In electrical work, the colors of the wires represent their usage. For commercial applications, black, red, and orange wires are hot wires with electric currents of 110, 220, and 240 volts, respectively, that constantly flow through them unless the main power source is off. Green wires are grounding wires and protect from surrounding items and the hot wires coming in contact with one another. Grey and white wires are used as neutral wiring, and they can have a live power source coming through them. They are supposed to be marked black or red, if that is the case, but that doesn’t always happen. Blue and yellow wires are known as travelers; they conduct the current between poles and switches and apply to three- and four-way switches.


Rewiring Your Behavior

The term “how an individual is wired” means someone does or does not have a natural tendency to behave or think in a certain way or tends to like or dislike something. A 2018 article by the law firm WRSMH titled “The Shocking Truth about the Dangers of Poor Wiring” speaks to the fatalities associated with poor wiring and thus why electrocutions are part of the “Fatal Four” with OSHA when it comes to safety in the workplace.


Mental Health Matters

Mental safety is just as important as physical safety, and when you are mentally healthy, accidents are reduced. What are three examples you might work on with yourself that could be considered “poor wiring” in the workplace and potentially cause a hazard?


Wired as a Morning or Evening Person

Most of us have our time of the day when we naturally function best. Although, when we can’t keep our routine and get the appropriate amount of rest, our work performance is often affected, and we make mistakes or miss deadlines. It’s okay to share with those in the workplace when you have an off day, especially if it’s the exception and not the norm. If it is the norm, then taking responsibility for getting appropriate rest will keep you performing at your best. Not doing so could prove dangerous to yourself and those around you.


Wired for Action

We all know the saying, especially in construction, “time is money,” yet not taking the time to do things appropriately costs more time and money; if you are doing something as critical as electrical wiring, it could cost lives. Adjusting your wiring to get the intended result will make an extreme difference to you and others. You can be effective and efficient if you take ownership of your actions.


Wired for Results

This is a good thing, right? Not necessarily. Getting results “at all costs” to those around you causes projects and relationships to fail. If an electrical foreman tells the electrician they have to be completed today or they will lose their job, yet the electrician must concentrate and get everything done according to code while meeting that demand, the result could be that from the outside, it looks right, but something hidden could be wrong and undiscovered until it is fatal. Asking questions, such as “Do you think we can call for inspection by tomorrow?” or “When are you certain we can have this finished?” opens doors for conversation and getting the right results and not just a demanded unsuccessful outcome.


Hazard Reduction and Improved Outcomes

Rewiring your communication and actions for better outcomes is a big part of professional growth. If we asked a co-worker or supervisor how you are wired, what would they say? Would it be a good thing or something they have to manage and rope in constantly?


To Wiring That Is Inspection Worthy,

Suzanne Breistol



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