Field Work Safety Awareness
Field tests take researchers out of laboratories and into realistic settings for evaluating new technologies. Field tests are valuable since they introduce the variability of a real building, which is the same reason that researchers should be aware of the potential safety hazards. The following safety topics should be considered when planning or executing a field test.
Ladders are commonly used in residential field tests and are a great tool, but they must be used properly to avoid injury - 17% of all fatal falls are from ladders. Always ensure that the ladder is placed on a firm, level surface. Keep area clear of hazards and traffic. Inspect ladder for cracks, bends, or corrosion before use. Keep three points of contact when on a ladder. Face ladder when going up and down.
There are certain conditions when additional fall protection is needed: when working at heights ≥4 feet for general industry or at heights ≥6 feet at a construction site and when working within 10 feet from a roof's leading edge.
Since many field tests in residential buildings are focused on the electrical energy consumption of a house or an appliance within the house, electrical safety is an important consideration. No work should be done on a live electrical panel or circuit. Lock out/Tag out (LO/TO) procedures should be followed to ensure the panel or circuit of interest is de-energized and cannot be re-energized while work is being done. Don’t forget to verify that you’ve controlled all energy sources – try to turn things on, check voltages, etc.PPE must be worn for the zero energy check, before any work is done, just in case energy is still present.
LO/TO should also be employed with all other sources of hazardous energy that may be present, including electrical, mechanical, gravity, compressed gas, pneumatic, hydraulic, or chemical energy.