Electrical energy is an indispensable element of life, yet working with electricity can be dangerous without taking proper precautions. Electric shock, arc flashes and fire are just some of the dangers workers must beware of while building, maintaining or repairing power equipment or wiring – these dangers could cause serious injuries and even fatalities; but there are steps workers can take to lower their risks of electrical accidents and injuries.
1) Keep Work Areas Clean and Dry
Cluttered work areas and benches invite electrical problems, so keeping them tidy by eliminating loose cords can decrease fire, shock, tripping hazards. Workers should inspect frayed, cracked or broken wires that expose live parts as touching these could create pathways for current to flow through their bodies (especially across their hearts) quickly. If any signs such as these appear it is advisable that an electrician is immediately consulted as it could pose significant health hazards.
2) Only Use Electrical Tools and Equipment When the Conditions Are Safe
Always ensure all power tools and electrical equipment is safely grounded and plugged in to prevent shocks. Workers should check that all tools have a grounding prong attached and plug them into an outlet with grounding capability, where possible using three-prong plugs instead of two as this reduces shock risk.
Electrical safety features are designed to restrict the amount of electricity flowing through an appliance or circuit. Overcurrent protection devices (circuit breakers and fuses) open when they detect current that exceeds an equipment or wiring’s current rating; such devices should be periodically inspected to ensure they are working as designed and have not been altered or compromised in any way.
4) Make Tight Connections
Electricity moves between conductors such as wires or metal contacts of outlets and sockets, producing heat. This heat can lead to wires melting, creating an increased fire hazard. To prevent this from occurring, workers should ensure all connections are tight using wire connectors (“wire nuts”) when splicing wires together.
5) Do Not Work on Overhead Wires
Workers become electrocuted most commonly when climbing or attempting to climb onto equipment that contacts overhead electrical wires that carry high voltage, potentially fatal shocks. Workers should try not working near such wires if possible. If necessary, call 811 first in order to have their lines marked properly.
Know the Signs of Overloading
Overloaded wiring or circuits can pose many hazards, from fire to shock and overheating. Overloaded wires also increase the chance of arcing, where electricity jumps between different electrical conductors like metal ladders or the ground.
An overloaded wire that becomes hot can produce an electrical spark that ignites flammable gases or dust in the atmosphere, so workers who work on overloaded wires should wear appropriate personal protection equipment like voltage-rated gloves and insulated tools to protect themselves. Furthermore, they should receive training on recognizing overloading signs as well as how to recognize and avoid such situations in their circuits.