Staying Safe From Shock: Electrical Hazards in the Workplace

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worker fixing and doing maintenance on the facility

When workers are adequately trained, they are able to recognize and control electricity-related hazards on the job, making it extremely safe to work around electricity. However, the lack of training and experience, in addition to their failure to identify potential hazards, could cause a number of accidents, leading to fatalities in extreme cases.

Among all the industries, the construction industry is the most at risk from electricity-related hazards. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 52% of all fatalities in the workplace are due to electric accidents occurred in the construction industry.

So, what are the effective ways to avoid these dangers?

One of the most common hazards throughout construction sites in the U.S. is electrocution, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). By educating workers on how they can identify any electrical hazard at work, they will learn about the risks involved, the extent of damage, and how these can harm other workers.

Here are some of the most common electrical hazards in the workplace and what you can do to mitigate these risks:

Malfunctioning Tools and Equipment

Exposure to damaged electrical tools and equipment can be extremely dangerous. Unless you are a qualified electrician, never attempt to fix these issues on your own. See if there are cuts or cracks on the wires, cables, and cords. If there are visible defects, call a professional electrician in your Salt Lake City neighborhood for repairs and replacement. Be aware of the Lock Out Tag Out (LOTO) procedures and follow these before starting electrical repairs and maintenance. These have been put in place to protect all workers on the worksite.

Overhead Power Lines

Powerlines on blue sky background

Overhead powered and energized electrical lines contain high amounts of voltage, so they have been known to cause major burns and electric accidents to workers in the construction business. To stay safe, always keep a minimum distance of 10 feet from overhead power lines and other equipment nearby. Do regular site surveys to make sure that there is nothing underneath overhead power lines. In addition, install barriers and signs nearby to serve as warnings for non-electrical workers who are also present in the area.

Overloaded Circuits and Improper Wirings

Fires and overheating often occur due to wires with sizes that are inappropriate for the current. To prevent these issues, choose the suitable wire for the electrical load and operations. Also, if you have to use an extension cord, make sure it is designed specifically for heavy-duty use. Use the right circuit breakers and avoid overloading an outlet. It is also highly recommended to conduct regular fire risk assessments.

Finally, never use any kind of electrical equipment in wet locations. It should be common knowledge; how water increases the risk of electrocution to a great length, but many still forget this fact. Do not be like them and practice cautionary measures at all times. The risk increases even greater if the equipment has damaged insulation. Contact a qualified electrician to do the appropriate amount of inspection first.

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