Working with electricity in any way can be dangerous and has been noted as a serious workplace hazard for quite some time. When using electrical tools or working with electricity indirectly, do not cut corners regarding safety. Take the time to review OSHA's electrical standards as they are designed to protect employees exposed to electricity dangers. These can include electric shock, electrocution, fires, and explosions. It's important to remember that most of the time, electrical accidents are not intentional. That's why it is so crucial to step back and double-check your tools and environment before beginning work.
General Electrical Safety
- Regularly inspect both electrical and extension cords for damage.
- Unplug appliances when they're not in use to minimize the risk of shock and fire. (It also saves energy).
- Avoid overloading outlets.
- Plug in cords so that they are out of the way and don't become a tripping hazard.
- Never run cords under rugs, doors, or windows.
- Never plug a space heater or fan into an extension cord or power strip.
- Keep combustibles (paper, plastic, rubber, etc.) at least three feet away from space heaters or other heat sources.
- Use the proper wattage for lamps and lights.
- Ensure that smoke alarms are installed and working properly.
Safety Rules for Electrical Tools
- Do not attempt to repair or adjust portable electric tools when they are plugged in.
- Never use portable electric tools in the presence of flammable vapors or gases unless they are specifically designed for such use.
- Tools should be stored properly, handled with care, and regularly inspected.
- Always be aware of potential current flow, path, and duration...low voltage jolts can be fatal.
- Tools must be third-wire grounded or double-insulated and used only with three-pronged extensions.
- Stay alert to recognize accidental grounding mishaps.
For Portable Electrical Tools
Before using portable electrical tools, take the necessary precautions and check your tools for the conditions below.
- Defective or broken insulation
- Improper or poorly made connections to terminals
- Broken or otherwise defective plugs
- Loose or broken switches
- Sparking brushes
If any of these conditions exist, have the tool repaired before use and report it to your supervisor. DO NOT use any defective tool.
Need further help with electrical safety in your workplace? Our EHS team can help! Reach out to us for Lockout/Tagout Training, Personal Protective Equipment, Job Safety Analysis, Programs and Procedures, and more.