on electricity costs at a commercial or industrial building than springing for a total LED retrofit job. There are plenty of great reasons to switch to LED; they can use up to 75 percent less energy than incandescent lighting. They also last 25 times longer. That’s all according to  U.S. Department of Energy. These... Continue Reading
  • Gantry Crane Disconnect: Compliance With the National Electrical Code (NEC)

    Construction electricians are occasionally called upon to install a gantry crane system. The National Electrical Code provides specific rules for such an installation in Article 610, but gantries differ from other electrical installations in one particularly surprising way. Specifically, we’re talking about disconnecting means for the power supply. The NEC is pretty clear on the subject as it pertains to... Continue Reading
  • Cable Paralleling and Other Value-Added Services for Electrical Suppliers

    What sets your electrical supply operation apart from the big online retailers? The rise of omnichannel retail and mega-e-commerce outlets means electricians can buy their cable, wire, and material handling supplies from pretty much anywhere, often at bargain-basement prices. But, as a dedicated electrical materials supplier, you have something the big companies don’t: expertise. If you can translate that expertise... Continue Reading
  • E-Commerce Strategies for Electrical Supply Companies

    Toward the end of 2018, just 42 percent of U.S. electrical distributors offered their customers an e-commerce experience. That’s according to a surprising study from credit management platform Apruve, which released a report comparing e-commerce in the electrical supply industry. Providers that operate e-commerce sites tended to be larger and more established — again, a surprise, when the narrative of... Continue Reading
  • Rising Construction Material Prices: Tips for Electrical Contractors

    Market forces have aligned to create rising construction material prices, and electrical contractors in the industry are faced with a dilemma: Do they pass those prices onto builders, and, ultimately, the customer? Or do they take the hit themselves? A handful of trends combine to create these price increases. There are the tariffs on steel and aluminum, of course. New... Continue Reading
  • Electricians and Musculoskeletal Disorders: Common Symptoms and Prevention Tips

    For electricians, musculoskeletal disorders remain a serious occupational hazard. Electrical installation teams aren’t alone with this risk; workers in most construction trades face a higher risk of work-related musculoskeletal disorders than those in other industries. Between 1992 and 2014, the rate of occupation-based musculoskeletal disorders remained higher in the construction industry than in all combined industries. This disproportionate rate of... Continue Reading
  • Building a Culture of Electrical Safety in the Construction Industry

    Electrical safety in the construction industry has been studied, argued over, and refined since Thomas Edison started burying copper wires beneath the streets of Manhattan in 1882. From the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) — which publishes NFPA 70, otherwise known as the National Electrical Code (NEC) — to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), all sorts of safety organization offer important insights into electrical safety. No matter how well a construction electrician understands the NEC or OSHA regulations, though, the key to keeping every employee safe on every jobsite is to build a culture of safety into every workplace task — especially for those who install electrical systems. Safety cultures start at the top. Everyone in a leadership... Continue Reading
  • Custom Paralleling Cable and Wire for the Commercial Construction Industry

    Cable and wire dealers frequently offer custom paralleling as a value-added service. The benefits of wire-cutting and paralleling at the point-of-purchase do look pretty good: Custom-cut lengths prevent waste, and pre-paralleled combinations of product save time during installations. Given the volume of cable and wire involved in a large building — and the code-compliance and strict scheduling you’ll find working... Continue Reading
  • The Electronic Logging Device Rule and Faster Truck Turn Times at Docks

    Pretty soon, the federal Electronic Logging Device rule that (mostly) went into effect on December 18 of last year will unleash full penalties for violations. As you’ll recall, late last year, truck drivers protested the oncoming mandate, which requires drivers to track all hours in the truck through electronic logging devices. Officials with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration hope... Continue Reading
  • Electric Forklift Fleet Costs Over Time

    If this is the year you switch to an electric forklift fleet, costs are bound to be a major topic of conversation in your office. The expense of a capital investment like a forklift fleet can’t be limited to the purchase price alone, of course. You need to consider the future costs, as well, and those can be hard to... Continue Reading
  • 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... Continue Reading
  • 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... Continue Reading
  • 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... Continue Reading
  • 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... Continue Reading
  • 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... Continue Reading
  • 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... Continue Reading