February 4, 2015

Our Electrical Expert: Dean Dietrich

On Thursday February 12th at 11:00 AM Mountain Standard Time, we will be hosting our very first Learning Series webinar. The first topic we are going to cover is CSA Z462 Workplace Electrical Safety, which was developed by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA). Based on NFPA 70E created by the American National Fire Protection Association, CSA Z462 provides a set of requirements for the practical safeguarding of individuals that are exposed to electrical hazards in the workplace. These standards have grown to be endorsed by many health and safety regulatory authorities worldwide.

We wanted to take this opportunity to formally introduce our electrical expert, Dean Dietrich, who will be featured in ComplyWorks’ first Learning Series webinar on CSA Z462 Workplace Electrical Safety. Dean is a Master Electrician with close to 30 years of experience, and more than 25 certificates of qualification. He has worked all over the world – from Papua New Guinea to Iran – and has most recently become the Director, Code Compliance at CW Inspections, a ComplyWorks Affiliated Company.

Dean’s background includes seven years of thermography involvement as well as time spent as an electrician in the construction and maintenance fields. He has worked in almost every facet of the oil and gas industry, and has also spent time in the lumber and mining industries. His experience in so many varied and different areas has meant that Dean has often been selected to carry the responsibility of multi-million dollar projects, from construction through to commissioning and then on to operations.

Although anyone could sit down and read CSA Z462 and attempt to understand its most basic guidelines, Dean’s background and knowledge is a unique asset which we are excited to share. To allow you to get to know Dean better we asked him some questions about his experience, his knowledge, and why he loves the electrical industry so much:

Why did you decide to become an electrician initially?
DD: Growing up, I didn’t have the financial opportunity to go to university, so I needed a way to earn money while I was getting my education. The apprenticeship program allowed me to do this.
What do you enjoy most about the electrical industry?
DD: The diversity the electrical industry offers is unique in that there is an opportunity to work in many different fields - residential, commercial, or industrial. While the variety is great, I think my favourite aspects are that this trade has taken me all over the world and enabled me to be successful.
In your opinion, why is safety so important?
DD: At the end of a work day, we all want to go home to our families. If we don’t work safely there is a good chance this may not happen. Working with electricity means you have to incorporate safety into your day – all day every day – if you are to survive the hazards that go along with it. “Being careful” is no longer the way to reduce risk when working on energized systems. We need to use the proper PPE [personal protective equipment] and tools to protect ourselves, as well as ensure we are all educated on preventative measures.
In your opinion, what is most often overlooked when it comes to electrical safety hazards?
DD: Arc flash and shock. Although electrical workers never overlook shock, it has only been recently that we are protecting ourselves properly against this hazard. For example, in the past the only time an electrical worker would use a pair of rubber insulating gloves with leather protectors would be when we were working on high voltage equipment. Now we are using them whenever we are working on energized systems. Arc flash is another hazard that in the past we addressed by just “being careful”. Today if we work on energized systems that are capable of producing an arc flash we wear PPE that can give us proper protection from this hazard.
Why did you decide to leave the electrical trade and start an initiative like CW Inspections?
DD: I did not leave the electrical trade; I am just exploring another arm of it. The electrical trade offers many diverse opportunities, and with my experience and getting older, electrical inspection makes sense for my future. I also see that the electrical industry as a whole could be doing a better job of protecting our electrical workers. The inherent risk involved with working with electricity needs to be better addressed in our workplaces.
What do you think will be the main benefit in attending your upcoming webinar?
DD: Anyone who participates in our webinar will learn about all that is being done to try to better protect electrical workers that work on energized electrical systems. They will also benefit from gaining a clearer understanding of how CSA Z462 should be applied to their current safety programs.