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The Importance Of Electrical Safety Training In Undergraduate Power Engineering Education

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

New trends in ECE education

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.1301.1 - 11.1301.12



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Paper Authors


Ravel Ammerman Colorado School of Mines

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Ravel F. Ammerman (Member IEEE) received his BS in Engineering in 1981 at Colorado School of Mines (CSM), Golden, Colorado. He also received his MS in Electrical Engineering (Power Systems and Control) at the University of Colorado in 1987. He has over 24 years combined teaching and industrial experience. Mr. Ammerman has coauthored and published several technical articles on Engineering Education, Curriculum Development, and Computer Applications related to Power Systems Engineering. Mr. Ammerman is an accomplished teacher having received the CSM Graduating Senior Outstanding Teaching Award in Electrical Engineering on numerous occasions. Currently, Mr. Ammerman is pursuing his Ph.D. degree in Engineering Systems (Electrical Specialty† Power Systems). His research interests include Computer Applications in Power Systems Analysis, Electrical Safety, and Engineering Education.

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Pankaj Sen Colorado School of Mines

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Pankaj K. (PK) Sen (Sr. Member IEEE) received his BSEE degree (with honors) from Jadavpur University, Calcutta, India, and the M.Eng. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from the Technical University of Nova Scotia (Dalhousie University), Halifax, NS, Canada. He is currently a Professor of Engineering and Site Director of the NSF IUCRC Power Systems Engineering Research Center (PSerc) at Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado. His research interests include application problems in electric machines, power systems, and power engineering education. He has published more than 90 articles in various archival journals and conference proceedings. Dr. Sen is a Registered Professional Engineer in the State of Colorado.

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Michael Stewart North Dakota State University

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Michael Stewart received a BS in Business and Public Administration from the University of Maryland in 1972. He is a Certified Safety Professional (CSP), holds the Associate in Risk Management (ARM) designation and is a member of the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). He has over 29 years experience as a safety professional, the past 12 years as the Senior Industrial Safety Engineer at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

The Importance of Electrical Safety Training in Undergraduate Power Engineering Education Abstract

At Colorado School of Mines (CSM) there is a unique opportunity to educate the future electrical engineers about the vital topic of electrical safety. All electrical specialty undergraduate students are required to take a three-week (3-credits) Field Session course during the summer months between their junior and senior years. This paper discusses the outline and the theoretical framework of the electrical safety training and education program currently being developed and implemented in the CSM undergraduate degree curriculum.


Arguably one of the most significant engineering accomplishments of the 20th century was the electrification of our modern world. The widespread availability of electricity forever changed our lives, providing a convenient source of energy for our homes and businesses. Even though electricity plays such a critical role, it is frequently misunderstood and often times is not treated with respect and caution based on the inherent hazards. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) [1], an average of one worker is electrocuted on the job every day in the United States. Statistics indicate that additional injuries and deaths occur because of arc flash events. Within the U.S., arc flash explosions occur at the rate of five to ten per day.[2]

Tremendous progress in the broad area of electrical safety has occurred during the past three decades, advancing the overall understanding of how to recognize electrical hazards and take the appropriate precautions (developing Codes and Regulations) to ensure that the exposure to hazards does not result in injury or death and to minimize the equipment damage and loss of production. Not surprisingly, most of this work has been conducted and accomplished outside of academia. For example, at the 2006 IEEE IAS Electrical Safety Workshop held in Philadelphia, PA, less than 1% of the participants represented academic institutions.[3]

At CSM, in the undergraduate curriculum currently offered for the B.S. in Engineering (Electrical Specialty), there is a unique opportunity to instruct the future electrical engineers about the importance of electrical safety. All undergraduate students are required to take a three- week (3-credits) Field Session course. This opportunity doesn’t normally exist in traditional engineering programs. To address the vulnerability of young technical personnel and engineers to electrical incidents, a week-long module on electrical safety education is now a permanent part of the (Electrical Specialty) Engineering Field Session curriculum at CSM. The primary objective of the module is to equip the students with the necessary skill set to be able to recognize and avoid or control the hazards posed by electrical work. The different types of electrical hazards, the health effects of electrical incidents, methods of limiting the exposure, and the pertinent safety standards are described. This course was designed to provide the students with a thorough overview of the essential topic of electrical safety in an active learning environment.

Ammerman, R., & Sen, P., & Stewart, M. (2006, June), The Importance Of Electrical Safety Training In Undergraduate Power Engineering Education Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--272

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