Electricity is essential on every one of our job sites. It is sometimes called the “silent partner” on the job. It supplies the power needed to run tools and machines, it provides lighting, and it powers heaters and air conditioning units. When used safely and properly, electricity makes our lives easier.
Electricity has also been called the “silent killer” because you don’t hear, see, taste, or smell it. If you use electricity carelessly or recklessly, if you overlook the many hazards it presents, you may be setting yourself up for injury or death from burns, falls, shocks, or electrocution.
To protect yourself from the hazards of electricity, keep the following safe work practices in mind:
- Visually inspect electrical hand tools and extension cords before each use.
- Immediately remove defective tools and cords before using.
- Always wear the necessary PPE and use grounded or double-insulated tools.
- Never handle an electrical tool by its power cord.
- Only use extension cords that are rated for hard or extra hard use. Codes like S, ST, SO, STO, SJ, SJT, SJO & SJTO should be printed on the cords.
- Take care of extension cords. Keep them out of the way to prevent damage.
- Never yank cords to disconnect them. Reach down and pull the plug from the receptacle.
- Don’t try to repair electrical cords or tools unless you are qualified and authorized to do so. Repairs should only be made by qualified electricians.
- If you are authorized to make repairs, make sure you follow lockout/tagout procedures.
- When working in damp or wet areas, only use tools protected by a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI).
- Never operate electrical tools or equipment while standing in water.
- Never use makeshift wiring.
- Use 3-prong receptacles. Never break off the ground to fit an underground outlet.
- Keep equipment and activities at a safe distance (at least 10 feet) when working around power lines.
All of our electricians attend classes in NFPA 70E and MIOSHA Parts 33 & 40 “Electrical Safe Work Practices” instructional programs to ensure we are doing everything we can to prevent electrical injuries. We design, quote, layout, and execute electrical installations to follow electrical safe work practices. We provide high levels of PPE and test equipment for protection.
Whether you are at home or at work working with electricity remember to practice electrical safety and keep electricity as a silent partner in your projects.