Practical Electrical Safety Tips
It takes very little electrical current to cause a serious injury or death. Every year, 9 to 11 people die from simply licking the top of a nine volt battery. Although this sounds farfetched, the current from the battery can disrupt the electrical impulse from the brain to the heart.
Most electrical accidents happen either when someone is working on live electrical circuits or inadvertently comes into contact with live wiring or energized equipment. OSHA regulations clearly outline the requirements we must follow, unfortunately, electrical violations are still commonly cited by OSHA Compliance Officers.
A basic understanding of electrical safety requirements, coupled with a regular inspection program could greatly reduce or eliminate the possibility of an accident caused by inadvertent electrical contact.
The following are some basic electrical safety tips that should help:
- Only qualified employees trained in Electrical Safe Work Practices and NFPA 70E Arc Flash should ever be allowed to work around or on any live electrical circuits over 50 volts.
- All other employees should receive training in the Hazards of Electric and be advised never to try to work on any live electrical equipment or circuits.
- Where possible, electrical equipment should be locked out and tagged out before works is performed. Work should always be done cold, whenever possible.
- Make sure all electrical equipment is grounded in accordance with the National Electrical Code Guidelines.
- All electrical panel boxes should be clearly labeled for voltage and purpose.
- Keep a 36” clear area in front of all electrical panel boxes.
- All electrical equipment should be inspected on a regular basis.
- Reduce the use of extension cords. Extension cords are only allowed for use on temporary equipment. Permanent equipment needs to be provided with permanent wiring.
- Insure extension cords that are used are safe. Check for frays or broken cords. Make sure the Ground Plug is in place.
- If using an extension cord outside or where there are wet conditions, make sure it is plugged into a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter.
- Make sure all electrical outlets, junction boxes, and panel boxes have proper covers and are kept closed. Inspect for open knock-out-holes.
- Never allow employees to use metal ladders when working around electrical wires.
- Do not wrap extension cords or flexible cords around metal objects. Do not hang with wire while it is attached to metal conduit, also do not nail or staple in place.
- Fuses and circuit breakers need to be of sufficient size to carry the required electrical load.
- Make sure that the provisions of NFPA 70E are being complied with, if you have any employees required to enter an electrical panel for any reason.
The above tips are not all inclusive, but they will provide a quick and easy guide to follow that will help reduce for you the possibility of an unnecessary employee injury or death due to exposure to live electrical circuits or unexpected energized equipment.
By: Mr. Gary Hanson, President
American Safety & Health Management Consultants, Inc.
If you have any safety related questions or need assistance with your Safety Program, please feel free to call me at 1-800-356-1274.