Electrical Safety

What Does Electrical Safety Mean?


[1] Electrical safety refers to any safety precautions taken against electricity. Electricity is undoubtedly one of the most basic needs in modern life, but electrical hazards are very dangerous.

Some of the serious injuries you can receive from electricity include electrical shocks, electrical burns, and electrocution, which could be fatal. Electrical safety precautions can protect against electrical shocks and burns, and authorities responsible for workplace safety ensure that workers are following the correct safety procedures while dealing with electricity

Electrical safety is important because electricity may cause serious injuries or even fatalities. The statistics tell us more about the unique threat it poses. For example, in 2015/16, there were a total of 1380 deaths and injuries from fires caused by electrical goods. However, this figure saw a decrease in 2017/18 with three fatalities and 315 injuries.[2] Although there is a downward trend, it is still one of the most present threats today. Despite many objects being of low risk, almost all workplace machinery, tools or items run on electricity.

Electric jolts can interfere with internal signals in the body. This can cause the heart to stop if the voltage is really high. This can result from electrocution or shocks.

Although it is obviously a common commodity, not many people have experience working with electricity. As a result, you need to know how to protect yourself if you work with, near or around it

What are the hazards?

The main hazards of working with electricity are:

§ electric shock and burns from contact with live parts

§ injury from exposure to arcing, fire from faulty electrical equipment or installations

§ explosion caused by unsuitable electrical apparatus or static electricity igniting flammable vapours or dusts, for example in a spray paint booth

Electric shocks can also lead to other types of injury, for example by causing a fall from ladders or scaffolds etc.



[3} Electrical safety tips :


10 ELECTRICAL SAFETY TIPS FOR THE WORKPLACE

Today, any office or workplace setting operates on electricity. Electrical equipment, from computers to machinery can all be potentially hazardous and can cause shock and burn injuries if improperly used or maintained. Though most general personnel don’t need specialized electrical safety training, if you work around electricity, but are not qualified to directly handle electrical components, it’s important to follow electrical safety-related work practices to keep yourself and others safe. Here are 10 electrical safety tips for the workplace to help you avoid electrical hazards:

01. PREVENT ALL POTENTIAL CONTACT WITH LIVE ELECTRICAL CURRENT

The best way to stay safe is to stay away from electrical hazards. Unqualified personnel should not interact or come close to electrical currents greater than 50V. If you must work in the same area or room as an electrical hazard or equipment operating on more than 50V, maintain a safe distance. All panel doors should be shut, and there should be no exposed wires around your work area before you begin your operations.

02. DE-ENERGIZE EQUIPMENT AND USE LOCKOUT/TAGOUT

Exposed, live electrical parts must be de-energized before work on or near them is permitted. Prevent accidents and isolate electrical energy by locking and tagging out the electrical system or parts of the system according to your company’s Lockout/Tagout policy.

Lockout/Tagout exists to protect employees from electrical hazards while performing servicing and maintenance activities. Learn more in our article: What is Lockout/Tagout?

For more in-depth information about implementing proper Lockout/Tagout procedures in your facility, you may be interested in eSafety’s Lockout/Tagout course.

03. ENSURE SAFE USE OF ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT

Properly using all electrical equipment can go a long way to ensure everyone’s safety in the workplace.

Employees should take care to handle electrical cords properly:

· Always unplug cords by pulling on the plug head, rather than the cord

· Don’t press or overstretch electrical cords

· Don’t fasten cords with staples

· Don’t hang electrical equipment from cords

Additionally, all cords and plugs in the workplace should be visually inspected for external defects prior to use. If you encounter a cord or plug with damage, do not use that equipment.

04. INSTALL PROPER PHYSICAL BARRIERS AROUND ELECTRICAL HAZARDS

Physical barriers should always be used to protect employees from any electrical hazards. Cabinet doors on electrical panels should always be closed, and panels should not have holes where an employee could come into contact with exposed wires.

If cabinets cannot be closed, or if an electrical hazard cannot be fully closed in, shields, barriers, or insulating materials should be used.

For example, if a qualified electrician is performing maintenance on an electrical panel and must keep the panel open, physical barriers should be put in place to prevent others from entering the area. Signs should be placed to warn employees of the hazard, and the area in front of the electrical panel should be kept free of any obstructions.

05. BEWARE OF CONDUCTIVE TOOLS AND CLEANING MATERIALS

If you are working in an area where an electrical hazard is present, always assume that electrical parts are live, and act accordingly. Do not use conductive tools in the area.

If you are cleaning the area, note that some cleaning materials are conductive as well and require additional caution. Solvent and water-based cleaning materials are electrically conductive, as are steel wool and metalized cloth. Keep these cleaning products, as well as any conductive tools, away from live electrical parts and equipment.


06. WHEN WORKING OVERHEAD, LOOK ABOVE FOR ELECTRICAL LINES

When performing any work or maintenance overhead, beware of electrical lines. In most workplaces, there is the potential for live electrical equipment and parts above the floor level, which are only accessible with ladders or elevated platforms. Be sure to use a portable ladder with non-conductive side rails, and stay at least 10 feet away from any exposed electrical lines while you are performing overhead work.


07. USE EXTREME CAUTION WITH FLAMMABLE MATERIALS

Electrical equipment that can cause ignition must not be used where flammable vapors, gases, or dust are present. The only exception to this rule is when qualified personnel take measures to lockout and isolate electrical energy sources before these potentially flammable materials may be used or the electrical equipment is designed for use under these types of conditions.


08. ONLY QUALIFIED PERSONNEL SHOULD WORK ON LIVE ELECTRICAL WIRES

If you encounter a live electrical wire, stay away. Only qualified personnel with the proper training should work on live electrical wires. The same electrical safety precaution applies to hazardous electrical equipment. Any live electrical hazard should only be approached and managed by qualified personnel. If you see a live electrical wire that is not attended, you should notify the appropriate electrical safety personnel, who should immediately place physical safety barriers.


09. ALWAYS FOLLOW YOUR COMPANY’S ELECTRICAL SAFETY WORK PRACTICES

Every company has unique electrical safety work practices depending on the electrical equipment and hazards present in your industry and workplace. It is important to always follow your company’s specific electrical safety work practices to keep yourself, and other employees safe.


10. ELECTRICAL SHOCK CAN BE DEADLY

In every situation, treat an electrical part as if it is live. Electrically live parts do not look different from de-energized parts. To ensure safety, it’s best to assume that any electrical part is live. Take precautions to keep power on its path, and protect yourself. You can’t be too careful when it comes to electricity.


Electricity is a common, but dangerous, workplace hazard. Only those who are qualified to work with electrical components should do so. Otherwise, it is always in your best interest to keep away from live electrical currents. If your team is looking for electrical safety training for the workplace,




[3] Key points to remember

§ Ensure that workers know how to use the electrical equipment safely

§ Make sure enough sockets are available. Check that socket outlets are not overloaded by using unfused adaptors as this can cause fires

§ Ensure there are no trailing cables that can cause people to trip or fall

§ Switch off and unplug appliances before cleaning or adjusting them

§ Ensure everyone looks for electrical wires, cables or equipment near where they are going to work and check for signs warning of dangers from electricity, or any other hazard. Checks should be made around the job, and remember that electrical cables may be within walls, floors and ceilings (especially when drilling into these locations) etc

§ Make sure anyone working with electricity has sufficient skills, knowledge and experience to do so. Incorrectly wiring a plug can be dangerous and lead to fatal accidents or fires

§ Stop using equipment immediately if it appears to be faulty – have it checked by a competent person

§ Ensure any electrical equipment brought to work by employees, or any hired or borrowed, is suitable for use before using it and remains suitable by being maintained as necessary

§ Consider using a residual current device (RCD) between the electrical supply and the equipment, especially when working outdoors, or within a wet or confined place (see HSE's electrical safety at work site)


[1]"What is Electrical Safety? - Definition from Safeopedia", safeopedia.com, 2022. [Online]. Available: https://www.safeopedia.com/definition/5954/electrical-safety. [Accessed: 17- Feb- 2022].

[2]E. Learning, "Why is Electrical Safety Important? | Blog", Engage in Learning, 2022. [Online]. Available: https://engageinlearning.com/blog/why-is-electrical-safety-important/. [Accessed: 17- Feb- 2022].

[3]"Electrical safety", Hse.gov.uk, 2022. [Online]. Available: https://www.hse.gov.uk/toolbox/electrical.htm. [Accessed: 17- Feb- 2022].





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