Working Safely Around Electricity
Industry runs on electricity. It’s safe to use when you know what you’re doing and take proper precautions. When precautions are not taken, electricity can be a killer.
The most common electrical hazard on today’s worksites is from the ground fault electrical shock. Electrical accidents are usually caused by unsafe equipment and/or installation, unsafe workplaces caused by environmental factors, and unsafe work practices. Electrical shock is often only the beginning in a chain of accidents. The final injury may be a fall, cut, burn, or broken bone. The most common electrical shock-related injury is a burn. Burns suffered may be electrical burns, arc burns, or thermal contact burns.
How you are affected by electric shock depends on the following factors:
The rate the current flows through your body. This depends on how well your body conducts electricity. If you have dry hands and are standing on a non-conductive surface such as a rubber mat, you may not even feel a shock. If you are perspiring and are standing in water, you could be killed.
The length of time the current flows through your body. The longer the electric contact, the greater the current flow and the greater the shock.
The path the current takes through your body. The most dangerous path is through vital organs.
Your actions can protect your safety:
Read and follow instructions before handling anything electrical. If you don’t understand the instructions, get qualified help. Don’t guess.
Plugs should only be inserted in receptacle outlets with the same slot or blade pattern, unless proper adapters are used. Don’t force or alter a plug by bending, twisting, or removing blades to make it fit into a receptacle outlet.
Water conducts electricity. Keep wet hands from touching electrical equipment or light switches.
Firmly grip the plug, not the cord, when disconnecting equipment. Yanking the cord can damage the cord, plug, or receptacle outlet and result in a shock or fire.
Because electricity is present even when the switch is in the “off” position, unplug equipment, appliances, and extension cords when not in use and before inspecting, cleaning, or fixing them.
Recognize signs of overloaded circuits including flickering or dimming lights, blown fuses, warm wall plates or extension cords, and tripped circuit breakers.
- Receptacle outlets and switches should not be painted.
There’s no margin for error when working with electricity. Conditions vary so much that without the facts, you may make a mistake and cause injury to yourself or fellow workers.
The importance of electrical safety is shocking.
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