Keep Workers Safe from Electrical Hazards
Working with electricity is dangerous. Many occupations in addition to electricians work directly with electricity. Danger from circuit assemblies, overhead lines or cable harnesses pose a real risk to these workers. Other employees, such as office or warehouse workers, deal only indirectly with electricity, yet they too can come into harm’s way if workplace safety is lax.
Electricity can cause fires, explosions and electric shock, resulting in paralysis, burns, falls and death. Employers must provide a safe work environment for workers. How can you keep people safe from electrical hazards? One way is to adhere to the electrical standards set by OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Here are a few practices that can help keep your workers out of harm’s way:
- Test the safety and function of electrical equipment often.
- Isolate and guard with barriers components that conduct electricity at 50 volts and more.
- Always wear protective equipment, including rubber insulating gloves, sleeves, industrial helmets and hoods.
- Make sure electrical equipment is grounded.
- Train workers in electrical safety measures.
- Keep workers on ladders or cranes at least 10 feet from power lines.
- Limit to qualified personnel those who work directly with exposed electricals.
How to Keep Workers Safe from Electrical Hazards
Follow safety guidelines at all times. Make sure all employees have electrical safety training. Those who work directly with electricity will need in-depth instruction. If you use contractors or temporary employees, be sure they understand your company’s safety procedures.
Develop an emergency plan that includes first-aid training. Post the plan where it can easily be reviewed and hold regular refresher sessions.
Checklists should be a part of your safety program. Use the list daily, or as appropriate to your industry. Each type of industry will need a list tailored to their business.
Here is a checklist that a construction site or factory might use:
- See that temporary lights are secure and not supported by cords.
- Use bulb guards on temporary lights.
- Use power tools that are double insulated or have a ground pin.
- Check that outlets don’t have reversed polarity.
- Check that wires are not frayed or broken.
- See that metal boxes with knockouts are not used with extension cords.
- Use only extension cords with three-wire cords.
Electrical hazards change continuously as a business evolves. To keep up with changes in equipment as well as safety standards, you may need to appoint a point person to take charge of your safety program.
Storee can help install safety upgrades to your workplace. Contact us to schedule a site visit.