Did you know that since 2003, there have been at least 2,000 electrical injuries and at least 150 fatal electrical injuries in the workplace? Statistics like this show why taking the proper precautions in your work environment is crucial.
Creating change in the workplace and improving habits of workers doesn’t need to be a reactive process. This change can start with simple, proactive tactics like education, training, and awareness to keep employees safe while on the job. Below are five tips to help ensure proper electrical safety in the workplace.
Utilize OSHA’s Electrical Safety Standards & Regulations
The OSHA Act of 1970 requires employers to provide employees with a workplace that is free from recognized hazards that could cause death or serious physical harm. Educating employees on OSHA’s standards and regulations is one of the most important elements of workplace safety.
Do Not Overload Outlets
One of the most common causes of electrical-related injuries is overloading an outlet. An overload occurs when you draw more electricity than the receptacle can safely handle. Signs of an overload consist of dimming lights, buzzing outlets or light switches, outlets that are warm to the touch, a burning odor, or tool/appliances that lack sufficient power when plugged into an outlet.
Inspect Electrical Equipment
Inspect any piece of equipment that requires electricity and the outlet you’re using before operating. For safe use of the equipment, check to make sure the power cord is not damaged, inspect the outlet that you’ll be using to ensure it can handle the electricity output, and if you’re using an extension cord to power the piece of equipment, check to make sure there are no exposed wires or damage to the extension cord.
Lockout/Tagout Machines Before Servicing
Following the proper lockout/tagout procedures can protect employees from the dangers of accidental or unexpected electrical injuries. When servicing is required for any piece of machinery, it’s important to turn the electrical current off at the switch box, disconnect the power source, and lock the power control in the OFF position. A person certified in the lockout/tagout procedure must perform this procedure.
Ensure Proper Insulation
Insulation on metals and other conductors, such as glass, mica, rubber, and plastic, can help prevent shock, fires, and short circuits. Before connecting any electrical equipment to a power source, check the insulation for any exposed wires, cracking or damage to the insulation, or any other possible defects that are a cause for concern. The insulation used to cover extension cords or flexible power cords are especially vulnerable to damage.
Protecting employees by eliminating or controlling hazards should be everyone’s goal, employee, and employers alike. To learn more about how to prevent electrical injuries in the workplace, contact our electrical service division, Denny’s Electrical Service or visit the electrical safety section of OSHA’s website.