The number of OSHA violations, injuries and fatalities by electrocution clearly shows us that electricity is a major hazard for workers in industrial, maintenance and construction settings. Most electricity-related incidents are caused by:
- Failure to recognize electrical hazards before contacting an energized source (conductors and circuits, damaged or bare wires, defective equipment or tools)
- Improper use of extension and flexible cords
- Contact with overhead power lines
Here are some helpful hints to help reduce electrical injuries at the workplace:
- Locate and identify utilities, both overhead and underground, before starting work!
- Always lockout/tagout to control the electrical energy source(s) – 10% of industrial safety incidents can be prevented by effective lockout/tagout procedures!
- Never leave exposed energized conductors or circuit parts unattended (e.g., close equipment doors and/or replace covers).
- Look for overhead power lines before operating any equipment that could make contact.
- Maintain the proper distance from power lines by learning safe distance requirements.
- Do not operate portable electric tools unless they are grounded or double-insulated.
- Use ground-fault circuit-interrupters (GFCI) for protection.
- Be alert for electrical hazards when working with ladders, scaffolds or other platforms.
At Cyanco, we additionally conduct a standard Job Energy Analysis as part of our Hazard Recognition Process (HRP) before any maintenance or repair work takes place on equipment or machinery. Employees are required to answer a series of questions before they start a job, such as:
- What energy is involved? (e.g. pressure, motion, electrical, etc.)
- Where is energy going?
- How will we manage the energy for a safe job?
- What are specific ‘stop-the-job’ triggers?
Taking a few extra minutes – and a few extra steps – helps protect employees from hazardous energy exposure and the risk of serious injury.
Electrical hazards are not only a leading cause of workplace fatalities, they’re also among the most frequently cited OSHA violations. Please visit OSHA’s Electrical Safety page for electrical safety standards, tools and training and the ESFI workplace safety page for more information on keeping your people out of harm’s way.
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