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Electricity is a Serious Workplace Hazard, Protect Workers

Electrical hazards are everywhere, and even the safest companies need to make sure they have electrical safety reminders and safety meetings on a regular basis.

Electrical Hazards Danger Sign

Electrical hazards are an area of major safety concerns in many industries and account for a large number of injuries and fatalities. Electricity has long been recognized as a serious workplace hazard. OSHA's electrical safety standards are designed to protect employees exposed to dangers such as electric shock, electrocution, fires, and explosions.

OSHA General Industry Standard 1910.333(a) Safety-related work practices shall be employed to prevent electric shock or other injuries resulting from either direct or indirect electrical contacts, when work is performed near or on equipment or circuits which are or may be energized. The specific safety-related work practices shall be consistent with the nature and extent of the associated electrical hazards.

Never take electricity for granted! When the safety meeting focus is on electrical safety, make sure the following important points are discussed as a team.

  • Pay attention to Electrical Danger and Warning signs around the job site.
  • Use properly insulated tools if working with electricity.
  • Wear the right type of gloves or other personal protective equipment when working with electricity.
  • Notify mangers of electrical hazards when found.
  • Don't work on electrical equipment unless you have been trained, are qualified, and are equipped!
OSHA Construction Standard 1926.416(a)(1) states that no employer shall permit an employee to work in such proximity to any part of an electric power circuit that the employee could contact the electric power circuit in the course of work, unless the employee is protected against electric shock by deenergizing the circuit and grounding it or by guarding it effectively by insulation or other means.
  • Always determine where possible energized or "hot" electrical lines and parts are before starting any work.
  • Never work around energized lines, do not dig where buried lines are located, and do not touch "hot" electrical parts without proper protection and training.
  • Avoid contact with exposed electrical parts and report electrical hazards immediately.
  • Use insulated gloves that are designed, tested, inspected and rated for electrical work and for the correct voltage.
OSHA General Industry Standard 1910.333(c)(2) Only qualified persons may work on electric circuit parts or equipment that have not been deenergized… Such persons shall be capable of working safely on energized circuits and shall be familiar with the proper use of special precautionary techniques, personal protective equipment, insulating and shielding materials, and insulated tools.
OSHA Construction Standard 1926.416(a)(2) In work areas where the exact location of underground electric powerlines is unknown, employees using jack-hammers, bars, or other hand tools which may contact a line shall be provided with insulated protective gloves.

No matter the industry, Electrical Safety should be a topic of a safety meeting at least once a year. Never assume all employees have "the common sense" to not touch something that could shock them. Weeklysafety.com provides hundreds of safety meeting kits and toolbox talks including topics regarding electrical safety.

If you are interested in Electrical Safety and want to learn more, ElectricalSchool.org has put together an amazing glossary of electrical terms. This comprehensive list includes definitions, related links and videos for every term and acronym you can think of related to electrical work and safety.

Danger High Voltage Sign on Electrical Equipment

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