OSHA and NFPA talk about setting up a qualified electrical worker program but what exactly does that mean? How do we get there? And what training is needed? TPC Trainco Electrical Instructor Mike Leitzel guides us through setting up your own QEW program at your facility and answers your questions to keep your employees safe.

Video Transcription

Mike: Good morning everybody. Thanks for joining me this morning. Hopefully, we'll have a productive discussion here regarding establishing a qualified electrical worker program. In my safety talks, I find that this is a very popular topic of discussion. Everyone is usually fully aware of these determinations, these assessments need to be made, but frequently, a very involved topic of discussion is, well, under what criteria, you know, what method am I use to determine, you know, whether or not this person meets the ingredients, you know, the demand for being a qualified worker? And understandably so, I mean, it is a very fluid task, you're trying to determine whether or not this person meets the requirements with so many varied demands.

But that being said, I guess I should introduce myself. My name is Mike Leitzel. I've been a Trainco Instructor here, five, six, or seven years now. I've been full-time for several years, but I was a contractor for several years before that. And I've had about 20, 22 years experience in the electrical trade in some way shape of form. Like I said, thank you for joining me and I'm going to try and do my best to answer as many of your questions and address as many concerns as I can. TPC Trainco, for those of you that may not be all that familiar with us, we have several different divisions that can serve needs rather well on helping companies address some of these requirements that are being handed out through various entities and certain standards that need to be met.

TPC Trainco is the one that I'm affiliated with, is a very successful provider of technical training, industrial training, safety training and such. And very successful at meeting the needs of various customers in a wide variety of fields. TPC online is another venue that we're really expanding in. In many ways, it's the 21st century version of training. You know, the technological advances that we've made, as a society, are really opening doors and opening ways that we can reach very large and widely varied audiences. And we're definitely looking forward to a much more successful moving forward in that venue. TPC consulting services, very convenient for a lot of customers, a lot of industries, that have us come in and serve as consulting subject-matter experts, help address site-specific concerns or issues that companies just not 100% sure how to address or how to move forward from.

And when you have these many people...you know, Trainco is a rather sizable company with a lot of expert instructors with varying levels and many, many years of experience at the available call. It's nice to be able to have that pool of experience to draw on to helps companies solve some of their problems. And also, TPC iSchematic is a very exciting offering that allows us to come into a facility and come up with some rather detailed hyper accurate drawings and processes in order to facilitate a much more successful maintenance and troubleshooting program within these facilities. It's a very successful program that is, once again, going to really open doors, moving forward.

That being said, the reason why we're here is this pesky little term right here. If you have any familiarity with this document, that this entire discussion is based on, the NFPA 70E document. This term rears its ugly head quite frequently throughout this document. A qualified person is necessary in order to perform this process or only qualified persons are allowed within this area or within this boundary, so on and so forth. And this is the basis for so many ongoing questions that I get from students, from supervisors, from company owners. What is the criteria for determining, you know, whether someone is qualified? Well, if you just look at the definition here, "One who has demonstrated skills and knowledge related to the construction and operation of the electrical equipment." If we just stop right there, that in and of itself is a mouthful.

Well, how much knowledge? You know, where does the knowledge come from or where is it required to come from? How do I know if the knowledge this person claims to have or the knowledge that they so obviously are able to provide proof of, through the things that as a supervisor I've seen them perform in the past, how do I know if what I'm seeing is indicative of an adequate amount of knowledge? I mean, this is a difficult definition to address when it comes to qualifying somebody. The term "demonstrated skills" in of itself has to be defined as far as what they're looking at, as far as what skills and how have they been and when have they been demonstrated. All that being said, you move into the other half of the definition and now we're looking at, you know, has the worker also received safety training to identifying to avoid the hazards involved?

The demanding part of that is the fact that it is specific safety training, and not just knowledge to avoid this hazard and not to do this and not to do that, so on and so forth. There is very specific information that is required to be part of this accepted or recognized safety training that, you know, each of the so called qualified persons are required to have. Well, we'll go through some of these ingredients here, as we proceed forward.