Posted by Ashley Bechtel in #YHSafetyTips, Apr 12, 2017
Do you know the dangers of working with electricity? The risk of electrocution is not the only danger that you face. You also have to be aware of potential fires and explosions as well. This week, we will cover how to recognize a potential hazard and how to stay safe when working around electrical equipment, including power lines, as well as what guidelines OSHA has put in place.
Electricity flows through conductors including metals, water, the earth, and even the human body. It must have a complete circuit or path to flow. Let's consider an electric saw that one might encounter on a construction site. The complete circuit that the electricity follows is restricted to the power source, the power cord, and the tool. If any of these parts are damaged and results in an interruption of the electrical circuit, the person operating the saw will become part of that circuit and will be shocked.
Common Electrical Hazards
What is Grounding?
Grounding is the process used to eliminate unwanted voltage and is a physical electrical connection to the earth. This process greatly reduces the risk of being shocked or electrocuted.
Tips to reduce risk of electric shock
If you or your workers will be in contact with electricity, it is a good idea to invest in PPE (Personal Protective Equipment). Hard hats, rubber or insulating gloves, and insulating clothing can all come in handy when working with electricity. Keep in mind that metal hard hats should not be used around electricity, as metal is a conductor.
Before using electrical equipment
Before you use any electrical equipment, including power tools, you should inspect it and the cord for cracks, damaged insulation, broken ground pins, frayed line cord, loose parts, and any other kind of damage that may be present. Do not use the equipment if you find any kind of damage.
OSHA requires the use of GFCIs on all construction sites. So, what is a GFCI? It is a fast-acting circuit breaker that can sense small imbalances in the circuit caused by current leakage to the ground. They look for a difference of approximately 5 milliamps and will match the amount of current coming and going to an electrical device.
To view more tips directly from OSHA, you can view their quick card on "Electrical Safety" by clicking here.
Did you miss last week’s post on Ecotoxicology- Safety? You can find it here
Check back next week when we discuss CPR.