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How do you protect outdoor electrical cables?

Contributor:  La Flèche CableSafe®

Electrical safety and usage of safe electric cables outdoor is as significant as it is in-door. Cables are protected so that they are able to sustain in detrimental conditions and outdoor environment. Protection is primarily needed from external influences like mechanical damage, temperature, water and other such factors. Nonetheless, the electric cables should be protected in such a way that it allow continued passage of electricity. Assurance of safe work environment requires strong and durable protection against any electrical hazards, and to achieve it cables must be able to handle voltage safely and insulation must be tough enough for the environment. Furthermore, the connections must be reliable and cable guard covers can be used to provide protection against external environmental factors.

In working environments, the cables run across the path of vehicles and pedestrians increasing the risk factor. To prevent accidents, cable and hose protectors can be used which are suitable for all type of industries including construction sites and traffic signals. In large work areas where heavy machinery and tools are used, loose cables can create a trip hazard and cause fatalities or injuries. Moreover, loose wires may lay across in the way of machines, making itself more prone to damage and accident. Highlighting the trailing cables with anti-slip marking tape and floor stands will minimize trip hazards on worksite, and loose wires can be protected using cable protectors which offer defense against damage from vehicles and pedestrians. Heavy duty cable protectors and cable ramps are ideal for high walking-traffic in high traffic areas like warehouses, construction sites, markets, etc. These durable cable covers allows traffic to pass over without imposing any considerable damage to cables. Cable ramps are easy to use and possess a convenient button-down lid to insert and remove the cables easily. Hence, these industrial cable covers and cable ramps are used extensively in commercial and industrial settings, as they minimize trip hazards and protect electrical cables.

Cable management is an imperative component to ensure the protection of electrical cables because it helps to maintain basic functionality and promotes safe working conditions. Cable management systems like cable trays and reels form a rigid structure to support and protect the electrical cables against insulation damage, cable damage, crosstalk and overheating. Cable protection high quality systems like conduit system and trunking system can be used for complex configurations, making it capable to securely carry different types of cables at a time. In order to reduce the safety risk, the electrical cables can be protected using heavy duty cable ties and nylon cable ties which is an effective way to organize and manage the electrical cables. Conclusively, it is highly significant to protect the electrical cables effectively, otherwise these cables can cause harm and pose a serious safety risk.

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Jacqueline "Jackie" Annis is an industrial hygienist with the Office of Partnerships and Recognition, Directorate of Cooperative and State Programs in OSHA’s National Office.  Jackie’s primary responsibilities include developing and overseeing internal policies and procedures for the VPP, reviewing VPP on-site evaluation reports for process safety management information, serving as the National Office liaison for two of OSHA’s ten Regions, and facilitating the management of OSHA’s National Strategic Partnership Program.  She is an integral part of OSHA’s National Office team. 

She has served with the Agency for 36 years, including five years as a senior industrial hygienist in OSHA’s Office of Health Enforcement, Directorate of Enforcement Programs in the National Office and 17 years as a compliance safety and health officer in the Denver, CO Area Office.  Prior to her tenure at OSHA, Jackie worked as an industrial hygienist for the Department of the Navy in Alameda, California.  Jackie obtained a Bachelor of Science degree from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA in 1983.

Wayne Howard earned a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from UC Davis and has spent 12 years with Shell (at Martinez) refinery, 3 years with the consulting firm Process Safety, 15 years with Valero (at Benicia), and the last 10 years in the Corporate Process Safety Department. He is the Valero representative to AFPM's Advancing Process Safety Initiative.

Nathan Obaugh, PE is a senior engineer in the Safety and Operational Excellence Group at NuStar Energy. Nathan has over 10 years of PSM and process design experience in the petrochemical, refining and midstream industries. At NuStar, Nathan oversees all elements of the corporate PSM program and works directly on hazard analysis, process safety studies, PSM/RMP audits and provides process engineering support to the operations and capital projects groups.

Jared Teter, PhD is a senior staff scientist with a background in physics and hazards analysis. He has extensive experience in subscale testing of energetic materials and has served as program manager for several large testing and risk management projects. He has applied engineering and risk management protocols while evaluating the risk associated with propellant and explosives manufacturing, combustible dust, and other hazardous material related processes.

Tim Belitz has a degree in Environmental Health/Industrial Hygiene from Old Dominion University and a Master’s from Duke University. He has over 25 years of Industrial Health Safety and Environmental Experience and is a Certified Safety Professional. He has many years focused on Contractor Management and Process Safety programs.

Rob Walker graduated from Virginia Tech in Microbiology and Chemical Engineering. Rob has almost 35 years of experience working in the chemical plant and refining industry. His passion for Process Safety and Mechanical Integrity began very early in his career. Rob began with his current company, Honeywell, back in 2011.

Prasad Joshi has B.S. and M.S. Degrees in Chemical Engineering from two universities in India. Prasad has over 30 years’ experience in the business. He began with Honeywell in May 2022 as Principal Maintenance Engineer. He has worked internationally in Asia and Europe.