Are You Qualified for Electrical Safety?

Electricity is an integral part of our lives both at home and in the workplace. In 1994, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 346 deaths were attributed to contact with electric current. Using safe work practices while working on or near de-energized electrical parts can decrease your chances of being injured from electricity.

Workers who work on or near de-energized electrical parts require training on how equipment is de-energized and locked/tagged out, how to safely work on or near de-energized parts, and what safeguards to use.

Electrical Currents

Electrical currents travel in closed circuits through conducting materials. You can receive a shock when a part of your body becomes part of an electric circuit. An electric current enters the body at one point and exits at another. High-voltage shocks can cause serious injury or sometimes even death.

You will get a shock if you touch:

       Both wires of an electric circuit.

       One wire of an energized circuit and the ground.

       Part of a machine which is "hot" because it is contacting an energized wire and the ground.

Exposure Effects

The effects of an electric shock on the body can range from a tingle where the body touches the circuit to immediate cardiac arrest. A severe shock can cause more damage than what can be seen.

Safety Rules

The following rules apply to all electrical equipment:

       Ensure your electrical equipment is maintained properly. Regularly inspect tools, cords, grounds, and accessories. Repair only if you are authorized to do so. Otherwise, arrange to have problem equipment repaired or replaced immediately.

       Ensure you use safety features like three-pronged plugs, double-insulated tools, and safety switches. Ensure machine guards are in place and that lockout/tagout procedures are followed.

       Install or repair equipment only if you're qualified and authorized to do so.

       Keep electric cables and cords clean and free from kinks. Never carry equipment by the cord.

       Avoid touching water, damp surfaces, ungrounded metal, or any bare wires if you are not protected. Wear approved rubber gloves when working with live wires or ungrounded surfaces. Rubber-soled shoes or boots should be worn when working on damp or wet surfaces.

       Avoid wearing jewelry or metal objects (ring, watches, etc.) when working with electricity.

Good work habits soon become second nature. Don't take chances with electricity. One mistake could cost you your life.

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