Workers across Civil Engineering, Manufacturing and Construction sectors often work in close proximity to electricity. As well as taking obvious precautions, such as wearing Electrical Hazard Safety Boots, here are windpowerengineering.com’s 10 most common electrical safety mistakes:
1: Underestimating the dangers of lower voltage levels
The main difference between low and high voltage is how fast it will kill you. High voltage kills instantaneously of course, whereby lower voltage, like a 120 volt shock, could lead to death up to 48 hours after exposure.
2: Not wearing adequate PPE during troubleshooting
Many workers fail to wear rubber-insulating gloves, or arc flash personal protective equipment during troubleshooting. Although PPE can be hot to wear, component failure can strike at any time and wearing PPE can be mean the difference between injury and safety.
3: Using outdated or defective test equipment
Aged or work test equipment needs servicing and possibly replacing. Signs that it’s time to replace include: unreadable faceplate; not getting the same measurement from one time to the next; loose, cracked leads; not safety rated for your workplace.
4: Not performing maintenance on power system equipment
Often skipping maintenance due to the expense, the costs of not maintaining equipment outstrip any outlay and include: unscheduled downtime; loss of production; overtime and employee health and safety.
5: Neglecting to properly inspect test instruments and leads
Before beginning any absence of voltage test, undertake a test instrument inspection beforehand to include: obvious signs of defect; the smooth operation of switches; checking that the correct CAT rating is used; that the display functions correctly.
6: Using the wrong test tool for the job
Ensure that test tools hold the correct CAT rating for each job and don’t select the cheapest tool for the job. If it doesn’t actually bear the relevant safety features for the job-in-hand, the risk of electrical injury spirals.
7: Replacing original fuses with cheaper ones
Digital multimeters that meet today’s safety standards include a special high-energy fuse designed to pop before an overload hits you. Replacing with a cheaper generic fuse increases your risk of exposure to events such as energy spikes.
8. Working on live current without proper preparation
The first precaution to take is to de-energise the system. If it is required to work on live current, prepare for the hazard as if your life were at stake: Establish a safe work zone and detour foot traffic; verify that test instruments meet requirements and; wear the appropriate PPE, including Electrical Hazard Safety Footwear.
9: Failure to adhere to the electrical assessment
You must ensure that your assessment has been made of any electrical hazards, which covers: who could be harmed by them; how the level of risk has been established; the precautions taken to control that risk.
The risk assessment should take into consideration the type of electrical equipment used, the way in which it is used and the environment that it is used in.
You must make sure that the electrical installation and the electrical equipment is suitable for its intended use and the conditions in which it is operated and only used for its intended purpose.
10. Multi-task while working with a live circuit
When working with live circuits, multi-tasking might increase speed and efficiency. However, the risks far outweigh time savings. As an example: By holding the meter in one hand while testing with the other, a path could be created to ground through your heart. Put the meter where you can see it or use a meter hanger or a wireless test tool and keep both hands on the job.