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Helping Keep Electricity Safe

- June 18, 2018 by Guest Bloggers (View all posts by Guest)

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 to 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. Did you know that OSHA expects you to provide training on the hazards of electricity to all employees who work directly with electricity or who work with electrical equipment? Providing employees with these facts can motivate them to follow electrical safety rules.

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. OSHA has an excellent resource to help with training that I encourage you to check out at this link.

There are many things that a company can do to prevent electrical incidents. Providing an insulator between the current and the employee can protect the employee from shock, but there are more effective methods of providing protection.

  • Double insulated tools: Double grounded tools. (These need to be labeled 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.

Please check out Diego’s blog on electrical preventative maintenance programs.  As I mentioned at the start, sometimes you cannot see the deterioration that may lead to an electrical incident so a preventative maintenance program is very important.

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


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