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  • Eve Robles

Electrical Safety In The Workplace

Every workplace today operates on electricity, so workplace electrical injuries are a real threat in any location. All electrical systems used in offices have the potential to cause serious harm, especially if improperly used or maintained. Humans are good conductors of electricity. This means if the open electric circuit comes in contact with our body, we’ll get a shock. The electric current will pass through our body from one point to another causing great pain, burns, damage to the tissues, nerves and muscles. This could even lead to death.

Types of Workplace Electrical Injuries

  • Electric shock

  • Burns

  • Falls

  • Electrocution

How Injuries Can Happen

  • Direct contact with exposed electrical circuits or energized conductors.

  • Electricity arcs (due to exposed energized conductors or circuit) circulating in the air can pass through a person who is grounded.

  • If the skin gets in touch with the heat generated from electric arcs, it burns the internal tissues.

  • The light emitted from an electric arc flash (UV and IR) can cause damage to the eyes.

  • When the potential pressure is released from an arc flash, there is an arc blast, which can collapse your lungs, cause physical injuries, or create noise that can damage hearing.

Common Electrical Hazards

  • Poorly installed, faulty and/or ill-maintained electrical equipment.

  • Faulty wiring.

  • Overloaded or overheated outlets.

  • Use of flexible leads and extension cables.

  • Incorrect use of replacement fuses.

  • Use of electrical equipment with wet hands or near the source of water.

It is important that you educate your office workers about electrical safety. Here are some important tips to prevent electrical incidents. Tips to Prevent Workplace Electrical Incidents

  • Unplug or switch off electrical appliances when not in use or while cleaning, repairing or servicing.

  • Ensure that all electrical appliances are turned off at the end of the day.

  • Don’t forcefully plug into an outlet if it doesn’t fit.

  • Refrain from running electrical cords across doorways, under the carpets, or in areas that witness regular activities.

  • Maintain a clearance of at least 3 feet from all electrical panels.

  • Use only equipment that is double-insulated and properly grounded.

  • Don’t overload the outlets.

  • Ensure that two extension cords are not plugged together.

  • Only use electrical equipment that is approved by a national testing laboratory. Buy electrical equipment from trusted electrical liquidators who sell good quality electrical surplus materials.

  • Pay attention to the warning signs. Equipment may heat up, spark, smoke or make weird noise; Identify the signs and immediately take it out of service.

  • Regularly check for defects in cords and equipment. Report immediately if any.

  • Place a cover or guard to exposed electrical components or wires.

  • While unplugging, grip the plug and pull. Don’t pull the cord from a distance.

  • Do not use electrical equipment or appliances with wet hands or near water and wet surfaces.

  • Clearly identify potential electrical hazards, such as electrical panels, with appropriate safety signs.

Proper employee training plays a crucial role in avoiding electrical injuries at work. Fortunately, most of the electrical hazards can be easily prevented and controlled with a little caution and regular checks.

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