Electrical Safety 101
Every day electrical work is done on jobsites. From running electricity through walls, outlets, breaker boxes, extension cords, and even with the power tools we use we are surrounded by electricity. But do we stop and consider the hazards involved with working closely with electricity?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 212 workers died in 2007 due to electrocution on the job, and on average 7,600 workers are injured by electricity each year. Carelessness with electricity leads to injury, death and many times costly and time consuming fires. Review the electricity guidelines; they may save a life!
- Prohibit work on new and existing energized electrical circuits until all power is shut off and a positive Lockout/Tagout system is in place.
- Ground all power supply systems, electrical circuits and electrical equipment.
- Don’t remove the ground pin from a plug to fit an ungrounded outlet.
- Don’t fabricate extension cords with Romex® wire; this is not its intended use.
- If a cord has worn insulation or damaged wires, mark it and put it aside until the cord can be fixed or replaced.
- Make sure all breaker and junction boxes have covers; any empty breaker slots should have covers.
- Working from ladders, scaffolds or roofs make sure you have enough working room (at least 10 ft.) so that you will not come in contact with an overhead wire. If at all possible, contact your local electricity provider and ask that they wrap or power down the over head wire for the duration of the project.
For more information on electrical safety please check out the CDC’s Electrical Safety Manual. It can be downloaded for free and covers many of these areas extensively. http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2002-123/pdfs/02-123.pdf .
Using the guidelines above can help keep your volunteers and employees from needlessly suffering an injury from coming into contact with electricity. Take charge, and make sure your volunteers and employees understand, and practice, these electrical safety tips.