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Electrical safety in the workplace


Every workplace today is powered by electricity, so electrical injuries are a real threat anywhere. All electrical systems used in offices can cause serious harm, mainly if not correctly used or maintained. Humans are good conductors of electricity. If an open electrical circuit comes into contact with our body, we will receive an electric shock. Electric current will pass through our body from one point to another, causing severe pain, burns, and damage to tissues, nerves, and muscles. It can even lead to death.


How can there be injuries?

Direct contact with open electrical circuits or live conductors

Electrical arcs (due to exposed conductors or energized circuits) circulating in the air can pass through a grounded person. The internal tissues are burned if the skin comes into contact with the heat generated by electric arcs. The light emitted by an electric arc flash (UV and IR) can damage your eyes. When the potential pressure from the arc flash is released, the arc bursts and can cause lung collapse, injury, or noise that can damage hearing.


Most injuries are the result of the following:

  • Poorly installed, faulty, and poorly maintained electrical equipment

  • Faulty wiring.

  • Overloaded or overheated outlets.

  • Use of flexible wires and extension cords

  • Incorrect use of replacement fuses

  • Using electrical equipment with wet hands or near a water source

Tips for Preventing Electrical Accidents in the Workplace


1. Avoid any contact with a strong electric shock.

Avoiding electrical dangers is the best way to stay safe. Electrical currents more significant than 50 volts should not be handled. Keep a 50-volt safe distance if you must work in the exact location as electrical hazards or machinery that uses voltages higher than 50V. All panel doors must be closed before work begins, and there must be no exposed wires near the workspace.


2. Disconnect the equipment and use the lock or tag.

Exposed live electrical parts must be de-energized before work is allowed on or near them. Prevent accidents and shut down power by locking out and tagging the electrical system or parts of it by your company's lockout/tagging policy.


3. Ensuring safe electrical equipment use.

Proper use of all electrical equipment can go a long way toward keeping everyone safe in the workplace. Employees must properly handle electrical cords. Always disconnect cords by pulling on the head of the plug, not on the line. Do not pinch or pull electrical cords. Cords should not be stapled. Do not hang electrical equipment on cords. In addition, all cords and plugs in the workplace should be visually inspected for external defects before use. If the cord or plug is damaged, do not use this equipment.


4. Establish proper physical barriers around electric shock hazards.

Employees should always be shielded from any electrical dangers by physical barriers. Electrical panel cabinets must always have their doors closed, and there must not be any gaps that could allow a worker to touch bare wires. Screens, barriers, or insulating materials should be used without fully closing cabinets or an electrical hazard.


5. Keep conductive tools and cleaning materials to a minimum.

If you are working in an area with a risk of electrical shock, always assume that electrical parts are live and act accordingly. Do not use conductive tools in this area.

If you are cleaning an area, please note that some cleaning materials are also conductive and require extra care. Solvent- and water-based cleaning materials are electrically conductive, as are steel wool and metallic cloth. Keep these cleaners and any conductive tools away from live electrical parts and equipment.


6. When working in the air, look above for electrical lines.

When doing any overhead work or maintenance, beware of electrical lines. In most workplaces, there is a possibility that live electrical equipment and parts are above floor level and can only be accessed by ladders or elevated platforms. Be sure to use a portable ladder with conductive side rails and stay at least 10 feet away from exposed power lines when doing overhead work.


7. Be extremely careful when handling flammable materials.

Electrical equipment that may cause ignition must not be used where flammable vapours, gases, or dust are present. The only exception to this rule is when qualified personnel take steps to block and isolate electrical sources.


8. Only qualified personnel should work on live wires.

Avoid touching any live wires you come across. Only trained professionals with the necessary qualifications should handle live electrical cables. Hazardous electrical equipment must follow the same electrical safety procedures. Only trained individuals should approach and remove any electrical hazards. You must notify the appropriate electrical safety personnel if you see a live electrical wire not being watched, and they must set up physical security barriers immediately.


9. Always follow your company's electrical safety practices.

Each company has unique electrical safety practices depending on the electrical equipment and hazards in its industry and workplace. Always follow your company's specific electrical safety regulations to keep yourself and other employees safe.


10. Electric shock can be fatal.

The electrical component must always be handled as though it were energized. Live portions look precisely like live parts. It is best to assume that any electrical element is energized to ensure safety. Take precautions to safeguard yourself and the power that is in your path. When it comes to electricity, you can never be too careful.


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