According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, fatal injuries on the job decreased in 2020 for the first time in seven years—but the number of deaths caused by electricity stayed relatively constant from 2016 to 2020 at an average of 148 deaths per year. An upcoming ISRI webinar aims to minimize the recycling industry’s contribution to those statistics.

Introduction of Electrical Safe Work Practices for the Recycling Industry, from 2 to 4 p.m. EDT April 12, provides an overview of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirements to be considered a qualified electrical worker specifically for the recycling industry. Basics of the class include performing job briefings, assessing hazards and risks, controlling the hazard with lockout/tagout procedures, and wearing proper personal protective equipment. Options to find arc flash (an explosive burst of heat and light traveling through air) hazards and understanding how to use National Fire Protection Association 70E standards also are on the schedule.

Lee Marchessault, president of Williston, Vt.-based Workplace Safety Solutions, is the featured speaker. Marchessault has more than 40 years’ experience in the electric utility industry. He has held positions including apprentice power plant operator, meter specialist, high-voltage electrician 1st class, and environmental, health, and safety (EHS) manager.

“ISRI is excited to be able to host this safety webinar with Lee Marchessault as the presenter,” says Jerry Sjogren, ISRI’s senior director of safety. “Lee is one of the nation’s premier experts in the electrical safety field. We are fortunate to bring his level of knowledge and expertise to the ISRI membership.”

After completing his four-year electrical apprenticeship program, Marchessault studied electrical engineering and obtained degrees with concentrations in business administration, behavioral psychology, and communications. He is now a safety consultant with many utilities and general industry in- and outside the U.S.

“There are essentially two sources of fatalities and injuries for electrical workers,” Marchessault states. “First, direct or indirect electrical shock, which essentially requires contact with an energized conductive part. Second, an arc flash incident that causes burns resulting from high-incident energy created by a ground fault or short circuit.” Fully half of electricity related serious injuries and fatalities are caused by direct or indirect contact with powerlines, he says.

Each company has unique circumstances with trained and qualified workers. The webinar will cover basics of protecting workers, avoiding unnecessary risks, and simple fixes in and around facilities that can aid safety. The webinar is free for ISRI members and $219 for nonmembers.

“ISRI is committed to bringing the best possible health and safety education and training to our members at all levels of management, operations, transportation, and maintenance,” Sjogren says. Register for Introduction of Electrical Safe Work Practices for the Recycling Industry here.

Photo courtesy of Troy Bridges on Unsplash. Caption: The impact of not doing electrical maintenance on a regular basis can cause significant damage to infrastructure with high-cost downtime–more importantly, it may seriously injure employees.