Electrical Hazard Awareness
Electricity is energy we depend on for our lives and for work. When electrical systems are installed and maintained properly, they are controlled effectively. There are two types of employees: electrical workers and non-electrical workers.
Question: When we are at work, which has the largest exposure to electrical hazards?
Answer: The workers who take electricity for granted and may not have an understanding of the hazards that can be produced.
Therefore, the non-electrical worker has the largest exposure to electrical hazards. OSHA requires that employers provide training to both electrical workers and non-electrical workers who can be exposed to electrical hazards.
Training For Electrical Hazard Safety
Electrical hazards are among our most frequent recommendations on construction sites, maintenance shops, and in factories with hazards such as damaged or unsafe electrical cords, outlets, panels, and conduits.
What some consider simple jobs can have a serious exposure to electrical hazards. Here are some examples:
- Penetrating drywall covered walls and ceilings
- Working in suspended ceiling areas
- Working around abandoned circuits that may still be energized
- Cutting or boring into concrete
Besides the activities associated with the work listed above, tools and equipment also need attention. Employees learn about electrical safety in the workplace from training classes, but they practice safety based on the support and examples they receive from management. If your workplace has damaged cords, outlets, panels and conduit, workers may come to believe that they are expected to work with unsafe equipment. Ignoring unsafe work conditions or employee behavior is the same as giving approval. With constant reinforcement of safe work practices, electrical safety will become part of your company’s culture.
Reinforcing Electrical Hazard Awareness
A simple example of constant reinforcement is increasing the focus on the use and condition of electric extension cords. In fact, one company instituted inspection of the cords both before and after work. Crews and supervisors also monitor the conditions of cords throughout the day. If damage is found, the cord is immediately removed from service for repair or discarded if necessary. This company also prohibits driving or rolling over extension cords, reducing both the chances of injury due to shock, and property damage due to fires. These are great examples of constant reinforcement and safe work practices.
Be sure to discuss safe procedures with other workers and either correct or report any unsafe conditions or behaviors. Don’t look the other way if you see a problem. You might be the one to save another worker’s life.