Why Safety Training Makes the Difference

By Perry A. Kuznar, PE
Client Services Manager

Another Tuesday

Another Tuesday. You kiss your spouse and holler to the kids to be good. You give the dog a quick pat on the head and out the door to work you go…never to return!  Three hours later, you reach out to check a system you are working on. There is a sudden flash and deafening zap. You suffer fatal injuries. Your family will never see you again. Your dog will wonder when you are coming home-it will never know what happened. Just another Tuesday.

Accidents never take a day off. They do not care if it is an exciting weekend or business-as-usual weekday. They can strike when you least expect them. That is why safety training can make the difference and bring you home.

Close Call


Right out of college, I worked for a combination electric/gas utility as a Gas Operations Engineer. My duties included surveying corrosion protection systems for gas distribution pipelines. One system crossed a river on a train bridge. You guessed it! I walked out onto the bridge to check a connection. To say the approaching train horn startled me would be a gross understatement. I literally had to run back toward the approaching train to get off the track the fastest way available. I could see the headline on the news: “Engineer Hit by Train.”  I still shudder about that one.

When I passed the torch to the new engineer, I did bring up my train experience. Why?  So, he would be aware of that real danger and make proper decisions accordingly.

When I moved up into the meter test department, I met all the in-house and field meter testers. There was a guy who always wore long sleeves, with his shirt buttoned up. One day I got a closer look and saw he was heavily scarred on his exposed neck and arms. I later asked my boss about him. He was burned while testing a metering installation at a production plant. I did not understand the cause at the time, but now know he was an arc flash victim. In an instant he went from whole to severely injured.

And Then…

Power Line Inspection

No matter where you work, you get to know the people you work with. I traveled many days of the week from my down-town office to the service center to meet with others involved in work I was responsible for. I would see the linemen, relay specialists, mechanics and technicians working on equipment or loading up and getting out to the job sites. It was hustle-bustle, with burly linemen razzing the techs and supervisors giving good-natured retorts back.

One day I walked into the center and was stunned by the silence. Grown men were crying with their heads down, their ashen faces telling a grim story without saying a word. The receptionist turned and whispered that one of the linemen had just been electrocuted. At that moment, a collective family lost a husband, father, son, friend, and colleague. It hit everyone hard!

All these years later, when a coworker of the victim is reminded of that day, the loss still stings. The grief of the spouse and young kids is still fresh. That sick feeling never leaves a person.

A Reminder is Good Insurance

Reminder Post It

Our company employs many diverse people working in areas that can be considered hazardous. It could be a utility substation or a fast-paced production facility.

As time passes, even stressful jobs become routine. That is when it is most dangerous. When it is “business as usual”.  When you are on “auto pilot”. That is why it is crucial to break that routine cycle and get your safety training updated on a regular basis.

The primary reason for electrical safety training is to keep workers safe while working on or around electrically energized equipment. It is also one step employers of electrical workers must take to comply with OSHA and NFPA70e standards.

For most people, it is also a needed wake-up call to pay attention to your surroundings and what you are doing. It could save your life!

Listen to Rick!

Rick Sperl

Rick Sperl is Excel Engineering’s lead safety trainer. He has been in the commercial & industrial electric space for over 35 years. True to form, he has also been an electric guitarist most of his life!

Rick knows electric safety. He lives it and has been accident-free because he respects the dangers involved. When a company hires Excel Engineering to conduct safety training at their facility, they get a passionate advocate in Rick. He keeps people engaged. They leave the training with a renewed fervor to be safe. They do not just check a box.

“It is always a good time to update your safety training.  New staff need it.  Existing staff benefit.
But the very best time to do it is right after your facility conducts an updated Arc Flash study.
Why?  Things change!  That study updates the electrical danger levels throughout your facility.
Everyone should know what those dangers are and where they are.” – Rick Sperl

Electrical Safety Training: One Size Does Not Fit All

There are different training programs for diverse groups within a facility:

  • 2 Hour Safety Awareness Course (for everyone in your facility)
  • 4 Hour Refresher Course (an 8-hour course refresher)
  • 8 Hour Comprehensive Course (for those new to the trade)

All courses follow the NFPA70e and OSHA training directives.

Now is the Time to Schedule Your Electrical Safety Training

Click here now to submit your request for an electrical safety training proposal.  It is easy and takes just a couple minutes.


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