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Completing an apprenticeship to become an electrician is an excellent vocational choice. It’s a well-respected trade that offers an attractive salary, includes a wide variety of work environments, and sees a great demand for services from residential, commercial, and industrial clients across the country.

Unfortunately, it is also a fairly high-risk profession. Over 150 electrical workers are killed in their workplace each year, and many more are seriously injured. However, these figures are significantly lower than in previous decades, largely due to the focus on safety training within the electrical industry.

Before you begin your career as an electrician, it’s vital to undertake adequate safety training. Here are three essential safety courses that will minimize your risk of injury or death in the workplace.

1. Arc Flash Safety

An arc flash occurs when an electrical current diverts from its expected path and travels either through the air or to the ground. The result is a surge of energy that only last a second but produces temperatures
up to 35,000°F, a 140 decibel sound blast, and an explosion of molten metal shards. If you’re close to an arc flash when it happens, you could be in grave danger.

Despite many safety initiatives to prevent arc flash incidents, between five and ten arc flashes still occur every day across the United States. Learning how to understand why they occur, how to prevent them, and
what safety equipment can minimize your risk of arc flash injury in high-risk situations is vital.

2. Asbestos Safety

Although asbestos hasn’t been used in the construction industry for around 30 years, it is still present in many buildings around the country. Asbestos is so dangerous because when it’s broken, drilled into, or removed it releases small fibers which may enter the airways. These fibers lodge in the lungs and can cause deadly lung disease and cancer.

Electricians are at a considerable risk of asbestos exposure, since it’s used in many older products to insulate and house electrical wiring. Additionally, the job often involves drilling into wall cavities, which may contain hidden asbestos. Training to identify material that contains asbestos, conduct an asbestos risk assessment, and safely handle and remove asbestos will help reduce your risk of asbestos exposure.

3. Confined Space Safety

The very nature of electrical work often involves installing wiring and devices in small spaces such as conduits, cavities, and crawl spaces. For any profession, working in confined spaces can be difficult, and it
can also be dangerous without the right safety training. These spaces often contain gas pipes, water pipes, and waste disposal pipes as well, which are all potentially lethal when mixed with electricity.

Safety training for confined spaces generally involves learning how to quickly and accurately identify potential danger points. It also teaches you how to dispose of gas if it leaks into the confined space and how to escape from and rescue other works from a confined space if an incident should occur.

Working with electricity is an exciting and challenging profession that appeals to those who have a passion for electronics, technology, and providing a vital service to their community. Learning the technical aspects of the trade is very important, but knowing how to keep yourself and those around you safe is equally important.

Independent Electrical Contractors of Greater Cincinnati offer all three of these safety courses, along with many others. Whether you’re currently an apprentice, already working as a qualified electrician, or simply thinking about starting your training, the IEC can help you to get the training and qualifications you need to be a safe and knowledgeable electrical professional.