Unemployment and layoff statistics continue to plague industry and are consistently making the news headlines.
Unemployment and layoff statistics continue to plague
industry and are consistently making the news headlines. It may seem hard to
believe but, despite national unemployment rates that often hover near double
digits, many industries are experiencing worker shortages; workers who are
well-trained and qualified. Some industries report that, despite an abundant
labor pool, they still have positions for which they can't find qualified candidates
to fill. According to a trade’s shortage survey, skilled-trade jobs, which
include electricians, are the hardest jobs to fill.
Researchers say the
nation's postsecondary education system can't keep pace with projected job
growth. Information published in an article in the U.S. News & World
Report, by Allie Bidwell, on July 8, 2013, titled “Report: Economy Will Face Shortage of 5 Million Workers in 2020” expresses serious concerns about the economic
impact of the qualified worker shortages in the years to come. Select portions
of the article are quoted below:
“As the economy continues to slowly
recover and millions of job openings are expected to appear over the next
decade, there is a growing call for more educated workers to fill those positions.
But the current higher education graduation rate is stagnant, and the economy
will face a shortage of 5 million workers with the necessary education and
training by 2020, according to a study from researchers at Georgetown
Over the next several years, 55
million jobs will become available, researchers at Georgetown University's
Center on Education and the Workforce found
in a study. The majority of those jobs will require
some sort of education and training after high school, but without major
changes to the nation's postsecondary education system – which includes
community colleges, four-year institutions, and technical and career schools
– there will not be enough workers to fill those positions, the report says.
"If we look at how many degrees
we are conferring per year and compare that to the job openings, there's a
disconnect," says Nicole Smith, a co-author of the report. "We have
no reason to believe there will be a huge increase in graduation rates."
The researchers' job growth
prediction is a middle-of-the-road estimate. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates
that there will be 163.5 million jobs in 2020, while Macroeconomic Advisors
predicted 168.1 million, according to the report.
"The move toward making people both
college-and-career-ready essentially amounts to finding ways to ... help
develop a flexible, adaptable individual with the skills appropriate for
surviving in the 21st century," the report says.”
Many skilled-trade positions fall into the
"middle-skills" or “blue-collar” job category, and are jobs that do
not necessarily require a four-year degree, yet do require some education or
training beyond high school. The shortage of qualified workers has been largely
attributed to the lack of additional training and education beyond high school.
Additional training programs are designed to attract high school students to
the community or technical colleges and trade schools that provide programs for
these workers, to get them started as an Apprentice Electrician or to prepare
them to take the Journeyman or Master License exams. Most skilled trades
require additional training, much of which can be done during a paid
apprenticeship program, which many companies offer to their employees. Skilled
trades can also be a good career option for advancement in a company to
Foreman, Supervisor, Manager, or Inspector.
Worker Jobs Currently Available
There is literally hundreds of Journeyman Electrician
jobs posted on the Internet every day. If a person wants to be an electrician,
but they lack the experience and/or license, there is also hundreds of
Apprentice Electrician jobs posted. Below are two typical postings (the real
names and locations were changed, however they are actual company ads):
XYZ Company is currently hiring Journeyman Electricians. We are looking to fill over 200 positions
due to continued growth in our area.
Relocation assistance is available for the right
If you are a skilled and motivated Electrician
interested in joining a growing company that promotes from within, then we want
you to APPLY NOW!
Why work for XYZ Company? Here are some great
based on experience!
Dental and Prescription Drug Coverage
Life, AD&D, Short
and Long Term Disability Insurance
401K Retirement Plan
Vacation and Holiday
As a Journeyman Electrician you will be responsible
for electrical installations, troubleshooting, and maintenance of the
commercial and industrial settings. Additional responsibilities will be
required based on your experience and journeyman status upon hire.
Experience in mission critical systems, data centers, large 480V distribution
and medium-voltage distribution equipment and systems are a plus.
As a Journeyman Electrician with XYZ Company you
must meet the following minimum requirements:
At least 5 years of experience
as an electrician
Must have an State
Journeyman’s license or be willing and able to test for one
Must have a High
School Diploma or GED
Must be willing to
work a flexible schedule including days, evenings, weekends
Must be willing to
work overtime as required
2) ABC Company
Needed immediately, commercial and
industrial Journeyman and Apprentice Electricians
ABC Company is seeking experienced
electricians for immediate openings in our area. Other locations throughout the
state are available as well. To be considered for employment all applicants
must meet the minimum criteria identified below:
to bend install conduit / know all conduit strapping requirements
to pull and install wire / understanding of circuitry and color codes
and carry hand tools / bags / cordless drill/ hacksaw etc.
to install / wire lighting fixtures
to work well with others
to work overtime
If you meet these requirements
please send us your resume by email or Fax to 1-800-555-5555. Resumes are
required in any format. Only qualified applicants will be considered.
two postings are similar to hundreds of postings on the Internet for trained
and qualified electricians.
The emphasis in this presentation
has been centered on qualified, skilled workers. The reason for this is because
of the high number of fatal and non-fatal injuries that occur at an alarming
rate. This section will address a few of these cases, in order to help
reinforce the qualified person requirements that are in the next section.
With the lack of qualified person
training, electrical safety programs and procedures, and personal protective
equipment, injuries and fatalities will occur when an electrical incident takes
place. The following are incidents that did occur and the cost of each incident
is also provided:
OSHA fined a company $40,600 for nine “serious” safety and health violations
that exposed workers to electrical, fall, and noise hazards. The Agency had previously
inspected the business after a complaint was filed. The violations include the
employer’s failure to provide workers with training to protect themselves from moving machine parts
during servicing and maintenance activities and for exposing workers to fall
hazards, the news release states. The company also failed to institute a
monitoring and training program for noise exposure to prevent permanent hearing loss from unsafe
noise levels, according to the news release."
OSHA cited a company for 10 serious safety violations after an employee was
electrocuted while performing repair work on a machine at the company’s work
site. The proposed penalties total $61,400. “Exposing workers to electrocution
hazards without proper safeguards and training is inexcusable,” said the Agency’s area director.
“It is the employer’s responsibility to create a safe and healthful workplace
where preventable hazards don’t cost workers their lives.”
OSHA cited a company for alleged repeat and serious safety violations related
to lockout/tagout, electrical safety, and combustible dust and have issued
$56,430 in proposed fines. According to OSHA the inspection found the facility
at fault for similar hazards the company was cited for at another facility. The
repeat hazards include alleged failure to provide a program to ensure workers
are trained to power
down and lock out industrial saws before conducting maintenance, failure to
provide a chemical hazard communication program and training on the risks and safeguards associated with
chemicals and failure to prevent usage of unapproved electrical equipment in
areas that generate combustible wood dust. The company received eight repeat
violations for these conditions.
A company has reached a settlement with OSHA resolving litigation
surrounding the electrocution death
of an employee. Under the agreement, the company will pay a fine of $147,000
and make changes to its electrical safety training program. The OSHA Regional Administrator commented,
“While no settlement can bring this worker back to his family, co-workers,
and friends, this agreement can help prevent similar and needless
tragedies in the future.” The fatality occurred when a field technician
came into contact with an energized power line as he worked from an aerial
lift bucket. OSHA determined that field technicians were not adequately trained, did not wear proper protective gloves, and
did not ground the suspension strand they were installing.
cited a company for six safety violations, including one repeat, for failing to
properly adjust or provide adequate machine guarding and electrical safe work
practices. Proposed penalties of $91,300 resulted from the inspection program
for high-hazard general industry establishments. “The company has a
responsibility to recognize the hazards that exist in the workplace and ensure
equipment is properly adjusted and maintained,” said OSHA’s Area Director. A
total of four serious violations were cited, including failing to maintain
bench grinders and improper storage of oxygen cylinders. The other two involve
electrical safe work practices, including improperly marked circuit breakers
and not effectively closing unused openings in electrical boxes. A serious
violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious
physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or
should have known.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of
1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for
their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these safe conditions are provided
for America’s working men and women, by setting and enforcing standards, and
providing training, education and assistance.
OSHA’s program, $afety Pays, estimates that “every year workplace
injuries, illnesses and deaths cost our nation $170 billion. That's money that
businesses can save and pain workers can avoid. How can you save money while
improving safety and health in your facility? One study estimated that a good
safety and health program can save $4 to $6 for every $1 invested. That's
because injuries and illnesses decline. Workers' compensation costs go down.
Medical costs decrease. There are other, less quantifiable benefits as well -
reduced absenteeism, lower turnover, higher productivity and increased morale.
There are direct and indirect costs
related to all accidents. Direct Costs are medical costs and indemnity
payments. Indirect Costs refer to production time lost by the injured employee, fellow
workers and supervisors; spoiled product, unhappy customers; cleanup time;
schedule delays; training new employees; overhead costs; legal fees and an
increase in insurance costs.
OSHA has a computer program that is
free of charge to all employers. This program is provided to assist you in
determining how much accidents are costing your company. (Website address: http://www.osha.gov/dts/osta/oshasoft).”
The OSHA $afety Pays program also estimates the sales that would
be required in order to pay for an accident:
If your profit margin is:
$afety Pays $uccess $tories
Company #1 experienced a reduction in their Workers'
Compensation premium. In one year the premium was $186,000 and it was reduced
to $128,000 the following year. Their lost time days went from 2,642 in the
first year to 76 in the second year. Because of the increased safety awareness,
they anticipate this trend will continue.
Company #2 is also receiving benefits from their
safety improvements. Their Experience Modification Ratio (EMR) and Workers'
Compensation premiums are changing. Their EMR for the first year was a positive
23.9% which changed to a negative 25.1% in second year. They received a 5%
discount in their Workers' compensation premiums the second year.
Company #3 reduced their LWDII rate from 45.9 in the
first year to 3.7 at the end of the third year. In the first year, injuries
accounted for nearly 1500 lost workdays and in the third year that number was
reduced to 87. At the end of the third year the company received a Workers'
Compensation refund of $196,000.
OSHA and NFPA Qualified
presentation has addressed several issues dealing with trained, skilled,
qualified workers. This section will address the definition and training
requirements for a qualified person, as required by the Occupational Safety and
Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Fire Protection Association
OSHA definition of a “qualified person” is found in 29 CFR 1910.399
Definitions, and states:
“One who has received training in and has demonstrated skills and knowledge in
the construction and operation of electric equipment and installations and the
Note 1 to the
definition of ‘‘qualified person:’’ Whether
an employee is considered to be a ‘‘qualified person’’ will depend upon various
circumstances in the workplace. For example, it is possible and, in fact,
likely for an individual to be considered ‘‘qualified’’ with regard to certain
equipment in the workplace, but ‘‘unqualified’’ as to other equipment. (See
1910.332(b)(3) for training requirements that specifically apply to qualified
Note 2 to the
definition of ‘‘qualified person:’’ An
employee who is undergoing on-the-job training and who, in the course of such training, has demonstrated an ability to perform duties
safely at his or her level of training and who is under the direct supervision of a
qualified person is considered to be a qualified person for the performance of
70E, Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace, 2015 edition provides a
similar definition of a “qualified person” as found in Article 100 Definitions,
“One who has demonstrated skills and knowledge
related to the construction and operation of electrical equipment and
installations and has received safety training to identify and avoid the hazards involved.”
note that these definitions require training in order to be classified as a
qualified person. OSHA provides specific “minimum” training requirements in
several regulations, including 1910.332, 1910.269(b), 1910.132(f), 1910.147(c)(7),
as well as others. NFPA 70E-2015, Section 110.2, Training Requirements also
provides specific training requirements for qualified persons.
are, and will be in the foreseeable future, a shortage of qualified electrical
workers in all type of industry, which includes industrial, commercial,
residential, and utility maintenance, along with these same shortages in
costs associated with incidents, accidents, injuries, and fatalities are
staggering. As noted earlier, “every year
workplace injuries, illnesses and deaths cost our nation $170 billion. That's
money that businesses can save and pain workers can avoid.” The cost of performing a hazard analysis and risk
assessment of the facility, providing qualified worker training programs,
developing electrical safety programs and procedures, and purchasing all
required personal protective equipment is, in the long run, much more cost
effective than having an employee injury or fatality.