7 Common Electrical Safety Hazards in the Workplace

Written by LetsBuild

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Keeping your employees safe is a must, especially if you want to be successful, both now and in the future.  While there are so many different types of hazards, the ones that are considered the most deadly are electrical.  Any type of electrical hazard can cause an electric shock, which is bad enough, but some of those shocks can also cause a person’s heart to stop beating and they can end up dying from what seemed like such a little thing at the time.

While you would like to say that all your employees are well-versed in electrical hazards and they are all safe on the job, you cannot guarantee that completely.  It only takes a second for an electrical hazard to become deadly, which is why acting quickly to remove all electrical hazards is critical.

1. Damaged Tools and Equipment

We know that you try to use equipment that is top of the line and that you inspect it regularly.  However, we also know that things happen, and inspections go by the wayside and tools and equipment are sometimes used when they are past their prime.

It can be quite dangerous to use any type of tool or piece of equipment that is damaged, especially when the wires, cables, or cords are cracked, cut, or falling apart.  You might be tempted to wrap electrical tape around these items, to buy you a little more time before having them replaced, but that is dangerous for your employees.

We recommend either replacing those items completely or having a professional repair person fix them for you.

2. Overloaded Circuits

It is common to plug in extension cords, so that you can have more than two items plugged into one outlet.  However, all those extra cords can cause the circuit to become overloaded, which can then start a fire.

You should also make sure that all your wiring is up to date, because even an underloaded circuit can become problematic if your wiring is not up to code.  Overheating can occur quickly, and it can easily start a fire within the walls.  The worst part about that is the fire can burn, and even smolder, for hours before you realize what is happening.

3. Power Lines

If you are working outside, you, and your employees, may encounter power lines.  It is recommended that you all stay at least ten feet from these power lines and that you keep all your equipment away from them as well.  Simply knocking into these power lines while working can cause electrocution or massive burns.

You may be tempted to store items underneath power lines, especially since no workers will be in that area.  However, that can be just as dangerous, because if those power lines do spark, it can cause the items underneath to catch on fire.  That fire will then spread to the rest of the job site.

4. Wet Conditions

Power is everywhere nowadays, but that doesn’t mean that you should mess with it in areas where it is wet.  If you need to plug something in, but you notice water nearby, you should walk away immediately and alert someone that there is a dangerous situation.  If you fail to do that, and choose to plug the item in anyway, you risk getting electrocuted as soon as the plug begins to get power from the outlet.

You also should not try to use any type of equipment once it gets wet, because the water and electricity will not mix and can cause you to become electrocuted as well.

5. Electrical Parts that are Exposed

There are quite a few electrical parts that can become exposed over the years, but the most common ones include detached insulation on cords, temporary lighting, and open distribution units.  When these items are left exposed, you have a greater risk of getting burned or shocked.

If you notice any exposed electrical parts, you must have them repaired immediately.  Failure to do so would be reckless, so if you cannot repair them right away, you must stop using those items until they can be repaired or replaced.

6. Damaged Insulation

Insulation can also become damaged over time or it can simply stop working as it should.  You must turn off all the power in the area where you find damaged insulation, so that an accident does not happen before it can be replaced.

You might be tempted to cover the insulation that is damaged with electrical tape, but that is the worst thing that you can do.  After all, that tape is not going to keep the electricity from flowing through and it is just one more thing that can go up in flames.

7. Grounding is Done Improperly

It is always imperative that you ground all your electrical properly, because that is the only way that you can reduce the risk of unwanted voltage and prevent people from getting electrocuted.  The one thing that we see the most is the removal of the metallic ground pin.  So many people think that this pin is not necessary, but we can tell you that that is the one thing that is keeping all the extra voltage going towards the ground.

Now that you know what the most common electrical hazards are, you can easily walk around your workplace and start taking the proper precautions.  We also recommend having a few safety meetings with your employees, so you can share these electrical hazards with them and give them the knowledge they need to stay safe while doing their job.  Those meetings should also be repeated on a yearly basis, so that everyone can be reminded of the dangers of these seven electrical hazards.

You may even want to create a checklist that your employees can use every day when they arrive at work, so they can spot new electrical hazards before they get to the point where they cause problems.  If everyone is checking on certain items every single day, you will have more success in keeping all your employees safe and out of harm’s way.

Do not delay when it comes to electrical hazards and learning how to avoid them, because you never know when one small electrical shock will lead to permanent injury or even death.