By Michael Marr, Safety Technical Resource Consultant
May is National Electrical Safety Month and the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) wants to share valuable resources and information about electrical safety for Ohio’s workers and employers.
National Electrical Safety Month is sponsored by the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFi) to remind the public of the hazards associated with electricity. BWC’s Division of Safety & Hygiene (DSH) has gathered some important safety tips and considerations when working around electricity.
The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) found that between 2011 and 2015, 364 fatalities were caused by electrocution. Seventy percent of those killed were not electricians.
The following tips and considerations are for anyone who works around electricity:
- Ensure your equipment is properly grounded. Does it have a ground pin, or is it double insulated?
- When possible, keep electrical equipment away from wet locations. In wet locations make sure you are using Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs).
- How close are you working to overhead power lines? You should be at least 10 feet away and possibly more depending on the power line voltage.
- Shut down and lock out equipment prior to working on it.
- Inspect all tools and equipment prior to use. Make sure cords aren’t damaged.
- Test your GFCIs and tools prior to use.
- Check your work area prior to starting a task and if you are unsure of something speak to your supervisor.
- Make sure you use the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) when working with electrical equipment.
BWC’s DSH offers a variety of resources to help employers and workers improve electrical safety for all workplaces. We offer a variety of Educational Courses on Electric Safety through our BWC Learning Center. There are multiple Safety Talks on Electrical Safety on our website’s Safety Talks Page. These safety talks are intended as a training resource to increase safety awareness and improve performance. Employers can use them to start conversations about electrical safety and other topics.
If you have questions about electrical safety, BWC is here to help! Reach out to one of our BWC safety consultants online for assistance or call 1-800-644-6292. DSH also offers a wide range of other safety services for all industries, at no additional cost to employers, including safety consultations, safety education and training, and the BWC safety and video library.