Quick Tips for Preventing Electrical Issues in the Workplace
Walking the factory floor, you see a spilled gallon of motor oil and know it has to be cleaned as soon as possible to prevent a slippage and a possible accident. You make sure employees wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and you file employee paperwork so if an employee is injured, you’ll have the insurance and contact information ready immediately. You use your eyes and your organizational skills to keep your employees safe. But you can’t see electricity.
Invisible, silent, potentially deadly—what steps have you taken to prevent electricity-induced accidents at your factory or warehouse?
Sure, you have equipment to monitor current and electricity usage. But electrical hazards cause some of the most expensive and fatal accidents, with 300 electrocutions and 4,000 injuries each year. You’ve probably enabled some electricity hazard prevention. The truth is, however, you can’t be everywhere at once—especially when working at a large factory or warehouse—and you need your employees to act as your extended eyes, seeking out electrical hazards and reporting what they find.
What Can Your Employees Do?
Encourage employees to follow guidelines: Appropriate warning signs and labels will go a long way to discourage employees from operating machinery or entering electrically-dangerous areas. Only certified, trained professionals should enter areas that run the risk of high-voltage. Keep up-to-date lockout/tagout procedures as well.
Inform employees what to look for: Train your employees to know which hanging wires might be a risk. Up and down, left and right—each employee should keep constant watch for exposed wires, as some of these can create electrical-exposure risks. Also, make sure they are aware of circuit breakers, their locations and how to operate them. Often when working on defective equipment, electricians will remove circuit breakers for their own safety. Make sure your employees know how and why circuit breakers are removed so they don’t accidentally replace a breaker when someone is exposed to risk.
Zero Tolerance: With a zero tolerance guideline set in place, no electricity risk will be tolerated. You can equip your employees with the know-how of assessing and preventing electrical danger.
What Can You Do?
Talk to the experts: Make sure you hire respected electricians and listen to their advice. Some electricians will claim that a situation is safe in order to lower the costs they charge you. Consult and contract trusted electrical experts—maybe from OSHA—to conduct frequent checks on your electrical system.
Stay informed: Become the expert when it comes to electrical safety and prevention at your workplace. With so many handy guides for electrical workplace safety and training resources available, you can make yourself more valuable to the company and your HR department by familiarizing yourself with common hazardous electrical situations and important preventative measures.
You’re good at working to protect your coworkers and employees. You keep watch. You stay focused. Go above and beyond by using every resource available to create awareness for preventative safety.