Basic electrical safety on the job

December 1, 2012

Although injuries from electrical hazards represent a fraction of total on-the-job injuries, they are more likely to result in death than injuries from other causes, according to the Arlington, VA-based Electrical Safety Foundation International. However, the foundation notes, although only skilled employees specifically trained in electrical safety procedures should handle electrical equipment and systems, many electrical hazards can be avoided by following approved NFPA 70E and OSHA guidelines.

ESFI warns that no worker should ever assume equipment is de-energized, and to always “test before you touch.” The organization also advises workers:

  • Identify all possible energy sources that could pose on-the-job hazards.
  • Know and follow safety requirements.
  • Select proper personal protective equipment, such as hard hats, gloves, goggles, safety shoes, flame-resistant shirts and pants, and safety glasses.
  • Use lockout/tagout procedures.
  • Make sure test equipment is working both before and after use.
  • If at any time the job becomes more hazardous than anticipated, stop and revise the plan.