Electrical Safety 101
OSHA sets electrical safety standards to protect employees that are exposed to hazards that may put them in danger of suffering from electrical shock, electrocution, fires and explosions. Specific standards are set according to the type of industry.
Any employee working directly with electricity must wear arc flash protective clothing. This should include jackets, harnesses, insulated gloves and dielectric footwear. All of the equipment that is carried with the worker or that the worker will be using must also be insulted as well.
Electrical hazards can cause serious burns, shocks and electrocution (death). There are three main causes of accidents and injuries when working with or around electricity:
Unsafe acts happen for two reasons: the person knows better but performs the act anyway or the person does not know better.
Some examples of unsafe acts are:
-Failure to de-energize, lockout and tag out hazards
-Use of defective or unsafe tools
-Using tools that are too close to energized parts
-Using a 3-wire plug with a 2-wire plug
-Not turning off the power when repairing the equipment
-Use of homemade extension cords
-Unguarded live parts such as bare conductors or exposed terminals and in instances where metal parts becoming energized when plugged in.
-Flammable vapors, liquids and gasses
-Blocked electrical boxes, flammable materials being stored in equipment rooms and lack of proper hazard signs
OSHA has set forth some general standards for electrical safety
+ Assume that all overhead wires are energized. Never assume that a wire is safe to touch
+ Never touch a fallen overhead power line
+ Stay at least 10 feet away from overhead wires during cleanup
+ If an overhead wire falls on your vehicle, stay in the car and try to drive away from the electric line. Call the local electric company to come and remove the line from the car
+ Never operate electrical equipment while you are in water
+ Never repair electrical equipment unless qualified to do so
+ If equipment has gotten wet, do not use it until a qualified electrician has inspected it first
There is a high incidence of injury and death when working with and around electricity, which is why it is very important to follow electrical safety rules and regulations when around electricity. Following safety rules and using common sense can mean the difference between life and death.