Since electricity is now everywhere and so reliable and practical that it is frequently taken for granted, it is surprising how little the general public understands its properties. This is another reason why electrical safety training is essential.
Each year, 230 fatalities involving electricity are reported. According to a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) study, “61% of electrocutions occur in two occupational divisions: 46% among craftsmen and 15% among laborers. 1.4 Electrocution deaths per 100,000 workers were also the most common in these two groups.
What is Electrical Safety?
Using and maintaining electrically powered equipment safety is a general practice to reduce accidents. Appropriate training is necessary to correctly identify and manage hazards and maintain a safe environment for everyone nearby.
Closed circuits are how electricity moves. When the body enters an electric circuit, shock happens. Direct injuries from electric shock can include thermal contact burns, arc burns, and electrical burns. It can also result in indirect or secondary injuries, such as bruises, bone fractures, and even death from collisions or falls, due to an involuntary muscle reaction brought on by the electric shock.
What are the three electrical hazards?
The following are the hazards of working with electricity:
- When you enter an electrical circuit, you can experience an electric shock, contact with electricity that causes a current to flow through your skin, muscles, or hair. Electrocution or death is the most severe electric shock, but its effects can range from almost imperceptible to devastating.
- The potential for electricity to ignite objects and cause fires or explosions is its second-largest risk. Static electricity or discharge can also result in shocks. Static events can hurt but are usually not dangerous in residential or commercial environments. However, in industrial settings, they can have very negative effects.
- Most burns are internal and caused by electricity running through bone or tissue, which heats and damages the tissue. Lightning or an electric shock could be the cause of this. Both internal and external burns result in these injuries.
What actions should employers take?
They must guarantee that any electrical hazards have been evaluated, taking into account the following:
- Who might suffer harm from them;
- How the risk level has been determined;
- Safety measures are taken to lower that risk.
The type of electrical equipment used, how it is used, and the environment it is used in should all be considered during the risk assessment.
Employers are required to ensure that the electrical equipment and installation:
- Appropriate for the circumstances under which it is used and the intended use;
- Used exclusively for the intended function.
Unsuitable equipment may live in a moist environment and cause the environment around it to become life. Devices like fuses and circuit breakers must be appropriately rated for the circuit they protect. Closed and locked cases for isolators and fuse boxes should be used.
Tips for electrical safety to prevent accidents
- Avoid shutting a door on a cord. Are there any power cables under the door? Do you continue to squish the cord flat by closing the door on it until the insulation that shields you from the live wires is worn through? Is the door frame made of metal by chance? Even worse, once the wire’s insulation is worn through, you run the risk of energizing the door frame. Cords cannot open doors.
- Check the device and its cord for damage before plugging it in—Hunt for corroded, unfastened, or crooked plugs.
- Check the cord for frayed insulation or cracks at the plug end.
- Regarding the tool or appliance end, look at it. Please refrain from attempting to repair broken cords or components on your own. If the tool or cord starts to get hot to the touch, sparks, or shocks, you should instead repair or replace it. A knowledgeable electrician is needed for that.
- Remember to keep cords away from heat and water, and never hold a tool or appliance by the cord, as this invites damage.
- Pull on the plug, not the cord, when removing plugs from outlets.
- Avoid ducting it. Do not avoid it. Whatever you call the gray adhesive tape, which many of us think can fix anything, don’t use it to patch the cord you squished into the door when you cut it. Repairing cuts, abrasions, or burns in electrical cords should never be done with electrical tape, masking tape, or any other kind. Why? The tape does not replicate the original covering’s insular properties.
- Cords can be damaged by rubbing if they are run underneath rugs.
- Plugs shouldn’t be tampered with. Never remove the third (ground) prong from a plug to fit it into a two-plug outlet; instead, replace the outlet. The equipment is no longer grounded if the third prong is taken out. Any cord with a missing prong ought to be taken out of service.
- Overloading of circuits is not advised. GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) should be used.
- Keep in mind that extension cords are only meant for short-term use. It is against the fire code to use them as a long-term wiring fix.
- Remember to locate electrical sources above and below you when working outside. For instance, use an extension ladder at least 10 feet away from overhead power lines.
It is essential and frequently required to receive training in workplace safety, including electrical safety. Completing electrical safety training does not grant you or your staff a license as an electrician. It teaches you about your restrictions as an unlicensed individual and how to recognize risky situations to help you avoid becoming a statistic.
Safety controls for electrical safety
- Engineering controls using specially designed machinery or equipment remove or reduce exposure to hazards. In this case, the tools you use or the setting in which you work have built-in safeguards intended to protect you from particular risks.
- Administrative controls are the guidelines for safe work practices that the government or your employer has implemented to safeguard your health and safety. They include mandating breaks when performing physically demanding repetitive tasks, setting time limits on how long employees are exposed to particular working conditions, requiring personal protective equipment, etc.
- Equipment worn to reduce exposure to a variety of hazards is known as personal protective equipment (PPE). It may consist of steel-toed boots, gloves, safety glasses, and hard hats.
Essential things for employers to know
Here are the following things an employer should take note of:
- If equipment is broken, stop using it immediately and have it checked by a professional.
- Before using any electrical equipment brought to work by employees, hired, or borrowed, ensure it is fit for use and that it is kept fit by performing any necessary maintenance.
- Consider using a residual current device (RCD) between the electrical supply and the equipment when working outside, in a wet environment, or in a small space.
- Make sure that employees understand how to operate electrical equipment safely.
- Make sure there are enough plugs available. Utilizing unfused adaptors ensures that socket outlets are not overloaded to prevent fires.
- Check for any cables that might be trailing and cause someone to trip or fall.
- Appliances should be turned off and unplugged before being cleaned or adjusted.
- Ensure everyone inspects the area where they will work for electrical wires, cables, or other equipment and looks for any warning signs of electrical dangers or other hazards. The area around the project should be checked, and it’s essential to remember that walls, floors, ceilings, and other structures may contain electrical cables (especially when drilling into them).
If the operations of your business rely on industrial machinery and processes, you most likely have to deal with high-voltage power outlets that pose a direct occupational hazard to your employees. You probably have electrical outlets in your offices, which can also result in accidents if misused, even outside the factory where a lot of power is used.
Like fire, electricity is a great servant when used properly but can quickly devolve into a terrifying catastrophe if its rules are broken. Consider hiring a professional electrical safety consultant because, as a business owner, you might not think electrical safety is a serious issue.
Material posted on this website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute a legal opinion or medical advice. Contact your legal representative or medical professional for information specific to your legal or medical needs.