05 Aug Ways to Prevent Electrical Workplace Accidents
Today, in every workplace almost everything operates on electricity. The electrical equipment used in a workplace has some potential risk that can cause a serious shock or burn injuries if not properly maintained or used. There is a chance of getting electrified when you touch an electrically charged object as it is capable of conducting electricity to the ground. Then a current passes between the two points of contact and this can cause great pain, burns and even at times death.In Australia, there is a record of approximately 40% of the victims related to electrical workplace accidents every year. It accounts that on an average around 30 lost-time injuries and one death occur due to electrocution in Western Australia.
Different ways of getting electrically injured
Electrical injuries can take place in many ways, like when a worker is exposed to an electric conductor or part of an open circuit. This can lead to heart problems, loss of breath and muscle spasms. There can also be an injury if electricity is passed from a circuit or conductor through a gas into a grounded worker. This type of injury is considered to be serious and can often lead to death. Additionally, workers can also be injured by electrical fires or falling from heights after being electrified.
How fatal is electricity?
People can feel electrical shocks at levels of as low as approximately 1 milliamp (mA), which is known to produce a slight tingling sensation. If this flow of current is increased above 5 mA and left unattended, it can cause irregular heart rhythm, loss of muscular control and finally lead to cardiac arrest. 5 mA is only a small fraction of the current needed to light a 60-watt bulb.
Tips to prevent
There are different ways of getting electrocuted, you can prevent all of these with proper training, education and precautionary measures like:
- You should only use equipment that is properly grounded or double-insulated
- Make sure that you do not overload the power outlets
- Never plug multi-outlet bars to some other multi-outlet bars
- Try and minimize the use of extension cords and avoid plugging in two extension cords together
- Never run electrical cords, extension cords or power cords through pedestrian walkways or under rugs or mats as it can cause issues with the wires or create possible tripping hazards
- Use equipment that has been particularly approved by a national testing laboratory
- Always be alert of the warning signs. Like if an item feels hot, makes an unusual noise, smoke comes out or it sparks, stop using immediately and get it repaired or replaced
- Keep inspecting cords and equipment regularly, in the case of any defect report immediately
- Always keep any exposed electrical components, wires or sources of electricity supply covered or guarded to ensure employees are aware of any kind of possible hazards
- Make sure you disconnect or unplug machines before giving them for servicing or repairing and cross-check to see if the machine is actually disconnected and turned off. Always unplug cords from the outlet by properly gripping the plug, don’t just pull the cord from a distance
- Never use electrical equipment or appliances on wet surfaces as water is a good conductor of electricity. If the device by chance comes in contact with water or any other liquid chemicals, shut off the power of the equipment immediately and unplug it. You can even turn off the main switch or circuit breaker
- Avoid using electrical equipment with wet hands. If the equipment is of high-voltage you can consider wearing non-conductive gloves along with insulated-soles shoes
- Damaged cords must be immediately repaired, especially in wet environments like bathrooms, kitchen or damp rooms
- Never use any electrical equipment near any loaded circuits
- If you are working with only one hand, remember to keep the other hand away from all conductive material. This can prevent accidents that result in current passes through the chest cavity
In every workplace, protecting employees from any kind of electrical hazards should be the employer’s one of the primary duties. This can be achieved by an initial safety assessment of the workplace. Arranging a professional walk through the facility can be a good way of identifying any hidden hazards and accordingly planning how to correct the issues.
It is urged, that as a business owner you should consider calling over a master electrician or a licensed contractor for the initial installation of power points and safety switches to ensure ultimate safety.