According to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), electricity has long been recognized as a serious workplace hazard. Whether you are an engineer who works with electricity on a regular basis or an office worker who deals with electricity indirectly, everyone is at risk for exposure to the hazards that accompany electricity. In fact, more than 30,000 workers have been injured in workplace electrical accidents over the last 10 years.
As a result, government organizations like OSHA have strict workplace standards in place to protect workers from major electrical hazards.
Here are some things you may not know about electrical injuries, as well as how you can prevent them in your facility:
- In order for electricity to work correctly, a complete circuit needs to be made. This includes a conductor, an electric consuming device, and something to ground it. Electricity will always follow the simplest way to the ground, which is why it is extremely important to avoid becoming part of the circuit.
- Electrical injuries consist of four main types:
- Electric shock: An electrical shock is received when an electrical current passes through the body.
- Burns: A burn occurs when you touch electrical wiring or equipment that is improperly used or maintained.
- Falls: A fall may be caused as a result of contact with electricity.
- Electrocution: Electrocution is death caused by electric shock.
- To prevent these injuries:
- Make sure electrical equipment is not located in a hazardous environment. These include a damp/wet location or a place where it is exposed to high temperatures and flammable liquids or gases.
- Routinely examine electrical cords for fraying and exposed wiring. Exposed wires may cause shock and should be replaced immediately.
- Make sure you have enough outlets to avoid overloading circuits and extension cords, which can result in a fire.
- Avoid placing electrical cords across walkways and work areas where they may cause employees to trip and fall. If this cannot be avoided, use duct tape or a cord runner to secure the cords in place.
- Know if equipment has an emergency shutoff switch and where it is located.
- De-energize electrical equipment before testing or repairing.
- Inexperienced and untrained workers have a higher risk for work-related injury compared with seasoned employees. Reduce these incidents through hands-on, pre-employment training. Training should include electricity’s effects on the body, how to identify hazards, first aid procedures when someone is shocked, and how to fight an electrical fire.
Training is key to electrical safety. Ensure a safe workplace by following all electrical safety standard regulations and best practices. For more information, contact GCA Services Group at firstname.lastname@example.org.