In any workplace, from offices to construction sites, there are a number of electrical safety issues to be aware of. This includes well-known electrical hazards you should avoid for the safety of you and your team.
As an accredited commercial electrical services company, we know first-hand why organisations should not take electrical safety for granted. In our experience, being too soft on health and safety procedures, even unintentionally, is one of the biggest dangers and simply not worth the risk.
The construction industry, in particular, is most at risk from electrical hazards which accounts for 52% of electrical fatalities in American workplaces. This is commonly caused by contact with power lines, machines and tools. However, even offices are at risk, as essential maintenance work is frequently carried out and wiring and cables can be left exposed.
When safety measures are followed and proper training and instruction is given, it’s easy to stay safe and work productively. However, if measures are not met, they not only pose a health risk in the workplace, but could mean you are legally liable as a business owner.
Fortunately, we know how you can easily identify common electrical hazards at work and take the necessary steps to get them fixed. From the most complex site checks to simple maintenance and repairs, we are always on hand to help. So, here are some of the top hazards to watch out for.
This is a very common problem as it easily impacts any environment, from spilled water on a desk near electrical outlets, to leaks or puddles on a building site. Never use electrical equipment in wet locations, under any circumstances. Water increases the risk of electrocution, especially if equipment has damage or wear and tear to the outer insulation.
If in doubt, have a qualified electrician perform a check or complete emergency electrical service work before you return to the work area. If you are having plumbing work completed too, consult with your electrician, or arrange for your complete project – from electricals to plumbing fixtures, to be completed by the same team, just as we do.
Damaged or Worn Equipment
Even if you’re wearing gloves and PPE (personal projection equipment), exposure to damaged tools or equipment can be extremely dangerous. Do not attempt to handle or use damaged equipment and do not fix anything unless you are properly qualified. Even if you regularly use certain equipment for work, routinely check for cracks or abrasions on cables, wires, and cords. In case of defects, have the item repaired or replaced.
Exposed Electrical Components
This refers to being aware of any temporary lighting, open power units or detached insulation parts on power cords, all of which can cause electric shocks and burns. If spotted, be sure to secure these items with proper guarding mechanisms and call a qualified electrician to complete repairs as soon as possible.
The most common electrical hazards and violation comes from the insufficient grounding of any electrical equipment. Correct grounding can eliminate unwanted voltage and reduce the risk of electrocution. Be warned: never remove the metallic ground pin which returns unwanted voltage to the ground. If in doubt, consult your on-site supervisor or commercial electrical services to have them properly inspect and check your site is safe.
Be wary of defective or poor-quality insulation on any equipment, and report any sign of this immediately before the equipment is in use. Make sure you switch off all power sources before replacing damaged material with new, high-quality insulation product. Never attempt to repair visible damage with tape as it won’t hold for long and will not be safe.
Avoid overloading power outlets, circuits and always use a suitable extension cord or adaptor designed for specific use, whether in an office or something larger on a construction site. If you’re ever unsure, go easy on power outlets and use another if necessary, rather than overload a single one.
Using wires incorrectly, such as the wrong size for the job, can cause overheating and risk of a fire. While not everyone is an expert, or expected to be, if you ever need help or advice you should speak to a work supervisor or call fully qualified and accredited electricians or contractors who can visit your workplace for an assessment.
Overhead Power Lines
Again, tragically accounting for a large percentage of work-related electrical fatalities in the USA, overhead power lines carry extremely high voltages which can cause very serious burns and electrocution. All workers should stay a minimum of 10 feet from overhead power lines and any nearby electrical equipment. Furthermore, safety barriers and signs should be visible, and nothing stored directly underneath the power lines. Your commercial electrical services provider can complete a thorough site check and survey to make sure these guidelines are met.
The Solution? Get an Emergency Electrical Service Check
As an experienced building, construction and maintenance company with offices across Australia, we have national reach with a local level of care and attention for our customers. Working as a family-owned business, we have accredited professional technicians who are customer-friendly, efficient and timely in their services.
Whether you want to discuss workplace emergency electrical services, commercial electrical services, or any support related to the electrical safety of your business premises, Mathiou Services have you covered. Furthermore, we are still working and available through the recent COVID-19 pandemic under new guidelines. We are your committed commercial electrical contractors.
Contact us for a consultation and to discuss how we can help.