With improved engineering and design of electrical systems, the amount of hazards that electricians face has been significantly reduced. However, electrical work still poses certain risks that make the job particularly dangerous. It is estimated that 600 people die every year from electrical causes—most of them involving low-voltage power (600 volts or less). Following these safety tips can help mitigate the danger of working in low-voltage systems:
Don’t Cut Corners to Finish Quicker
Electricians are often pressed for time, and even those with plenty of experience have been known to cut corners. While it may be tempting to finish the job quicker, these are where simple mistakes are made that could spell danger for electricians. For example, forgetting to turn off the power before beginning their work is a common mistake in electrical work.
Another is replacing a fuse with a piece of wire rather than acquiring a new fuse, which puts workers at risk for injury. To return home safely and injury-free, it is critical that electricians don’t cut corners in their line of work.
Keep Up on Best Practices and Safety
All types of electricians must go through certain training requirements to become a licensed electrician, but it is important that they take the initiative to continually learn. By keeping up-to-date on the latest electrical practices and safety recommendations, electricians can find ways to become more efficient and reduce their risk of danger. Electrical contracting companies should hold regular meetings to discuss safety-related issues so that everyone can identify certain hazards and safety risks.
Use Personal Protection Equipment
Those who install low-voltage systems need to be aware of certain hazards that require the use of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE). The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) specifies in 29 CFR 1910 that employers are responsible for assessing the workplace and determining what hazards are present and whether they require the use of PPE. To determine the specific type of PPE that certain hazards require, electricians and contractors should look to the National Fire Protection Association’s Safety in the Workplace standard (NFPA 70E).
In addition to PPE, electricians should be using updated equipment and tools. Working with outdated equipment can give electricians a false sense of security that leads to accidents. You can trade in your unwanted electrical equipment to Relectric and get some fast cash in return to purchase new equipment that will keep you safe.
Don’t Forget About Obvious Hazards
It makes sense for an electrician to always be aware of electrical hazards, but it is critical that they recognize non-electrical hazards as well. In addition to electric shock, electricians can also be at risk of trips, falls, burns, or even asphyxiation caused by working in confined spaces. All electrical workers need to keep a tidy work area and follow OSHA standards for a safe work environment.
Use Lockout/Tag-Out Procedures
In many industries, lockout and tag-out procedures are used to isolate potential energy sources before anyone begins performing electrical work. The potential for an unexpected start-up of released energy puts electricians at risk, and it is important that procedures are developed by employers to reduce this risk. Employers are also required to train their employees to ensure that they know and understand how to follow these procedures.
By following these lockout/tag-out procedures carefully, electricians can verify that the circuit is de-energized, and then install a personal lock and tag on the group lock box. This helps control hazardous energy and significantly reduces the risk of injury to electrical workers.
Speak Up When Something Isn’t Right
As an electrical contractor or electrician, there may be times when a situation doesn’t feel right or there is a clear hazard that needs to be addressed before you continue working. Even if this might delay the work, it is critical that electricians speak up about the issue rather than ignore it. Customers may or may not become frustrated at the delay, but it is better to risk this temporary frustration over a permanent injury.
Staying Safe on the Job
Thanks to tight deadlines and high customer expectations, there is a great deal of stress on electricians to perform their jobs efficiently. While performing the job in a timely manner is important, safety should be a priority for all electricians. To remain safe on the job, it is recommended that electricians follow the safety tips listed above.