What electrical hazards are present at work sites?

Anyone who works around electricity needs to ensure that they are being safe. Electrocution is a life-threatening emergency, so the risk must be minimized as much as possible. While it is easy to think that workers should be the ones to do this, the duty falls on the employer.

There are two approaches that must be taken by workers who have to deal with potential hazards everywhere. One is that they must have proper tools and equipment. The other is that they should have appropriate training.

Who is at risk?

Everyone who has a job that puts them around electricity is at risk. Those who work in the construction industry account for 52 percent of all fatalities from exposure to electrical currents. Most often, this is due to contact with overhead power lines, but can also come from frayed wires and other sources of electricity. Electricians, engineers, and powerline workers are also at an increased risk.

What are the best ways to minimize risks?

The manner in which you minimize risks of electrical exposure depends on the specific hazards. While some situations might only have one of these present, others have multiple dangers listed below.

  • Damaged tools or equipment: Anything that isn't in good shape shouldn't be used. It should be tagged so that it can be either repaired or replaced. Using the lock out tag out procedure established by the company can reduce this risk.
  • Overhead power lines: Knowing where live overhead lines are located can help. These should be clearly marked so that they can be avoided. Anything that might come into contact with them should be kept a minimum of 10 feet away.
  • Open electrical components: Things like temporary lighting and electrical cords can cause shocks. Sometimes, these might be on the ground, which can lead to them coming in contact with water. Any contact with water should be avoided since it increases the chance of shock.
  • Overloaded circuit: Every outlet has a specific load limit that must be followed. Ideally, only single-outlet extension cords will be used since this allows the one item to be plugged in. Multiple outlet extension cords and power strips can quickly overload outlets.

Workers who suffer from an electrical shock will likely need to have medical care. This is typically an emergency and must be treated as such. These workers should qualify for workers' compensation benefits.

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