Avoid the Shock!
Electrocutions caused 71 deaths during 2017 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In fact, electrocutions are one of the four leading causes of fatalities in the construction industry, otherwise known as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) focus four. Other electrical hazards include electric shock, fires and explosions.
According to OSHA, currents greater than 75 mA can cause ventricular fibrillation, or a fast, ineffective heartbeat, which can lead to death within a few minutes. For reference, a power drill uses about 30 times that amount. Electrical hazards aren’t always as obvious as an unguarded edge or a missing machine guard, so it’s important to understand potential hazards and perform daily inspections before you begin work.
Extension cords are used constantly and can receive a lot of wear and tear on construction sites, which is why it’s crucial to inspect and use them properly.
- Use a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) on all extension cords.
- Electrical cords should be inspected for damage prior to each use. Don’t forget to check the prongs!
- Any frayed or otherwise damaged cords need to be removed from service.
- Damaged cords should never be “fixed” with tape or spliced together.
- One extension cord may not be plugged in to another one.
- Extension cords should never run through wet areas.
- Keep other objects off the cord and make sure that there are no kinks or knots in it.
- Be mindful of trip hazards and never run a cord through a doorway.
- When not in use, cords should be wrapped neatly and stored in a clean, dry area.
Tools and equipment
- Power tools, machinery and other equipment on the jobsite can also create electrical hazards if proper procedures are not followed.
- Ensure that your personal protective equipment meets the requirements of the job. Class G hard hats provide protection from small amounts of voltage, while class E hats are rated for 20,000 volts.
- Ground all tools and electrical systems in order to reduce the risk of a severe electrical shock.
- All tools and equipment should be inspected before each use and removed from service if any damage is found.
- If you receive a shock or notice a spark or smoke coming from equipment, turn it off immediately and alert a supervisor.
- Keep equipment at least 10 feet away from electrical power lines.
- Follow your company’s lockout/tagout procedures carefully – even for quick fixes or jams.
- Never perform maintenance on an energized source unless you are properly trained to do so. Electrical safety is nothing to take lightly.
Small to mid-size employers use Professional Employer Organizations (PEO) such as LCR Resource, Inc. to assist them in keeping a safe work place. PEO’s can assist in training staff through toolbox talks and establish safety practices to eliminate potential risk factors. Give us a call to find out more (915) 701-2325
Source: Texas Mutual Insurance Company