What are the basics of electrical safety?

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      Mike Wilson

      Electricity is needed in virtually every job, but it can also be one of the deadliest hazards in the workplace. When it comes to electrical safety, employers need to be aware of the hazards electricity poses, and how to eliminate or control those hazards.

      The most common electrical hazards include:

      • Shock: Electrical shock occurs when a current passes through the body, and electricity flows between parts of the body or through the body to a ground. Electrocution refers to the injury or lethal dose of electrical injury.
      • Fire: The leading cause of electrical fires is poor maintenance, but fires can also be caused by faults in electrical outlets, equipment cords, receptacles, and switches. In total, electrical fires account for 22% of workplace fires.
      • Explosions: An explosion, like an arc flash, are causes of electrical shock and fires in the workplace, and can be deadly. Arc flashes are a specific type of explosion resulting from the movement of unwanted electric discharge through the air from one voltage phase to another, or to the ground. On average, five to ten arc explosions occur in electric equipment in the U.S. every day.

      In our next post, we will look at how workplaces can use the Hierarchy of Controls to either eliminate or control common electrical hazards.

      Has your workplace recently addressed an electrical problem? Share your responses below!

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