Electricity can kill or severely injure people and cause damage to property. However, you can take simple precautions when working with or near electricity and electrical equipment to significantly reduce the risk of injury to you, your workers and others around you. Humans are good conductors of electricity. This means if the open electric circuit comes in contact with our body, we’ll get a shock. The electric current will pass through our body from one point to another causing great pain, burns, damage to the tissues, nerves and muscles. This could even lead to death.
This section provides a summary of those precautions.
Types of Workplace Electrical Injuries
The four types of injuries that can occur due to electricity are:
- Electric shock
Common Electrical Hazards
Most injuries are a result of the following:
- Poorly installed, faulty and/or ill-maintained electrical equipment.
- Faulty wiring.
- Overloaded or overheated outlets.
- Use of flexible leads and extension cables.
- Incorrect use of replacement fuses.
- Use of electrical equipment with wet hands or near the source of water.
It is important that you educate your office workers about electrical safety.
Tips to Prevent Workplace Electrical Incidents
- Unplug or switch off electrical appliances when not in use or while cleaning, repairing or servicing.
- Ensure that all electrical appliances are turned off at the end of the day.
- Don’t forcefully plug into an outlet if it doesn’t fit.
- Refrain from running electrical cords across doorways, under the carpets, or in areas that witness regular activities.
- Maintain a clearance of at least 3 feet from all electrical panels.
- Use only equipment that is double-insulated and properly grounded.
- Don’t overload the outlets.
- Ensure that two extension cords are not plugged together.
- Only use electrical equipment that is approved by a national testing laboratory. Buy electrical equipment from trusted electrical liquidators who sell good quality electrical surplus materials.
- Pay attention to the warning signs. Equipment may heat up, spark, smoke or make weird noise; Identify the signs and immediately take it out of service.
- Regularly check for defects in cords and equipment. Report immediately if any.
- Place a cover or guard to exposed electrical components or wires.
- While unplugging, grip the plug and pull. Don’t pull the cord from a distance.
- Do not use electrical equipment or appliances with wet hands or near water and wet surfaces.
- Clearly identify potential electrical hazards, such as electrical panels, with appropriate safety signs.
Who is Competent to do Electrical Work?
A competent person is someone who has the suitable training, skill and knowledge for the task to be undertaken to prevent injury to themselves and others. A successfully completed electrical apprenticeship, with some post-apprenticeship experience, is one way of demonstrating technical competence for general electrical work.
More specialized work, such as maintenance of high-voltage switchgear or control system modification, is almost certainly likely to require additional training and experience.
Overhead Electric Lines
- Be aware of the dangers of working near or underneath overhead power lines. Electricity can flash over from them, even though machinery or equipment may not touch them
- Don’t work under them when equipment (eg ladders, a crane jib, a tipper-lorry body or a scaffold pole) could come within a minimum of six metres of a power line without getting advice. Speak to the line owner, eg the electricity company, railway company or tram operator, before any work begins.
- Always assume cables will be present when digging in the street, pavement and/or near buildings
- Consult local electricity companies and service plans to identify where cables are located.
Key points to Remember
- Ensure that workers know how to use the electrical equipment safely
- Make sure enough sockets are available. Check that socket outlets are not overloaded by using unfused adaptors as this can cause fires
- Ensure there are no trailing cables that can cause people to trip or fall
- Switch off and unplug appliances before cleaning or adjusting them
- Ensure everyone looks for electrical wires, cables or equipment near where they are going to work and check for signs warning of dangers from electricity, or any other hazard. Checks should be made around the job, and remember that electrical cables may be within walls, floors and ceilings (especially when drilling into these locations) etc
- Make sure anyone working with electricity has sufficient skills, knowledge and experience to do so. Incorrectly wiring a plug can be dangerous and lead to fatal accidents or fires
- Stop using equipment immediately if it appears to be faulty – have it checked by a competent person
- Ensure any electrical equipment brought to work by employees, or any hired or borrowed, is suitable for use before using it and remains suitable by being maintained as necessary
- Consider using a residual current device (RCD) between the electrical supply and the equipment, especially when working outdoors, or within a wet or confined place.
You can get more training from RCL Safety Centre thru https: www.safetycentre.ng/training_register
At RCL Safety Centre this training is also available in different Nigerian languages like PIDGIN,YORUBA,HAUSA AND IGBO
Our company (RCL Safety Centre) is an indigenous company dedicated to Health, Safety and Environment Training and Services.
We are technical partners of the National Industrial Safety Council of Nigeria (NISCN) as well as approved training partners of most major International Occupational Safety and Health organizations like NEBOSH, and corporate members of ISPON (Institute of Safety Professionals of Nigeria) with thousands of personnel trained in various areas till date.
For more information visit our website: www.safetycentre.ng
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