Electrical Safety

Why is electrical safety important?

Electrical hazards can be fatal. It is important to follow the same systematic approach used for other health and safety issues when dealing with electrical safety. It is imperative to know how to work safely with or within the vicinity of electricity because electrical current in regular businesses and homes have enough power that, if exposed to, can be fatal.

What are the most frequent causes of electrical injuries?

The following hazards account for the most common electrical injuries:

  • Contact with power lines
  • Lack of ground fault protection
  • Path to ground missing or discontinuous
  • Equipment not used in the manner prescribed
  • Improper use of extension/flexible cords

Using electricity on site can be hazardous, in three areas especially:
– tools
– cords
– panels/generators

Tools

Use only tools that are polarized or double insulated.

  • Make sure the casings of double-insulated tools are not cracked or broken.
  • Always use a Type A ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) with portable electric tools
    operated outdoors or in damp or wet locations. GFCIs detect current leaking to ground from a
    tool or cord and shut off power before damage or injury can occur.
  • Any shock or tingle, no matter how small, means that the tool or equipment needs to be checked and repaired.• Take defective tools out of service.
  • Before drilling, nailing, cutting, or sawing into walls, ceilings, and floors, check for electrical wires or equipment.

Cords

  • Make sure that tool cords, extension cords, and plugs are in good condition.
  • Use only 3-pronged extension cords.
  • Make sure that extension cords are the right gauge for the job to prevent overheating, voltage drops, and tool burnout. 12 gauge is ideal.
  • Use cords fitted with dead-front plugs. These present less risk of shock and short circuit than
    open-front plugs.
  • Do not use cords that are defective or have been improperly repaired.
  • Protect cords from traffic.

Panels

  • Temporary panel boards must be securely mounted in a lockable enclosure protected from weather and water. The boards must be accessible to workers and kept clear of obstructions.
  • Receptacles must be GFCI-protected.
  • Use only generators with neutral bonded to frame.