Safety accidents in the workplace still happen even with modern technology and sophisticated safety programs in place. It does not matter what type of work You do, there will always be risks to be aware of. Some occupations, like an industrial or oil rig electricians, are more dangerous than others. Laborers in these fields need to practice extra care and caution.
The Shocking Truth About Working With Electricity
Working with electricity is one of the most dangerous occupations. Electricity always tries to find the most rapid route to a ground. In safe conditions, this would be along the cord or wires that contain it. If there is a fault in the cord or wire, it will find whatever it can, metal, water, wet wood or a human. Humans are excellent conductors. If you come in contact with a wire or a faulty power tool while grounded, the electrical current will pass right through your body, seeking a ground. This causes a serious, sometimes lethal consequences.
Below are stated some facts:
- dry skin has the average resistance of 100 000 – 600 000 ohms
- wet skin has the average resistance of approximately 1 000 ohms
As You can see, it does not take much wattage to do serious damage. One 7.5 watt Christmas decoration light has the power to kill a person if it passes close to the heart.
Effects Of Current On The Human Body
Below are stated some facts regarding currents effects on a live human body:
- 1mA causes no sensation, human body cannot feel it.
- 2-8mA causes sensation of shock, but one will not feel any pain. A person can release contact, control is not lost.
- 8-15mA causes painful shock, control is not lost
- 15-20mA causes painful shock, muscle control is lost, individual cannot let go
- 20-75mA results in painful shock, severe muscle contractions, breathing becomes difficult
- 75-200mA causes very painful, ventricular fibrillation of the heart, it is most often a lethal heart condition for which there is no known remedy or resuscitation. Most likely a person dies.
- over 200mA results in severe burns, such severe muscle contractions that the chest will squeeze ones heart to the point it will stop during shock. These severe contractions actually stop ventricular fibrillation. In many case the victim can be revived with immediate artificial respiration
Keep Your Working Environment Safe
Most accidents in the workplace are cause by carelessness. Before beginning working with electrical equipment, check all cords and connections for possible wear. When working in wet or dirty conditions, verify that tools and extension cords are rated for these conditions. Always use circuits equipped with ground fault circuit Interrupters. These are specifically designed to prevent shock. Make sure all cords are free of oil and corrosive chemicals and not warm to the touch. Never, remember never yank a cord from the socket, kink or bend cords. Always unwind them completely before using and keep cords loosely wound in a dry place. Never carry power electrician tools around by the cord. The cord should be wound around the electrician tool or in a loose circle when not in use. Make sure power tools are in the “off” position before plugging them into a power source, and before unplugging after the use. Always keep cords behind You, and away from the cutting end of the tool. When reaching inside equipment, be aware of any areas that may be energized.
To keep laborers safe, employers have introduced a lockout/tag out system. When working inside heavy equipment or large machinery, another employee might not notice You, and inadvertently turn on the power. The lockout/tag out system prevents such tragedy from happening. Others will notice the lockout sign or tag and know that somebody are in there working. Make sure You know all the guidelines and procedures applied at Your workplace. Never cut corners, even in times when You think job will take just a second (it will take longer to lockout than to actually do the job). That is the reason why they are called accidents. We never intended them to happen. It is always better to be safe than sorry.
Take Good Care of Your Equipment
One of the largest safety issues in the workplace is people not caring for the equipment they use. So you dropped the power saw in a mud puddle. You do not have any time to clean it, correct? Wrong! Dirt and moisture increase the risk of electrical shock. Remember at all times to take care of Your electrician equipment. Always keep them clean and dry, as well as Your workspace and storage. Always make sure the electrical tool is unplugged during a cleaning, and follow the proper cleaning procedures as outlined in tool’s manual.
Make Safety A Habit!
Being truly safe means one has to practice safety at all times, not just from time to time. When You make the safety a habit, it becomes second nature. Without even giving it a second thought, You will automatically coil cords the right way, You will naturally use the lock out procedure, and You will constantly be on the lookout for any possible dangers. When you spot potential safety issues in the workplace, inform other people around and report to management. If you are qualified for the particular repair job, solve the issue right away. If you are not qualified, do not try to fix the problem. Not only will You put Yourself and others at risk, You can make the situation worse.
Majority of electrical injuries can be prevented when safety is a habit. Many people just do not pay enough attention, causing safety issues in the workplace. After You have been doing a job for so many years, You tend to cut corners and not be alert to risks the way a newbie does. Of course, there are electricians who sustain trauma in their early years, but in most cases it is the experienced worker who lets his guard down.
Keep Control of Your Emotions
Do not allow frustration or anger affect Your judgment. So You have been trying to get this one little piece of equipment to work properly for a long period of time, but it is sill not working properly. Take a breather, just relax and calm down. Frustration, anger is the breeding ground for disaster. Shortcuts are the fastest way to different traumas or lethal result. You might think You can get the job done quicker if the safety guard would not keep slowing You down. Taking off the safety guard means asking for trouble. It was not put there for good looks, instead – to keep You safe. Keeping Your electrician equipment and working area clean and dry, and inspecting cords and equipment before using them might take a bit of time, but it is time well-spent.
Everything Is Up to You
Safety is every ones responsibility. Either You are starting Your way to become a licensed electrician, or are experienced in particular field, watch out for Yourself and others at all times. Safety issues in the workplace may one day be a thing of the past if everybody is more careful and respects their working environment.