Give Your Electrical Safety Knowledge a Jolt
Have you ever seen old photos of early twentieth century businesses or households where multiple electrical cords were plugged into a single outlet? Electrical service was still somewhat novel at that point, and a safety sense wasn’t instinctive. Today, we’re used to electricity and undoubtedly even take it for granted. We also know so much more than previous generations about what to do to be safe around electricity. Service technicians generally know there is still a risk of shock by an electrical motor capacitor, even after the power has been turned off. But, sometimes we forget or ignore safe procedures, so reminders never hurt.
Here are some twenty-first century safety awareness tips for everyone who works around electricity.
Water and electricity do not mix! Keep them apart.
Get Grounded! All equipment should be properly grounded and plugged into grounded circuits.
Before each use, inspect electrical equipment, tools, cords, and outlets. Use only equipment free from defects. Take appropriate action with any unsafe conditions you find.
Get rid of the metal. Remove metal jewelry and headgear before working with electrical parts.
Protective gear. Wear approved, insulated gloves and other personal protective gear.
Tools need protection, too. Electrical tools should be non-conductive or double-insulated.
Check and protect cords. Protect electrical cords from excessive wear and kinks.
Properly carry tools. Never carry tools or equipment by their cord.
Get rid of worn-our or broken equipment. Dispose of worn or frayed extension cords.
Have procedures and follow them. Follow your company’s procedures for operating electrical equipment around flammable or corrosive chemicals.
GFCIs. Use GFCI outlets when possible.
Keep your distance. Stay away from energized parts.
Keep conductive materials away. Conductive materials, such as steel wool, metallic cleaning cloths, and some chemical solutions should be kept away from electricity sources.
Use Lockout/Tagout. Be sure lockout/tagout procedures are used during maintenance and repair of electrical equipment. Communicate your plan with others who may be affected.
Turn off the power. Shut off the electrical supply whenever possible before working on equipment.
Years of experience working with electricity have taught us to respect the power it provides. That power makes our lives simpler through the many ways we put it to work for us. We just need to remember to use it properly and wisely so we remain safe at work.
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