Inadequate wiring or overload circuits, exposed electrical parts, or improper grounding, and whatnot. Working around electricity can be fun for those who are pursuing careers in this field. However, like any other industry, some electrical hazards could result in electric shock, arc flash, arc blast, and many more.
Did you know that more than 50% of the US workplace hazards are related to electrical hazards? That’s a lot. There are no two ways about that. To those who are still scratching their head, thinking, “I am not at risk.” Let me tell you that engineers, electricians, and overhead line workers top the list of professionals exposed to such electrical hazards.
However, that’s not always the case, especially if you keep following safety regulations and quickly identify electrical hazards. Here’s what is included in electrical safety regulations and standards.
Safety Regulations and Standards
The first step to protecting yourself from potential electrical hazards is to understand the OSHA Act of 1970. According to which employers must provide their employees with a workplace that is free from recognized hazards that could be fatal. In fact, every industry must follow the subpart S of OSHA 29 CFR Part 1910 (Standards of General Industry) that contains all the safety requirements that ensure the protection from electrical hazards.
Furthermore, as per the OSHA 1910.333 (a)(1), one must de-energize the live parts before the employee starts working on or near the place. In fact, failure to follow the OSHA guidelines is direct violence of federal law and could result in fines or criminal indictment.
Follow Electrical Safety Program
The next of preventing any electrical hazards is to establish and follow a safety program. An important part of any safety program is “training.” This training is valid for both professionals who went into an electrician school and the ones who don’t have any degree to carry out specific tasks. The level of training, however, changes concerning the job assignments.
Safety training must include the following:
Awareness around electrical hazards and self-discipline of employees.
Identifying threat or risk evaluation process.
Understanding of the use of safe work procedures and tools.
Knowledge of electrical safety principles.
Potential Electrical Hazards
The employees must understand and quickly identify shock, arc blast, or arc blast. After understanding these hazards, one must set a timeline to check each of these hazards in the workplace.
As per the NFPA 70E-2000 Part II 2-3.1.5, the employers must evaluate their premises and free the workplace of all hazards. The first step is to determine the shock approach boundaries for qualified and non-qualified individuals. The next step is to perform a flash hazard analysis. To warn your employees of potential arc flashes, the 2002 NEC now requires you to label the equipment for the following:
Not only that, it must clearly state if there is a need to include PPE when working through the area.
Apply Safe Work Procedures
This is one of the key electrical safety principles. The electrical work must always be planned well before the final execution. It is always advised to review, update, improve, and modify the work procedures accordingly.
For instance, if you go for non-hazardous electrical work, you don’t require to write a plan. However, if the job requires you to work in a hazardous work environment, one must always include a written procedure that includes all the necessary checklists and is further documented.
There is another thing that comes into electrical workplace safety measures. And that is “design considerations.” One must go for isolation equipment to support preventive maintenance or repair. That way, one can include proper lockout or tagout procedures is an essential provision for electrical safety.
Another consideration is to incorporate components or barriers to prevent accidental contact of live parts. You can go for “finger-safe” or insulated barriers to reduce such cases.
The idea of using key electrical safety principles is to protect owners, employers, and employees from any workplace hazard. That way, professionals can ensure a safer workplace. For that, you must understand electrical standards and regulations and identify hazard-prone areas.
To those who are still pursuing their studies as electricians or electrical engineers, you can look for programs that provide electrical training programs. That way, you will get foundation knowledge that will help you with your career.
Remember, “Safety isn’t expensive. It’s priceless.” There is no point in doing something without taking care of the safety guidelines. After all, your life is precious. So, it is important to work in a safe and healthy work environment that propels you to grow.
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