Keeping some workplace safety tips in mind may well save Your or fellows life. The first thing You learn when training to become an electrician is how to work safely. It is everybody’s responsibility to keep the workplace safe. Working with electricity requires extreme care; the electrical currents running through homes and businesses have enough power to severely injure, or kill. Even something as simple as changing a light bulb while the lamp is still plugged in the outlet can be dangerous. Being in contact with the live part of the socket can cause electrocution.
Workplace Safety Tips: Static vs Dynamic Electricity
Every electrical system has the potential to cause serious hazards. Electricity is either static or dynamic. First one – static electricity – is an accumulative charge as a result of friction. One may experience this when, for example, walking on carpet, or when opening car doors after a trip. This type of electricity can be painful in the moment, but is rarely dangerous to life, unless there is a flammable substances in the area that might cause an explosion. Second one – dynamic electricity – runs through a conductor. Most conductors are made of metal. In order to exist, an electric current needs an unbroken line to and from a load through the conductor. This lets electricity to form a loop.
For instance, when somebody plugs in a power electrician tool, the electricity flows from the plug to the tool and then back to the source of power. This is known as completing the circuit. Accidents take place when people become part of this circuit. As we already know, humans are excellent conductors. In other words, getting in path of the flowing electricity will result it in flowing through Your body.
Workplace Safety Tips: Avoiding Electrocution
Getting in the way of the current can cause electrocution, electric shock, burns and other serious trauma. These injuries can be result of:
- Direct contact with electrical energy. Electricity running through ones body interferes with its body’s electrical signals. This can cause heart to stop or beat irregularly, stop breathing, or cause muscle spasms.
- Electricity arcs. Electricity may arc through gas, such as air to find a ground. In case You are standing in the path of the arc, it will hit You.
- Arc flashes. An electrical arc may result in high heat-causing burns, intense light causing blindness, or ignite nearby materials, such as clothing.
- Arc blasts. An arc blast is basically the same as a flash, but much more intense. It may also include a powerful pressure wave. A pressure wave can cause damage to machinery, throw You back into a wall, on the floor, or on a sharp object, rupture ear drums, or collapse lungs.
- Thermal burns. These are usually caused by heat flashes from an electrical arc, or from flame burns if clothing catches fire. A high-voltage contact burn can burn tissues under skin, while leaving just a minor injury on the surface.
- Muscle contractions, or being suddenly startled, can cause You to fall off a ladder, scaffolding or an aerial bucket. Such fall can be lethal.
Work Safety Tips: Working Around Electricity
General workplace safety tips for working around electricity contain:
- Inspect tools, power cords and all electrical fittings for excessive wear or damage every time You have to use them. Repair or replace any damaged equipment immediately.
- Keep cords out of the way by taping them to the floor or the wall. Do not use nails or staples, as they can damage the cord and cause shock or fire hazards.
- Apply equipment rated for the wattage or amperage you are working with.
- Always use the proper size fuse. A larger size fuse can cause an excessive current or even start a fire.
- Watch out for unusually hot outlets. That might be a sign of unsafe wiring conditions within the wall. Unplug all cords using the outlet, and do not use the outlet until a qualified electrician checks the wiring.
- Remember to use ladders made of fiberglass or other non-conductive material.
- Keep halogen lights as far as possible from any combustible materials, like cleaning cloths or drapes. Halogen lamps may become extremely hot and become a fire hazard.
- The chance of electric shock increases in wet and/or dirty conditions. Installing ground fault circuit interrupters can prevent serious injury as they can stop the electrical circuit.
- Secure that any exposed receptacle boxes are non-conductive. Touching a receptacle box made of conductive materials can cause shock or electrocution.
- Make sure to know where all of the breakers are located in case of emergency.
- Check that circuit breakers and fuse boxes are marked clearly. Every switch should properly identify which appliance or outlet it supplies.
- Recall that it is bad idea to use cords or outlets with exposed wiring. Do not simply tape up the exposed wires, instead replace the cord, or have the outlet properly repaired immediately.
- Avoid using power tools that have their safety guards removed. The safety guards were engineered and positioned there for a simple reason; to keep you safe. Taking them off fails their purpose, and creates a hazard for Yourself and people around.
- Never block access to fuse boxes or circuit breakers. Someone may need to reach them in an emergency situation. Blocking access can turn a minor incident into a serious calamity.
- Never grab a person or an electrical tool during an electrical accident. Make sure to disconnect the power first. You do not want to watch someone being electrocuted, but becoming part of the circuit yourself will not help him. Disconnecting the power may save his life.
Workplace Safety Tips: Working With Power Tools
When working with all kinds of power tools, just remember these workplace safety tips:
- Check that power tools are turned to “off” position before plugging them into a power supply.
- Disconnect the power supply before making any adjustments.
- Verify that tools are grounded properly, or double insulated. A grounded tool must have the correct three wire cord with a three-prong plug. The plug must be plugged into a proper three-pole outlet, which is properly grounded.
- Test electrician tools before use with a ground fault circuit interrupter or a continuity tester for effective grounding.
- Do not operate tools by plugging in and disconnecting the power cord. Always use the switch to turn the tool on and off.
- Avoid using electrical tools in dirty or wet environments, unless it is connected to a ground fault circuit interrupter.
Stay safe and keep everyone around You safe when working with electricity!