Electrocution is one of the worst injuries a person can experience. Unfortunately, in our modern civilization there are a number of jobs that require handling of electrical equipment thus exposing a lot of workers to potential threat. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), an average of 350 workers suffer electrical-related injuries every year.
OSHA’s Standard of Electrical Safety
OSHA strictly implements policies covering electrical safety in different job industries. These policies cover the safety standards for electrical systems as well as standard work practices when handling electrical equipment. OSHA also covers the regulations on how to operate electrical installation and the requirement to test and certify electrical equipment by an approved testing organization prior to use in the workplace.
Importance of Electrical Safety
Electricity is an important resource in our modern world. Without electricity, almost all of the functionalities for living are hindered and unsuccessful. However, the power that comes with electricity also affects the human body and can cause severe damage. Once the electricity passes through the body and becomes a part of the electric circuit, it can result to an electric shock.
The severity of an electric shock may depend on the impact of the electrical current as well as it overall amount in the body. It also depends on the path of the current, the length of time and its frequency.
Once a person receives electrical current into their body, they may suffer a tingle at a very low frequency. However, at higher frequencies electrocution can cause permanent nerve damage, cardiac arrest, severe burns and even death.
Common Electrical Hazards at Work
Path of electrical current is missing or damaged
Electrical grounding is crucial to enable the electrical current to travel safely. Without proper grounding, it can expose high voltage and affect conductors within its range.
However, there are situations when the path of the electrical current is damaged or missing thus exposing the workers to shocks and severe damages. Companies need to conduct thorough inspection of the electrical systems prior to handling of the power supply systems. When handling the power equipment and tools, it is important to use proper protection and double-insulated tools.
Overloading of electrical outlets
There is a safe range of voltage that outlets need to meet to prevent overloading and overheating. Workers must comply with the safe range so as not to cause damage or overheating to the electrical outlet.
In a workplace, it is no question that there are a number of electrical systems used at one time. The need to plug in equipment and tools is an hourly routine thus leading to more electrical equipment used. It’s this repetition that can cause workers to not take precautionary steps when using electrical equipment.
Mismanagement and mishandling of electrical equipment
Unsupervised and improper use of electrical equipment can lead to injuries to the handling worker. Anyone who is permitted to handle the equipment needs undergo training on safety and use prior to the actual use for the first time.
A competent person needs to conduct regular inspections of the equipment to check if there are parts that needs to be repaired or replaced. Power tools must indicate a warning sign when not safe to use.
Poor installation of electrical equipment
Unfortunately, such hazards are caused by a lack of precision and focus on the job. There are workers who failed to give their best in their work hence would settle to a less satisfactory output.
When these situations happen, even those who are not handling the electrical systems may be at risk of injuries. Poor installation can lead to exposure of wires, faulty lines and lack of proper insulation to protect the environment.