While having a safe work environment is essential in every profession, electricians are especially at high risk. Taking the appropriate safety measures will help protect electricians from experiencing harm to themselves or others.
These electrician safety measures make up the cornerstone of good safety on the job.
Always follow proper lockout and tagout procedures
This is something that every electrician has been trained to follow. When beginning either an inspection or a repair, turn off the current at the switch box and padlock it so that it remains turned off even if you can’t monitor it. This also refers to any machines that are being repaired. Lockout/tagout training is one of the basics learned in an electrician program. The goal here is to to ensure that all equipment is de-energized prior to repairs to minimize the risk of shock or electrocution. If you’re unsure if anything you’ll be touching is energized, you can use a tester to monitor the metallic cover for the service panel, and any stray wires that you note you start to work.
Wear the appropriate safety gear
The right gear is an essential part of being safe when you’re on the job. The standard equipment that electricians should wear includes goggles, gloves that are insulated, hoods, non-conducting hard hats, and line hose. Additionally, electricians should take special care with their footwear. The best type of boots to wear are electrical hazard boots. These are a type of shoe that have been tested for their protection from electrocution. In a dry setting, they will protect the wearer from up to 600 volts. Shoes that do not conduct electricity are incredibly important, probably more than almost any other type of clothing.
Avoid touching someone who has been electrocuted
Even when following good safety measures, a person may still be shocked by electricity. In these instances, you feel the need to help someone who was electrocuted. However, the human body can function as a conductor of electricity. If touching someone who has active current running through them, the current will also flow into the person who touches them. An important safety measure in this situation is to instead turn the power source off and call for help promptly. Once the power has been turned off, you can also start CPR if you know how to perform it. If you can’t stop the power source, use a non-conducting material such as plastic or wood to try and move the person away from the electricity source for the second best option.
Use GFCIs in damp and wet work areas
Unfortunately, working around water increases the risk of shocks happening. When working in an area with moisture, electricians stay safe by installing Ground Fault Circuit Interruptors (GFCIs) before they start a job. Any of the tools and cords in use should be grounded into a receptacle that is GFCI protected. The function of this is that it will disrupt the circuit before it can harm a person.
Inspect and maintain electrical tools
This is an essential part of staying on top of safety. Electricians should always inspect their tools before they use them. Any tools that appear to need repair should not be used. Make sure to check any power tools to look for frayed cords or exposed wires. Any prongs that are missing or loose are also a concern. Insulin that covers extension cords is prone to becoming damaged over time so this is a concern over time. It’s often tempting to finish a job even if damage is noted. However, any cracks or damage to the tools should trigger it being tagged out for repair. Take any problematic tools out of the job or workplace right away and tag it so that no one else will attempt to use it. The tool or equipment in question should be serviced or replaced prior to completing the job.
Whether starting as an electrician or keeping up with safety rules, these are the basic essentials that electricians use to stay safe. It’s important to keep up to date with these and other safety guidelines to avoid disastrous harm to yourself or others. This is why, when in doubt, it’s best to use the experts to do any electrical work. Use this general guide to provide some basic safety information.