Best Practices, Health and Wellness, Risk Management, Safety and Compliance

Workplace Electrical Hazards

May is National Electrical Safety Awareness Month and a proper time to shed light about the potential dangers of electricity in the workplace.

According to the Electrical Safety Foundation (ESFI), there were approximately 10 fatalities per month from 2011-2022 involving electricity in the workplace.

Common Workplace Electrical Injuries
The CDC states there are four main types of electrical injuries workers face daily:

  1. Electrocution (fatal)
  2. Electric shock
  3. Burns/Arc blast
  4. Fatal falls from height (ladders) caused as a result of contact with electrical energy

Preventing Workplace Electrical Injuries
By using the Hierarchy of Hazard Controls safety system, it’s possible to create an approach to reducing and eliminating risks in the workplace (CDC November 10, 2010). Another great tool, Take 5, published by the Texas Department of Insurance, shares some best practices on how to create a more safe workplace:

  • Wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
  • Inspect power cords regularly and replace any that are frayed or have damaged insulation covers. 
  • Ground all power supply systems to ensure that all electrical equipment, electrical circuits, and power supply systems are grounded. 
  • Do not overload circuits to ensure that all circuit-breakers or fuses have the correct rating. 
  • Always use Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) to interrupt the flow of electricity within as little as 1/40 of a second. 
  • Disconnect electrical equipment from its power source before repairs. Never assume the electrical device has been unplugged.
  • Follow manufacturers’ instructions to avoid electrical shock, always use tools and equipment as intended and as outlined in the manufacturer’s instructions. 
  • Inspect tools before use to ensure that all tools are in good working order.
  • Never use electric appliances or tools near water. 
  • Use double-insulated tools with non-metallic cases and a manufacturer’s label that says “double-insulated,” which means the insulation is inside the tool. 
  • Keep tools and equipment clean and inspect them after each use. 
  • Look for overhead power lines.
  • Call 811 Before digging.
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