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Proper Communication During Electrical Lockout-Tagout

Digested From “NAA Maintenance Instructor Preaches Importance of Safety & On-Site Cooperation”
Property Management Insider (06/30/14) Blackwell, Tim

Paul Rhodes, the National Apartment Association Education Institute's National Safety and Maintenance Instructor, has been on the maintenance side of the apartment industry for over two decades now. In that time, he has traveled the nation, teaching maintenance practices and safety especially with regards to electrical work. At the recent 2014 NAA Education Conference & Exposition in Denver, Rhodes spent nearly an hour talking to experienced maintenance technicians about various types of multi-meters and how to use them effectively. His curriculum at the event was essentially a basic electrical do's and don'ts after a near-death incident earlier in his career in which he nearly electrocuted himself doing pool maintenance.  

Paul Rhodes"It’s the most scared I’d ever been in all my life,” Rhodes told the crowd. “And it all came from my responsibility to lock out the breaker. The maintenance guy had flipped the breaker. He did right. It wasn’t his fault. It was my fault."

Session attendees often liken Rhodes' stage presence to that of a church preacher. He says he realized early on that to hold an audience's attention, he needed to have conviction when speaking about things like positive and negative leads. "Early in my maintenance career," he stated, "I attended a lot of classes and most of them were dry, boring, and, for lack of a better term, an information dump. It's bland information and it's good information, relevant, and you need to know it. It's kind of unfortunate but the entertainment part has to be in there, as well." He often finds that many technicians fail to follow the simple lockout-tagout process, a procedure used to ensure that power sources are not turned on until maintenance or service work has been finished. During the recent NAA session, he emphasized the importance of communication throughout the lockout-tagout process after he realized that only around 50 percent of attendees knew how to correctly use a multi-meter to determine that a circuit was live in one scenario.

Paul Rhodes, CAMT, travels throughout the country to offer the Certificate for Apartment Maintenance Technicians (CAMT) course which includes hands-on training with topics that cover Interior & Exterior Maintenance & Repair, Electrical, Plumbing, HVAC and Appliances.  Learn more about this course or to find a course in your area.

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