Electricity has long been recognized as one of the more serious workplace hazards, having the potential to result in serious harm from shocks or burns. As well as injury to workers, poor electrical safety also poses a risk to the site, with faulty equipment increasing the chance of fire or explosion.
It is the responsibility of the business owner to ensure health and safety measures are in place, creating a safe working environment that aligns with OSHA standards. To take a step in the right direction, here are some of the top most effective ways to prevent electrical hazards in the workplace:
Train employees on correct usage
For both new and existing employees, regular training should be given to ensure that everyone on site is cautious of their actions, helping contribute towards a safe workspace. Standard procedures everyone should follow include raising awareness if a damaged plug is spotted, not connecting appliances with exposed wiring to the mains, and avoiding overfilling plug sockets. Those who have to use particular electrical equipment should know how to properly operate it without being tempted to take shortcuts, following guidance on electrical labels which serve as an ongoing reminder to operators.
Introduce electrical safety guidelines
Every company, whether large or small, should introduce a set of electrical health and safety regulations that create a standardized set of rules within the business. These guidelines should not only consist of training employees on how to act regarding electrical appliances but should also apply to the equipment itself. Any new electrical equipment should undergo a thorough risk assessment by an Electrical Safety Expert to ensure it aligns with the safety standards and does not pose a threat to the surroundings.
Turn off electrical appliances after use
If an appliance is in constant use, it is not given the chance to cool down and this could result in damaged components. When not in use, an electrical appliance should be switched off at the mains to prevent overuse, a good habit that all employees should get into from early days to contribute to a safer working environment. Especially when the workplace is closed overnight and nobody is around to monitor the appliances, keeping appliances plugged in significantly increases the risk of fire or explosions.
Carry out regular maintenance checks
It is not always immediately obvious whether an electrical appliance is faulty or damaged. Because of this, business owners have a legal obligation to perform maintenance checks on every electrical appliance within the workplace, often carried out once per year. This is designed to examine a building’s electrical wiring systems and identify any potential hazards so they can be resolved before they have time to escalate. These tests must be carried out by trained professionals so normally an external company is brought in, using specialist equipment to thoroughly test the appliances and provide certification if the electrical appliances are fit for use.