Almost everything in a workplace setting today operates on electricity. Electrical equipment is potentially hazardous and can cause serious shock and burn injuries if improperly used or maintained. If a part of the body comes into contact with the electrical circuit, a shock will occur. The current enters the body at one point and leaves at another point. This passage of electricity can cause great pain, burns, and even fatalities.
To protect workers, you should properly educate them and ensure that your work environment is safe and free of electrical hazards. Below are a few basic tips to help prevent electrical accidents in the workplace:
1. Use only equipment that is properly grounded or double-insulated.
2. Do not overload outlets.
3. Do not plug multi-outlet power strips into other multi-outlet power strips.
4. Only use equipment that has been approved by a national testing laboratory such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
5. Minimize the use of extension cords. Do not plug two extension cords together.
6. Do not cover power cords or extension cords with rugs or mats, as this can cause issues with the wires, create potential tripping hazards, or fires.
7. Do not run electrical cords through pedestrian aisles; this creates tripping hazards.
8. Unplug or disconnect machines before service or repair, and check to make sure the machine is actually disconnected and powered off prior to service (Lockout Tagout).
9. Do not ignore warning signs. If an item feels hot, makes an unusual noise (buzz or hum), smokes or sparks, take it out of service immediately and tag it "Do Not Use".
10. Inspect cords and equipment regularly, and report any defects immediately.
11. Cover or guard any exposed electrical components or wires, and make sure employees are aware of any and all hazards.
11. Unplug cords from the outlet by gripping the plug. Do not just pull or jerk the cord from a distance.
13. Do not use electrical equipment or appliances near water or wet surfaces without a properly working GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter).
14. Never use electrical equipment when your hands or the equipment is wet.
As with all workplaces, protecting employees by eliminating or controlling hazards should be everyone's goal, employer and employee alike. A good first step is to conduct a safety assessment of your workplace. Having a professional walk through your facility can help identify hidden hazards. Once the assessment is complete, they can help to create a plan to correct those issues.
DiVal offers facility and jobsite assessments and audits, Job Safety Analyses (JSA's), classes in Electrical Safety Work Practices, and much more! Check out our training programs or call your DiVal Safety sales representative for a list of training classes, offerings, and programs.