Regardless of where we work, in an office, a restaurant, a healthcare facility, a construction site, etc. we all rely on electricity to help us perform in the workplace. Employees who work directly with electricity, such as electricians and engineers, may have a more comprehensive understanding of the dangers when working with electricity. But, more often employees working indirectly with electricity to complete day to day tasks may need a reminder of some simple safety protocols to prevent an employee injury and workers' compensation claim!
Since electrical fires account for 22% of all workplace fires, it is important for all employees and employers to stay vigilant to the hazards electricity poses - even when working indirectly with it. Equipment using electricity can spark or cause fire if used improperly or not maintained.
Below are a few tips to keep your work area safe from electrical hazards.
- Inspect cords regularly to check for damage including frayed or torn insulation and exposed wiring.
- Three-prong plugs should never have the grounding prong removed to fit it into a two-prong receptacle.
- Never plug surge protectors or power strips into each other. This can result in an overloaded circuit.
- Electrical cords should not be placed under floor mats or carpets. Nor should extension cords be run through ceilings or behind walls.
- Do not use staples, tacks, or nails to secure electrical cords.
- Do not place cords across walkways where they can become a trip hazard.
- Extension cords are permitted only for temporary uses, they should not be used to permanently access a distant outlet.
- If additional outlets are needed in an area, contact building management. An electrician must professionally install extra outlets.
- Using an adapter to add plugs into an outlet should be avoided. An overloaded circuit can overheat and cause a fire.
- Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) receptacles should be used in any kitchen, bathroom, or wet area. Test each monthly to make sure it properly de-energizes the circuit.
- Electrical equipment must have all panels and covers securely affixed and wall outlets and switches must have a cover.