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Helping Keep Electricity Safe

- July 2, 2018 by Bruce Logan (View all posts by Bruce)

Electrical hazards exist where there is need to provide power to equipment, lighting, etc. Electrical shocks can occur unexpectedly, at any time and often without notice. That’s why it’s often referred as the “silent killer.” Unlike a machine that may show signs of deterioration or misuse, electrical issues may show no such signs of a problem brewing.

We could get into the physics of electricity, but let’s concentrate on the effects of electricity. As you likely know, electricity generally travels the shortest path to ground. The human body has low resistance to the flow of electricity. In other words, it’s a good conductor. As electricity passes through the body, it can cause disruption of heart activity, muscle contractions, thermal burns and death. The heart and lungs are in the line of this flow of electricity. An electrical shock is an incident. Electrocution is death resulting from electricity.

Although providing an insulator between the current and the employee can protect the employee from shock, there are more effective methods of providing protection.

Double insulated tools: Double grounded tools. (These need to be labelled as such).

Grounded tools:  Fully grounded. (To verify, use a ground tester).

Heavy duty (grounded) cords: These have labels indicating “S”, “SJ”, or “SJ0”. (Flat cords are not heavy duty).

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI): This device automatically shuts off the current if there is an abnormal flow of current.

Lock Out Tag Out (LOTO): Make sure that you have a LOTO policy that meets OSHA standards. In short, lock out the current when working on or repairing machinery or equipment.

Hopefully, these suggestions will help your experiences with electricity, good ones. Please share your ideas with us – I’m sure there are many.

 Additional Resources can be found at OSHA’s website.

 

 
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