Electrical Safety Precautions

Industry runs on electricity. It is safe to use when you know what you are doing and take proper precautions. When precautions are neglected, electricity can become a killer. 
 
How you are affected by electrical shock depends of the following factors: 

•    The rate the current flows through your body. This depends on how good your body conducts electricity. If you have dry hands and are standing on a non-conductive surface such as a rubber mat, you may not even feel a shock. If you are sweating or standing in water, you could be killed. 
•    The length of time the current flows through your body. The longer the electric contact, the greater the current flow and the greater the shock. 
•    The path the current takes through your body. The most dangerous path is through vital organs. 

Your actions can protect your safety. 

•    Read and follow instructions before handling anything electrical. If you don’t understand the instructions, get qualified help to assist you… Don’t guess. 
•    Plugs should only be inserted in receptacle outlets with the same slot or blade pattern, unless proper adaptors are used. Don’t force or alter a plug by bending, twisting, or removing blades to make it fit into a receptacle outlet. Water conducts electricity. Keep wet hands from touching electrical equipment or light switches. 
•    Firmly grip the plug, not the cord, when disconnecting equipment. Yanking the cord can damage the cord, plug, or receptacle outlet and result in a shock or fire. Because electricity is present even when the switch is in the “off” position, unplug equipment, appliances, and extension cords when not in use and before inspecting, cleaning, or fixing them. 
•    Recognize signs of overloaded circuits including flickering or dimming lights, blown fuses, warm wall plates or extension cords, and tripped circuit breakers. 
•    Receptacle outlets and switches should not be painted or covered with wall paper paste. 
 
There is no margin for error when working with electricity. Conditions vary so much that without the facts, you may make a mistake and  cause injury to yourself or fellow workers. 

Contact OMAG Risk Management Services if you have questions or suggestions for other topics related to municipal workplace safety issues.  (800) 234-9461 or kprichard@omag.org (Kip Prichard).

 

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