Compliance Corner: Electrical Safety

Did you know that three of the ten most violated (and cited) OSHA standards involve electrical safety? In fact, “Electrocutions” is one of OSHA’s Construction Fatal Four. The Fatal Four is a list of hazards that accounted for over 64% of fatalities in the construction industry in 2015. Of the construction fatalities, 8.6% of them dealt with electrocutions.

Electrocution is the main given to deaths caused by electrical shocks. Any contact of human body part with any source of electricity can result as current passing through muscles or hair and can cause death. Electrocution can also occur due to poorly insulated wire or undergrounded equipment. Some other causes include using electricity or electrical equipment while in contact with water. The most common cause of electrocution occurrence in workplace are avoiding OSHA and other safety regulatory practices by either employee and employer.

An average of one worker is electrocuted on the job every day.

There are four main types of electrical injuries

  • Electrocutions (death due to electrical shock)
  • Electrical shock
  • Burns
  • Falls

The following are some ways to prevent run-ins with electrical hazards at work:

  • Make sure your lockout/tagout program is up to date.
  • Routinely inspect extension cords and electrically powered tools for wear and tear.
  • If any extension cords or other electrical equipment have visible damage, ensure that they are removed from circulation immediately.
  • Ensure that all personnel are equipped with the proper knowledge and experience to handle hazardous energy.

Top 10 Electrical Safety Tips at work and home.

We may think we know all there is to know about the dangers of electrical mishaps, but there are still electrical safety rules to be strictly observed.

Here are some tips to help you maintain proper caution, to help keep you and your family safe around the house, and to avoid electrical fires and accidents:

  • Make it a habit to turn off electric games and appliances when they're not in use. Before going to bed, make it a routine to check that all electrical devices not in use are properly shut off.
  • Never overload electrical outlets. It's a safe bet to always use just one plug in every outlet. Even if you are using an adapter make sure it's the bar type that also has a fuse. The total output of all plugs in the adapter should be no more than the specified rating.
  • Adding a residual current device is an easy way to cut off power and prevent shocks. Another sensible option is to install one on the fuse box. Alternately, you can choose a portable one, which are ideal for outdoor uses.
  • It's a good idea to periodically keep an eye on the condition of the plugs and sockets. You should pay attention to any burnt or frayed wires on appliances.
  • Never allow wires or leads to run under carpets where they remain invisible. Besides being a tripping hazard it’s hard to see the state of the cables or wires.
  • Never ever allow electric wires or cables to trail over kitchen appliances like toasters or stove tops. These are very dangerous and are hazards of the worst kind.
  • Do not hammer in nails or try to make holes in the walls of your home without knowing what is behind the wallboard. It's a potential danger since you may not know what's behind your point of entry.
  • Contact your local utility locating services prior to any digging or excavating as you run the risk of cutting live underground wire.
  • Avoid mixing liquids and electricity. They should be kept as far apart as possible.
  • When using electrical devices near a water source, such as in a bathroom, always check for the wire coding on the appliances like hair dryers, hair straighteners or radios.