Electrical safety in the workplace is not a matter of compromise. The voltage levels at workplaces are often higher than the ones at residential buildings. This mandates electrical safety and related precautions at the workplace.
Electrical injuries in the workplace can happen directly or indirectly.
- Direct electrical dangers: They can happen when a person comes in contact with a live wire or energized circuits.
- Indirect electrical dangers: This can include accidents such as:
- Coming in contact with arcs circulating in the air
- Skin getting burnt due to the heat of arcs
- Damage to organs like lungs, ears, and eyes due to arc blasts, flashes, and high noises respectively.
- Loss of limbs also happens due to accidents related to running machinery.
Depending on the severity of the accident, deep tissues and muscles might be impacted. Electrical accidents at workplaces can be fatal too in severe cases.
Here is a list of 5 basic electrical safety in the workplace that is to be considered with utmost importance:
1. Safety of Extension cords with switches:
Extension cord with switch is one of the important electrical appliances in the workplace. To eliminate risks related to an extension cord with a switch, one must make sure that they are of the best standards while purchasing.
Keep the cords at ventilated spots, clearly visible to personnel working on the floor. Extension cords are meant for temporary usage. They should never be a replacement for the main switchboard. Switch them off as soon as their purpose is done.
Electrical cords should not run below the carpets. They should not come in the way where the staff keeps moving across. Also, never connect two or more electrical extension cords with switches.
Workplaces are prone to different types of faults involving ground and lines. Double-check if the cords can withstand such faults prior. The cords should also be capable of bearing high loads, especially when working with heavy-duty machinery.
2. Safety of Personnel :
Employee electricity safety training is a must for workplaces. The management must ensure that the workplace is safe for the staff. Maintain a mandatory clearance of at least 3 feet should for electrical panels. Only well trained and qualified employees must be assigned duties on the floor.
Before assigning an electrical duty to the person, their consent is mandatory. They should also fully be aware of the safety hazards involved in the work. They must know all the corresponding measures to work safely.
In case a person is working with a device with mains, all the rest of the staff should be aware of it. Place a DO NOT SWITCH ON MAINS – WORK UNDER PROGRESS board at the mains without fail.
The gloves, goggles, apron, and shoes that electrical staff wear must adhere to all safety standards. The person should be fully aware of electrical wiring standards and color codes because these may vary from country to country.
3. Safety of Powerpoints:
The powerpoints at workplaces are designed to meet the design of the industry level electrical appliances. Inspect them regularly for any breakages and damages.
Electrical sockets with safety switches suit well for workplaces. The staff working should always remember to switch off the PowerPoint after removing the device connected to it.
Only compatible devices should be connected to powerpoints. Forcing or attempting to connect incompatible devices in any form may lead to severe electrical hazards.
Never overload the sockets. Replace broken or damaged sockets with immediate attention.
4. Safety of devices:
Machinery at the workplace is designed for high ratings of voltage. They should have sufficient insulation and grounding for the utmost safety.
Erect warning signs at the equipment that come under the high-risk category. All the devices must undergo regular physical and technical inspection.
Strictly avoid water sources and wet areas in the proximity of devices. Water, floor, and the human body are all electrical conductors. Even an accidental combination of these can result in irreplaceable damage to the staff.
Replace equipment that can add to the heating levels with better alternatives. The workspace should be well lit and have proper ventilation to ensure the free flow of air.
5. Safety of tools
Allied tools and accessories that staff use should be of industry standards. Helmets, testers, stools for climbing, insulation mats on the floor near the equipment, etc. all come under such category.
Trying to work with damaged equipment or covering broken parts with tape etc. can pose a threat to the worker.
Any negligence level while choosing and working with tools such as power drills, wire strippers, pliers, and screwdrivers may invite mishaps. Use wooden and fiber-based stools to reach higher areas rather than metallic ones.
The electrical safety at the workplace is a responsibility of both a group and individual responsibility. Regular inspection and thorough knowledge of safe usage of devices help prevent electrical accidents. All the equipment should comply with the best of industrial standards.
Overload protection, trippers, integrated on/off switches, and circuit breakers must be present at the workplace. Staff should possess knowledge of electrical safety and device handling. Electrical safety is not a matter of once and for all. It is a responsibility that one should remember and follow every day and every instant.