Electrical hazards in the workplace can cause serious injuries and fatalities if workers and employers do not take appropriate safety precautions. To raise awareness of National Electrical Safety Month, which takes place in May, the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) created a campaign that educates audiences about how to prevent injuries, fatalities, and property loss associated with electrical accidents, including fires. The campaign offers a wide range of resources, including fact sheets, tools to help promote electrical safety, and media outreach materials that will help employers establish an effective electrical safety awareness campaign in the workplace.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the following are examples of injuries that electrical workers are exposed to:
Electrical shock injuries: These injuries are caused by direct contact to an electrical wire or equipment and require immediate medical attention to avoid permanent damage.
Burn injuries: Electrical burns from direct contact with currents, or thermal burns from arc flashes or blasts are very serious. Arc flashes can cause deadly burns within seconds.
Fall injuries: When working from ladders or in other high locations, workers can fall from heights. In addition, they can be exposed to electrical currents from live wires.
Death by electrical shock: If a worker is exposed to too much current for a prolonged period, it can have fatal consequences.
Electrical Safety Tips for the Workplace
Electrical hazards can cause a range of serious safety issues, including fires, property loss, injuries, and fatalities. Fortunately, many of these issues can be avoided by taking simple safety precautions, including the following:
Indoor Safety Tips
Replace all electric cords that are damaged, frayed, or cracking. Avoid overloading electrical outlets, as this is a fire hazard.
Extensions cords should only be used on a temporary basis, and not for permanent household wiring.
Avoid running wires under carpets or rugs. Electrical cords should not be nailed to walls or floors.
Never place electrical appliances or tools near water. If an appliance has become wet, turn off the power breaker, then unplug the appliance and remove it from the water.
If children are in the vicinity, use outlet covers. Never insert anything into an electrical outlet, other than an electrical plug.
If you notice any flickering lights, sparks, or outlets that do not work, contact a licensed electrical contractor to ensure that the system is functioning properly.
Outdoor Safety Tips
Downed power lines are extremely dangerous. Never touch them or try to move them. Call 911 or a local utility company immediately and let them know that power lines are down.
When using a ladder or working on an elevated area, watch for overhead power lines.
Some utility lines are underground, so be sure to check the area for utility lines, pipes, or cables before digging or excavating in the area.
Do not plant trees in the vicinity of power lines or utility equipment.