If you’re buying reputable brands, every piece of test equipment comes with safety information specific to that equipment. Granted, the rules are pretty much the same for commonly used devices such as digital multimeters (DMMs). But as the equipment goes up on the specialization scale, so do the safety rules.
Here are some tips for making sure test equipment safety rules get followed:
• Establish qualification criteria for each piece of test equipment (including DMMs).
• Establish a qualification program that includes a written exam and a practical demonstration.
• Ensure that only qualified personnel use any piece of test equipment. This does not mean one qualified person in the crew; if you’re not qualified, you don’t touch use it even if a qualified person is present. It’s just too easy to make a “simple” mistake that can prove deadly. The exceptions are for training and for conducting a practical demonstration for purposes of qualification.
• Add the safety steps to the work procedure. For example, if the manual says to establish settings in a particular way before turning the unit on, make doing that a step in the work procedure. This will require, in some cases, creating various versions of the same procedure; one version if using equipment X, another if using equipment Y, and so on.
• Require requalification periodically, no matter how much field time a person has racked up. Bad habits creep in over time. Establish requalification intervals that make sense for your organization, and don’t be afraid to adjust those as needed.