Electrical Safety In The Workplace

Most people think only electricians need to be worried about being electrocuted on the job. But many other occupations are at risk of being injured or killed from electricity. Construction workers have the largest risk. People who work with computers and audio-visual equipment are also at risk, but virtually every employee is exposed to electricity in some capacity.  

According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), in 2016, 154 workers died from electricity, and another 1,640 were injured severely enough to require at least one day off work. Here's what you should know to avoid becoming a statistic.

What Potential Electrical Risks Occur In The Workplace? 

Equipment that isn't regularly serviced and maintained can have faulty connections. Electrical cords that have become frayed can cause injury if a worker touches the exposed wires. This often happens from people not unplugging cords at the plug and pulling on the cord instead. Computer technicians who work in Information Technology and the entertainment industry are often responsible for connecting and disconnecting the different components of computers, speakers, and other audio or video equipment. Troubleshooting office or other equipment while it is plugged in is another safety hazard.

What Kinds Of Electrical Injuries Happen?

Depending on the voltage and how long a current flows through the body before the circuit is broken, a worker may suffer an electrical shock, they may be burned, or they may be fatally electrocuted.

What Electrical Safety Tips Should All Workers Follow?

Employees should unplug cords by gripping the plug rather than just yanking it out by the cord. Any appliance or electrical device that needs to be cleaned or inspected for issues should be unplugged; simply turning it off is not enough. Employees who are not authorized should not attempt to repair malfunctioning electrical devices. Workers also need to be aware of any spills or standing water in the presence of electricity. Water, coffee, or other liquids can cause electronic devices to become ungrounded, which can lead to electric shock. Any equipment in a basement is more prone to shock because of the increased moisture common subgrade.

What Electrical Safety Training Do Employees Need?

This varies depending on the industry, job title, and work environment. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has regulations and basic training materials for the construction and maritime industry as well as general employees. Some industries use specific organizations, such as Building Industry Consulting Service International, Inc. (BICSI) to ensure their employees are thoroughly trained and stay current and abreast of industry standards.