Electrical HazardsElectrical Hazards can be averted, if safety requirements are asserted.
Every year tens of thousands of people are injured or killed from electrical shocks or contacts in the United States. Employees are exposed to dangers such as electric shock, electrocution, burns, fires and explosions. It is essential to understand that electricity is lethal for us and how we can save our lives.
Electricity has long been recognized as a serious workplace hazard!
It’s extremely important to train your employees on electrical hazards that may be present at a work place and should always be part of your work plan and hazard analysis. Training plays a very important role in the prevention of employee’s injuries and deaths. Training must include instructions on how to de- energize electrical equipment before inspecting and repairing, lock out/tag out procedures, using personal protective equipment, and how to use chords, cables and electrical tools properly. Employees must be trained with safety related work practices according to their respective job assignments.
- Learn about types of injuries that may result from contact with electricity.
- Learn methods of protection from electrical hazards.
- Study training and other essential factors associated with electrical safety.
In the window cleaning industry, we use and work with water every day. It’s essential for window cleaning technicians to know and understand how water affects the flow of electricity and creates risks.
Pure water is a poor conductor. But small amounts of impurities in water like salt, acid, solvents, or other materials can turn water itself and substances that generally act as insulators into conductors or better conductors. Dry wood, for example, generally slows or stops the flow of electricity. But when saturated with water, wood turns into a conductor. The same is true of human skin. Dry skin has a fairly high resistance to electric current. But when skin is moist or wet, it acts as a conductor.
This means that anyone working with electricity in a damp or wet environment needs to exercise extra caution to prevent electrical hazards. When working on extension ladders, Mobile Lifts or using Water Fed Poles and extension poles, you always have to be careful of overhead power lines.
How can you protect yourself from overhead power 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. Before working under or near overhead power lines, ensure that you maintain a safe distance to the lines and, for very high-voltage lines, ground any equipment such as cranes that can become energized. If working on power lines, ensure that the lines have been de-energized and grounded by the owner or operator of the lines. Other protective measures like guarding or insulating the lines help prevent accidental contact. Employees unqualified to work with electricity, as well as mechanical equipment, should remain at least 10 feet away from overhead power lines.
When mechanical equipment is operated near overhead lines, employees standing on the ground should avoid contact with the equipment unless it is located outside the danger zone. When factoring the safe standoff distance, be sure to consider the equipment's maximum reach.
Guidelines to remember:
- Always assume the powerlines are energized.
- Use wood or fiberglass ladders, avoid metal ladders.
- Stay at least 10 feet away from power lines.
What is the best way to protect yourself against electrical hazards?
Most electrical accidents result from one of the following three factors:
- Unsafe equipment or installation.
- Unsafe environment.
- Unsafe work practices.
- Lack of Training.
- No work plan.
- Inadequate PPE.