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Implementing 9 effective Tips for Electrical Safety at Work

6 min read
Published on 01 February, 2023

In today's fast-paced work environment, electricity is essential for many daily operations. But, with its widespread use comes the risk of electrical hazards that can lead to serious injuries, even death.

All electrical equipment used in workplaces has the potential to be dangerous. The situation of danger usually occurs when a piece of equipment is mis-utilized or isn't maintained properly.

It is a well-known fact that humans are good electrical conductors. And this implies that you will receive a shock if the open electric circuit makes touch with your body. And the electric current will move from one part of your body to the next, causing severe pain, burns, and harm to the muscles, nerves, and tissues.

In this article, you will read about common electrical hazards and basic electrical safety rules you must follow.

Common Electrical Hazards

Electrical risks at work can be exceedingly dangerous if not adequately managed. They can cause severe injury or even death. So, you must become familiar with all the potential hazards and what causes them.

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Common electrical hazards are-

  • Burns and electric shock from coming into contact with live wires

  • Fire caused by improper installation of electrical equipment

  • Defective and poorly maintained electrical equipment

  • Outlets that are overloaded or too hot

  • Using extension cords and flexible leads

  • Incorrect fuse replacement technique

  • Using electrical equipment with moist hands or close to a water source

Companies must ensure that their staff members know how to spot, avoid, and eliminate these hazards.

This can involve:

  • Conducting routine checks for electrical safety
  • Receiving instructions on handling electrical equipment
  • Putting on safety gear such as gloves and goggles while working with electrical equipment

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9 Electrical Safety Tips for Workplace

Not every employee requires specialist training in electrical safety. But to keep yourself and others safe, it's crucial to adhere to electrical safety-related work practices. You should ensure that if one has to operate an electrical instrument, he or she must not touch it directly.

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So, to assist you in preventing electrical hazards at work, here are 10 electrical safety tips:

1. Avoid any possible contact with live current.

Avoiding electrical dangers is the greatest way to keep one safe. If you must work with electrical currents, keep a safe distance if you're not certified. Before you start operations, ensure all panel doors are closed. You must also make sure there are no exposed wires near your work area.

Make sure all electrical equipment is used safely.

  • Employees should be cautious when handling electrical cords. They should -

  • Always pull out the plug head while unplugging a cord rather than the cord itself.

  • Not press or over-extend the electrical cables.

  • Not use staples to secure cables.

  • Avoid hanging electrical equipment from cords.

Additionally, specialists must check every cord and plug in the office for external flaws before use. Do not use any equipment that has a damaged cable or plug. Circuit-protection devices such as circuit breakers and fuses must be appropriately rated for the circuit they protect.

2. Ensure adequate physical barriers are placed around electrical hazards.

Employees should always be protected from any electrical dangers through physical barriers. Electrical panels should always have the cabinet doors shut. They shouldn't have any openings where workers can accidentally touch exposed wires.

3. Use shields, barriers, and warning signs when working.

When working in an open area, it is best to keep others outside the work area. The area in front of the electrical panel should be clear of any obstructions. There should be sufficient warning signs to alert staff to the danger.

4. Use lockout/Tagout and de-energize equipment.

Before you start any work on or near exposed live electrical components, they must be de-energized. You can isolate electrical energy by locking and tagging out the electrical system to prevent mishaps. You can make this a rule in your company's Lockout/Tagout policy.

The purpose of lockout/tagout is to safeguard workers from electrical risks while they do service and maintenance tasks.

5. Look out for the power lines above when working overhead.

Be cautious of electrical lines when performing any repair or work overhead. Most workplaces may contain electrical equipment and sections above the floor. And those wires can only be accessed via ladders or high platforms. So, when undertaking overhead work, use a portable ladder with non-conductive side rails. Make sure to keep at least 10 feet clear of any exposed electrical wires.

6. Work on live electrical wires should only be done by qualified personnel.

Avoid touching live electrical wires if you come across them. Only trained professionals should approach and handle live electrical hazards. And if you must work, then you should work under proper guidance.

7. Be very cautious when using flammable materials.

Electrical equipment that can ignite and produce flammable vapors, fumes, or dust must not be used. The only exceptions to this rule are when trained individuals lockout and isolate electrical energy sources. These potentially combustible materials should be operated under only proper guidance.

8. Avoid using cleaning tools and conductive tools.

Always presume that electrical components are live and take precautions as necessary. Especially when you are operating in an area with an electrical hazard, avoid using conductive tools there.

When cleaning the area, be aware that some cleaning supplies are also conductive and need extra care.

Steel wool and metalized cloth are conductive, as are solvent and water-based cleaning products. Keep any conductive tools and cleaning agents away from live electrical components and equipment.

9. Always comply with the electrical safety work practices of your company.

Every organization has different electrical safety procedures. It mainly depends on your sector's electrical equipment and hazards. To keep yourself and your employees safe, it's crucial to always adhere to your company's specific electrical safety procedures.

Read: Health and Safety Hazards in the Telecom Industry

Conclusion

Workplace electrical safety is crucial for avoiding accidents and injuries. You must ensure that your staff members receive appropriate instructions and tools. Thus, consider the above-mentioned electrical safety recommendations listed here and others while creating an appropriate safety procedure.

Also, be sure to raise awareness of potential risks and take the appropriate safety measures. You must make strict guidelines for wearing personal protective equipment while working on or near the electrical panel. Not to mention following the right procedures. Lastly, you must keep a tab on your building's electrical systems and ensure that all equipment has an available switch to cut the power in case of an emergency.

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FAQ

Question: What exactly is an arc flash?

Answer: A quick release of energy brought on by an electrical arc is known as an arc flash. Arc flashes can result in burns, electrocution, and fires, making them incredibly dangerous.

Arc flash hazards can be reduced by properly maintaining electrical equipment and using personal protective equipment (PPE) such as face shields and arc-rated clothes.

Question: What should I do if I see a workplace electrical emergency?

Answer:

  • Make an emergency call right away.
  • Turn off the power supply if at all possible.
  • To prevent harm, keep away from the area where the electrical emergency occurs.
  • Give anyone who has been hurt first assistance.
  • Inform a manager or a member of the safety staff about the situation.

Question: What actions should you take if you receive an electrical shock?

Answer: If at all possible, switch off the electrical source, dial 911 right away, and refrain from touching the victim until the source has been disconnected.

This article is written by Daina Barman who is a content writer and marketer at Vantage Circle. Besides being an epicure trying to cook every dish possible, she likes to dance her way around everything. To get in touch, reach out to editor@vantagecircle.com

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