Electricity is a frequent and necessary part of everyday life, however it can kill, seriously injure and can damage property. Whether you are a new business owner or already manage an established company with new electrical equipment, safety in the workplace is a requirement that can be easily accomplished, and is LAW.
The dangers of electricity can be exposed to anyone whilst at work. Voltages over 50 volts AC or 120 volts DC are hazardous and harm can be caused when a person in the workplace is exposed to live parts. Most electrical accidents happen when staff are working near equipment which is thought to be ‘dead’ when in fact it’s live. Another accident which occurs regularly in the workplace is when staff are working on equipment which is faulty. Individuals without adequate training and who haven’t taken the necessary precautions are also a high risk to injury.
So what are some basic electrical safety tips?
• Make sure all electrical installations are in good working order
• Provide enough socket outlets for equipment that is currently in use
• Adapters cause fires, so be careful not to overload your sockets
• Using the right equipment suitable for your working environment
• Ensure that the equipment is in safe working order
• Check that equipment has been fitted with the correct fuse
• Wires must be connected securely
Good practice with electrical equipment can do you and your company a world of good. For example, reducing the voltage can eliminate the risks of shocks and burns from equipment.
Maintaining Equipment and Installations
The best way to prevent danger is to maintain electrical equipment and installations. Many faults can often be identified visually, before an item is used. There are checks that must be taken on the plug, cable, casing of the item and input socket. Staff that work in the company ,should be trained so that they are able to spot a danger.
Companies must decide how often testing will take place, based on their risk assessment. Factors to consider for testing include:
• The work environment
• Whether equipment is portable or transportable
• Type of equipment
• Where the equipment is being used
The simple fact is that Electricity kills. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) receive around 1000 accident reports, an estimated 30 of these are fatal, and the majority of them resulting from contact with underground and over ground power cables.
ALWAYS use a competent registered company for all your electrical work and never make a decision to hire a company on price alone.
There are companies out there that claim they can PAT test 200 items a day with a single man on site. This is absolutely shocking, “pardon the pun”.
Each item should be visually inspected. The fuse rating must be checked which often involves taking the plug top off. The wires should be checked to see if they are terminated into the plug properly and securely and the cord grip is in use.
The cable or cord must be carefully checked for damage, and a testing machine should be used to carry out several checks. You simply cannot plug an item in and press a button, this is only one of the checks required. A sticker should be attached in a place that won’t be subjected to damage or wear out. All results must be recorded and saved, along with certification.
Fixed appliances (ones without a plug) must also be tested too.
Have you got any rotating machinery? They should be installed through a device which kills the current completely in the event of a power cut, and prevents the machine restarting once the power is restored, until a reset button is purposely operated.
Imagine a power cut or even a circuit breaker or fuse failing on a lathe. The operator doesn’t know what’s happened, and leaves it switched on. He might try to use a chuck key and then give up to go see a manager. What would happen if the power is remotely restored? Disaster!
Again, always use an electrical company that knows how to install and test properly to prevent accidents, and not an amateur who will blunder his way through and leave you wide open to future problems. Some companies are only interested in making a quick profit and not interested in you or your safety.
Work safe and co-operate with your team in order to maintain a safe environment for you and your colleagues.