Electrical safety is something every workplace should take seriously. Without it, significant injuries and even death can occur.
Almost every workplace in Australia has existing electrical hazards, with very few exceptions.
Many workers would be surprised by the fact that those little electrical currents can cause severe injury or death. Being in direct contact with a live source of a 15-amp circuit (or the equivalent of a standard outlet) can be seriously damaging.
While electricians, engineers, overhead line workers, and construction workers have the highest exposure to electrical hazards. Other professionals who work indirectly with electricity are also at risk.
The Dangers of Electrical Hazards in the Workplace
Fire and Safety Australia found some alarming statistics about workplace safety in the country. One of which is the lack of knowledge of many Australians in responding to emergencies, particularly during a fire and electrical emergency.
Research shows that 50% of workers are now aware of the fire emergency plan and do not know where to evacuate during an emergency. Another 50% do not feel confident enough to operate a fire extinguisher.
Workplace fires are primarily due to faulty or damaged wirings. It may also be from related electrical equipment, which causes 70% of fires. These include lamps, light fixtures, cords, plugs, transformers, and unreliable power supplies.
All these can escalate the costs for employers and jeopardize the health and safety of employees.
Electrical injuries can happen in many different ways, including:
- Direct contact with exposed circuits or live conductors
- Electricity arcs circulate in the air and can ground a person
- Burning of internal tissues due to skin exposure on electric arcs
- Eye damages from the light coming from electric arc flash
- An arc blast can collapse the lungs, causing physical injuries and damage to the ears
Here are some tips to prevent accidents and improve electrical safety in the workplace.
Tips to Prevent Workplace Electrical Incidents
- Proper Risk Assessment
There should be a comprehensive risk assessment done by a professional before starting any operations in the workplace.
A risk assessment will help identify hazards and allow the employers and supervisors to create an appropriate safety plan. It also enables the setup of a working electrical infrastructure in place without compromising anyone’s safety.
- Use of Personal Protective Gear
Electrical safety should start individually. The use of personal protective gear is necessary, especially for workers involved in construction and electrical sites.
It is a must to wear gloves, clothing with non-conductive materials, and hard footwear. Face shields, fire-resistant helmets and other protective gears protecting the eyes and ears are also recommended.
- Immediately discontinued use of damaged equipment.
Stop using any equipment that shows apparent damage and signs of overuse. Avoid doing amateur repairs, especially when dealing with hazardous tools and seek professional assistance.
Stow damaged equipment in a dry, cool space and turn off the power before unplugging them.
- Use the right signages.
Many electrical accidents result from a lack of awareness from the workers and even visitors.
For this reason, it is critical to mark all electrical hazards on the worksite. Signages should have illustrations and easy-to-comprehend labels that are reader-friendly even by a layman.
The use of signs and labels will ensure electrical safety through risk awareness.
- Familiarize with current specific safety regulations
Be aware of current safety regulations, standards, requirements, and guidelines recommended for Australian workplaces. An electrical safety training will help equip workers with adequate knowledge on handling electricity.
Refresher training is also necessary after a certain period. Some workers, even professionals, tend to relax after using the same equipment over time, leading to improper use and accidents.
Every worker should have a constant reminder on handling electrical wiring and equipment every once in a while. And the best way to do that is to enrol in a Low Voltage Rescue (LVR) training course.
Ensure Electrical Safety in the Workplace
Australia has an existing set of regulations around electrical safety known as the Electrical Safety Code of Practice. It contains the standards for electrical installations, products, and equipment – all relating to the goal of creating safe workplaces.
It is essential for every workplace to be compliant with these regulations, not just of law, but to ensure the safety of every worker.
Low Voltage Rescue (LVR) Training course is a great way to ensure workers understand electrical safety, particularly those who perform live work or work with (LV) live switchboards.
The course outlines the mandatory requirement of rescue procedures and encompasses responsibilities for health, safety, and risk management processes at all operative levels.
First Aid Pro has taken pride in its ability to deliver prompt, cost-effective and relevant first aid and safety training in the workplace.
Contact us today for more information.