Many workers who do not work directly with electricity may need to know the potential hazards. Your Home Solutions must follow electrical safety procedures such as locking out and insulating equipment when not in use.
Workers should call 811 before working on overhead or buried power lines to get them marked and de-energized. Cords, cord connectors, and receptacles should be audited regularly for signs of wear and tear.
Working with electricity is a common activity in many workplaces. However, it can be dangerous if proper safety measures are not taken. Electrical hazards include electric shock, burns, and even electrocution. These can all be prevented if workers take appropriate precautions. These measures should consist of frequent inspection and testing of equipment, locking and tagging out any power sources, and properly using isolation and multi-lock systems. This can save lives and prevent severe injuries.
Electricity can cause several different types of burns, depending on the source. Thermal burns can be caused by arc flash and are usually more serious than other burns. Strong acids, alkalies, or detergents often cause chemical burns. These are typically more serious than different types of burns, as they can damage the inner layer of skin, called the dermis.
The most serious type of burn is a severe burn, defined as any burned area encompassing more than 20 percent of the total body surface area (TBSA). This is typically accompanied by significant pain and swelling, blistering, and loss of sensation in the affected area. Severe burns require hospitalization and often result in disfigurement. They may also cause difficulty breathing, requiring respiratory support and ventilation tubes. If there is a large amount of burnt tissue, it may need to be surgically removed or treated with skin grafts.
Workplaces should ensure that employees are trained on the risks associated with electricity and have access to the proper equipment. Workers should also be encouraged to report any potential electrical hazards they see. This can help identify new hazards before they become too dangerous. Finally, workplaces should create a checklist for employees to use daily to ensure they are checking on any potential hazards. This can help keep employees safe and reduce the chances of them suffering a potentially deadly injury from something that seemed like a minor electrical hazard at the time. The most important thing is to take all possible steps to avoid electrical accidents at work. This is good for employee health and wellness and can lower the risk of a fire or other accident that could cost the company money.
Those who work with electricity are at risk for electrical shock. This can happen when a person accidentally becomes part of an electric circuit that isn’t supposed to include them. When this occurs, the current flows through the person’s body to the ground. This can cause serious injuries, including burns and loss of limbs. It can also lead to death if the heartbeat is stopped and cannot be restored using an automated external defibrillator (AED).
When an electric current passes through the body, it heats it. This can result in burns that are often very deep and may be permanent. It can also damage nerves, and muscles contract so strongly that they break bones or dislocate joints. When this happens, a victim may fall over or into machinery or structures. Shock can also cause loss of consciousness, leading to secondary injuries such as falls or collisions.
The shock intensity level depends on the voltage, how it travels through the body, and the length of time that the person remains in the circuit. A person can feel a shock at a voltage as low as one milliampere, although this is usually not harmful. The higher the voltage, the more likely it is to cause a fatal injury.
Some people are particularly susceptible to high-voltage shocks, especially children and young teenagers who have mischievously explored artificial or natural objects that conduct electricity. These people might be killed by appliances in homes and businesses powered by up to 110 or 220 volts of direct current.
The best way to prevent this is to keep all appliances plugged in and switched off. Check extension cords before using them to ensure they are not frayed or damaged, and don’t touch live power cables. Ensure your workers are not working at heights where they could contact overhead power lines, and encourage them to report any faulty equipment or dangerous conditions they see while on the job. This will reduce the risk of electrical accidents and injuries at work.
Many home items, including televisions, computers, game systems, etc., use electricity. Those items can experience a surge or overheat, resulting in a fire. Workers who work with electricity may also be at risk of a fire hazard in the workplace.
Electrical fires can be caused by faulty wiring and equipment, overloading of outlets and circuits, and more. When a fire starts, it can quickly spread to other areas and be very dangerous. Workers working with electrical items or fire in their workspace should always follow safe procedures and report all issues immediately.
Shock and burns are the two most common hazards that workers can experience from contact with electricity, but electrical fires and electrocution are also possible. Fires can be started by direct contact with an energized conductor, arc flash, or arc blast. Injuries from these events can include severe burns, lung damage, ruptured eardrums, and shrapnel wounds. They can also cause blindness and death.
Some ways to prevent electrical fires are ensuring that all equipment is properly grounded, proper clearance in front of electrical panels, and guaranteeing all junction boxes are covered. Additionally, it is important to ensure that all employees are adequately trained in handling electrical items and spotting potential issues.
Workers should never touch a downed power line, as this can carry an electric current strong enough to kill them. If you see a downed line, call the electricity utility company immediately and avoid touching it at all costs. If you must move away from it, shuffle with small steps instead of running, which could lead to an electric shock.
Workers should only be allowed to work on electrical equipment when it is de-energized and locked out and when safety measures such as isolation and multi-lock systems are in place. Workers should be trained and qualified to perform electrical tasks, and clear procedures should be in place for handling hazardous equipment.
Electrical injuries can be as devastating as fires. They can also cause permanent and irreversible damage to the nerves, heart, lungs, and brain and can be fatal. Electrocution can occur when a person comes into contact with live wires or faulty equipment. Those who work around electricity and electric devices are most at risk for electrocution, but even home workers can be injured by frayed cords or malfunctioning gadgets.
The most obvious effect of electricity on living tissue is heat. Electricity passes through any conductor – which includes the human body – and dissipates its energy as heat, causing pain and sometimes burns. It can also burn tissue well beneath the skin and injure internal organs.
An arc from a live circuit to a person’s clothing or hair causes painful, burning, red-and-white, or charred-looking marks that may blister or swell up due to chemical changes in the tissues. The arc can also travel up the back of the neck and down the spine, causing fractured bones and spinal column injury.
Electrocution is often the result of contact with overhead power lines or buried cables. In addition, improperly grounded extension cords can cause shock. Even currents of only a few thousandths of an amp (milliamperes) can cause fatal injury to the victim, depending on the current path and the exposure duration. Hand-to-foot, head-to-foot, and ear-to-ear paths of current flow have the greatest potential for causing injury and death.
Workers in several occupations, including engineers, electricians, and overhead line workers, are at a higher risk of electrocution. Other construction trades with elevated electrocution rates include roofers, HVAC mechanics, and laborers.
Employers should provide insulated tools and testing equipment to reduce the risk of electrical hazards. They should be regularly inspected and tested to ensure they are in good condition and safe to use. Workers should be trained to identify and locate energized and de-energized equipment and maintain a minimum clearance distance from power lines when working outdoors. They should be taught not to touch anything that appears “live” – such as a downed power line or a frayed extension cord – and to always ask for help when unsure what to do.