Electrical Safety Month is over, but Safety is Important Year Round
May marked the time of year for National Electrical Safety Month. What did you and/or your employer do to participate? Many Employers held toolbox talks on electrical hazards in their facilities or about the job performed by employees in the field. They may have done refresher training for their employees or, more simply, handed out an OSHA quick card.
Electrocutions are one of the fatal four for the construction industry. Among the General Industry Standards, multiple electrical standards made the top 10 most frequently violated and cited standards in 2014. The cited standards include: control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout), electrical wiring methods for components and equipment, and electrical systems design under general requirements.
Working with electricity can be dangerous if someone is not trained properly. Most jobs require the use of an energy source. Electricity is the most typical type of energy usage. Such professions as engineers, linemen, electricians, and others work with electricity directly, including overhead power lines. Even though it may be indirect, office workers may also be exposed to electrical hazards.
OSHA’s electrical standard for general industry in the 29 CFR regulations for general industry in Subpart S, or starting at §1910.301. As a reminder on some of handling basics when dealing with live energy, you should use equipment that is approved to meet OSHA standards. You should not modify cords or use them incorrectly. This includes additional precautions like not creating trip hazards. When you remove cords from an energy source, do this by pulling on the plugs, not the cords.
Normal use of equipment in industry can causes wear and tear that results in insulation breaks, short-circuits, and exposed wires. You should be inspecting such equipment regularly to look for signs of wear, such as frayed cords, missing ground prongs, and cracked tool cases. You should also be sure to have ground-fault protection in place to help ensure protection to workers. If not, it can cause a fault that sends current through a worker’s body. This can lead to electrical burns or electrocution (death).
OSHA offers a topics page specifically addressing electrical standards, construction, hazard recognition and much more. Also, found on their website under the publication tab are links to quick cards and fact sheets that may be of relevance to you in regards to working with electrical hazards. The most basic is the Electrical Safety Quick Card. There are more publications available at this OSHA link that offers these free resources.