How you keep your workspace in the field can say a lot about what kind of technician you are. Other telling signs are how you approach safety; your own and that of your assistant. How meticulous are you in collecting and analyzing data? What condition is your equipment in?
When we look at the in-field work area, how do you post or identify what work is being done and what restrictions apply to the immediate are? At most facilities, the safety department has already determined how this is to be done. If this task has not been completed at your work site, there are guides that can help you determine the restrictions and the standoff distances required. The most important of these guides is NFPA 70E. Within this document are PPE and necessary qualification guidelines, along with different approach distances depending on the type of equipment being inspected. Being familiar with these requirements along with implementing and enforcing them is crucial to workplace safety; not just for you, but for all those around you.
Another question to consider is: how do we keep unnecessary personnel out of our work area? After all, we don’t need any spectators and if there isn’t a valid reason for a person to be in your work area, they shouldn’t be there. When determining what type of barriers to use and where to place them, we can refer again to NFPA 70E where you will find recommendations for barricade types and required distances. Generally speaking, the barriers should keep unprotected (no proper PPE) people far enough away that they will be safe from injury in the case of an incident. The barricade should be recognized throughout the facility something to NOT cross under any condition without proper clearance from you. Danger tape with proper signage clearly stating what the hazard is and who can authorize entry is necessary. Each facility has their own version of this type of barrier, but if you work at a facility that does not, you should develop one in conjunction with the safety department.
Keeping a neat, orderly work area not only makes it easier for you to find tools and equipment, it’s safer. If things are scattered all over the floor, you’ve just created a number of trip hazards. If equipment is piled haphazardly it can fall over into energized or rotating equipment.