Electrical Safety

What Are The Leading Causes of Electrical Accidents?

Unsafe Acts

There are 2 reasons for unsafe acts:
  1. We know better but intentionally do something unsafe.
  2. We don't know better.

Avoid the following unsafe acts:

  • Failure to de-energize, lockout & tagout hazards during maintenance, repair or inspections.
  • Use of defective and unsafe tools.
  • Use of tools or equipment too close to energized parts.
  • Not draining off stored energy in capacitors.
  • Using 3-wire cord with a 2-wire plug.
  • Removing the third prong (ground pin) to make a 3-prong plug fit a 2-prong outlet.
  • Overloading outlets with too many appliances.
  • Using the attached electrical cord to raise or lower equipment.
  • Not verifying power is off when making repair (drilling into a 110 Volt a.c. line can kill).
  • Working in an elevated position near overhead lines.

Unsafe Equipment

Some common causes of unsafe equipment:
  • Loose connections
  • Faulty insulation
  • Improper grounding (removal of 3rd prong)
  • Use of "homemade" extension cords
  • Defective parts
  • Unguarded live parts--for example:

    • Bare conductors or exposed terminals
    • Metal parts of equipment may become energeized when connected by cord or plug. Capacitance may cause up to 55% of line voltage to be stored on the casing of metal tools.

Hazardous Environments

Use special precautions when working in potentially hazardous environments and situations. Even an accidental static discharge can cause a fire or explosion in areas where the following are present:
  • Flammable vapors, liquids and gasses
  • Combustible dusts
  • Corrosive atmospheres
  • Explosive environments
  • Poor housekeeping: blocked electrical boxes, flammable materials stored in equipment rooms, lack of proper hazard signs, excess clutter.
Special care is also need in wet or damp locations - water and electricity are a bad combination. If the wire is frayed or damaged, a fatal electrical shock can result.