It’s Time to Revisit Your Electrical Safety Policy
By Allegiance Staffing
May 12, 2014
For every 13 electrical injuries in the workplace, one employee dies. That’s a stark reminder of the importance of electrical safety in the workplace and ensuring employees are taking the necessary precautions to avoid accidents and injury.
Electrical Safety Foundation International, a nonprofit organization that promotes electrical safety in the home, school and workplace, has declared May as National Electrical Safety Month, According to ESFI, workplace electrical incidents result in more than 300 deaths and 3,500 injuries each year. While electrical hazards are not the leading cause of on-the-job injuries and fatalities, they are disproportionately fatal and costly, ESFI notes.
Consider these statics from ESFI:
- Electrical accidents on the job cause an average of 13 days away from work and nearly one fatality every day.
- The nonfatal workplace incidents that cause the highest number of days away from work include contact with an electrical current or a machine, tool, appliance or light fixture (38%), and contact with wiring, transformers or other electrical components (33%).
- Over the last 10 years, more than 46,000 workers were injured from on-the-job electrical hazards.
- During the work day, a worker is hurt every 30 minutes so severely from electricity that it requires time off the job.
Injuries mean lost productivity, which means lost profits. That doesn’t have to be the case – most of the injuries and fatalities could have been prevented.
Does your business put a high priority on safety training and awareness of electrical hazards? National Electrical Safety Month is a good time to revisit your safety policy and involve employees in a refresher course on electrical safety.
Here are a few safety policy tips from ESFI:
- Complete a detailed job plan and communicate it to all co-workers.
- Understand the construction and operation of the electrical equipment and the hazards involved.
- Identify all possible energy sources that could pose on-the-job hazards.
- Before working on or around electrical systems or equipment, identify the load circuits and disconnect. Remember, in some cases, turning power off may cause other hazards. Such hazards and additional guidance should be addressed in your work plan.
- Select the appropriate personal protective equipment and wear it until the electrical system is in a safe condition.
- Never assume that the equipment or system is de-energized. Remember to always test before you touch.
- Use lock-out/tag-out procedures.
- Make sure your test equipment is working properly both before and after you use it.
- If at any time the job becomes more hazardous than you had anticipated, stop and revise the plans.
ESFI offers additional resources for creating a safe work environment on its workplace safety webpage. You also can purchase “Common Electrical Safety Mistakes: Best Practices for Avoiding OSHA Violations and Citations” from BLR.com.