Working with electricity is dangerous, especially if the proper safety measures are not taken. Many electrical hazards can occur in the workplace, and it is important to be aware of them to mitigate the risks. In this article, we will share some important electrical hazards and safety topics that should be discussed in the workplace. Stay safe out there!
What is Electrical Safety?
Electrical safety is a general practice conducted by workers exposed to electrically powered equipment. It’s a set of guidelines that mitigates and prevents electrical hazards and their dangerous effects in the event of an incident.
Failure to follow electrical safety can lead to accidents, near misses, or fatalities.
Importance of Electrical Safety
Lack of experience, inadequate training, and failure to identify potential hazards could lead to electrocution resulting in severe injuries or sudden death. The construction industry is most in danger from electrical hazards.
In fact, it accounts for 52% of all electrical fatalities in the United States. Most of these incidents and fatalities were due to direct worker contact with machines, tools, power lines, and hand-carried metallic objects.
That’s why electrical safety is of utmost importance in any workplace. Due to the threat that electrical hazards pose to construction workers, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has developed a set of electrical safety standards that must be followed to ensure a safe working environment.
Who Is At Risk of Electrical Hazards?
Electricians, overhead line workers, and engineers are at a higher risk of being exposed to electrical hazards due to their work. However, anyone who works with or around electricity can be at risk of being injured by an electrical hazard.
Tasks that put workers at risk of electrical hazards include electrical installation and repairs, equipment testing, and electrical maintenance and inspection activities. However, it’s also important to note that people who are indirectly exposed to electricity can also be at risk of electrical hazards.
This includes people who work close to energized equipment or power lines, as well as those who work in wet or damp locations.
What Are the Most Common Electrical Hazards?
According to OSHA, electrocution is the most common hazard across construction sites. That’s why identifying electrical hazards is crucial to preventing workplace accidents, injuries, and fatalities.
Here are some examples of electrical hazards in the workplace, as well as tips on when you can do to mitigate and prevent these risks:
Overhead Power Lines
Overhead power lines are one of the most common electrical hazards in the workplace. They are often found on construction sites, as well as near utility poles and power lines. Overhead power lines can be very dangerous, as they are often energized with high-voltage electricity.
If you see an overhead power line that has been damaged or downed, do not touch it. Instead, report the hazard to your supervisor immediately.
If you must work near energized overhead power lines, always use proper personal protective equipment, such as rubber gloves and insulating matting.
Damaged Tools and Equipment
Using damaged electrical tools and equipment is one of the leading causes of electrocution in the workplace. That’s why it’s important to always inspect your tools and equipment before using them.
Do not use the tool or equipment if you see any damage, such as cracks, frayed cords, or missing parts. Instead, immediately report the damaged tool or faulty equipment to your manager or supervisor and request a replacement.
Inadequate Electrical Cords and Plugs
Frayed or damaged electrical cords and plugs are another common electrical hazard in the workplace. Faulty electrical cords and plugs can cause fires, as well as electrocution.
Always inspect your cords and plugs before using them. Do not use the cord or plug if you see any damage. Instead, report the damaged cord or plug to your manager or supervisor immediately and request for replacement or immediate repairs.
Exposed Electrical Parts
Examples of exposed electrical parts include electrical outlets, switches, and junction boxes. When these parts are not properly covered, they can pose a serious electrocution hazard.
To mitigate this hazard, always ensure that all exposed electrical parts are properly covered. If you see an exposed electrical part, report it to your supervisor immediately.
Working in Wet or Damp Conditions
Working in wet or damp conditions can increase the risk of electrical hazards, as water can conduct electricity. Therefore, always use proper personal protective equipment if you work in wet or damp conditions.
It’s also best to get a qualified electrician and have them inspect electrical equipment that has gotten wet.
OSHA sites the improper grounding of equipment as the most common electrical violation. Improperly grounded equipment can cause fires, as well as electrocution. To mitigate this hazard, always ensure that all electrical equipment is properly grounded.
Electrical Safety Topics to Discuss in the Workplace
Now that you know some of the most common electrical hazards in the workplace, it’s important to discuss these hazards with your employees. So here are some electrical safety topics that you should discuss in the workplace:
- General electrical site-specific safety measures
- Working Near High-voltage Electrical Lines
- Basic Arc Flash Safety Precautions
- The correct way of Dealing with Downed Power Lines
- Reviewing Sources & Causes of Electric Shock
- Effectiveness and Improvement of Electrical Safety Controls
- Minimizing the Risk of Electrical Injuries with a Safety-first Mindset
- Lessons Learned from Electrical Safety Incident Outcomes
- Hand and Power Tools Electrocution Prevention
- Fundamentals of Electricity at the Job Site
- Emergency and First-Aid Procedures for Potential Electrical Accidents
- Common Electrical Hazards Identification and Elimination
Knowing your limits and applying the best electrical safety practices will help reduce the risk of electricity-related incidents. In addition, it’s safer to work within your scope of expertise instead of trying to fix or troubleshoot electrical problems on your own.
Always ask a qualified electrician for assistance if you’re ever unsure about something.
Create an Electrical Safety Checklist with the DataMyte Digital Clipboard
The best way to ensure that your company follows electrical safety best practices is to create an electrical safety checklist. The DataMyte Digital Clipboard can help you do just that!
With the DataMyte Digital Clipboard:
- You can create a customized checklist specific to your company’s electrical safety needs.
- You can track and store data, so you can easily see which areas need improvement.
- You can add as many items as you need and other elements such as timestamps, barcodes, pictures, e-signatures, and more!
Try the DataMyte Digital Clipboard today and see how easy it is to create a customized electrical safety checklist for your company. Visit our website to learn more.
Electrical hazards are a serious problem in the workplace. Discussing electrical safety topics with your employees and creating an electrical safety checklist can help mitigate the risk of electrical hazards in your workplace. So try the DataMyte Digital Clipboard to create your company’s customized electrical safety checklist. Book a demo today!