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Dangers in Misused Electrical Equipment

Electrical hazards are dangerous in nature, but are also incredibly simple to avoid as long as proper guidelines and practices are being observed in the workplace. Today, we’ll revisit why electrocution remains a red flag for many companies, and how misused electrical equipment continue to be one of the most common sources of electrical hazards on jobsites.

 

Common examples of misused equipment

 

According to OSHA, here are some equipment that are usually misused around the workplace:

 

  • Instead of being mounted, some employees install multi-receptacle boxes by fitting them to a power cord and placing them on the floor. Thus, creating grounded connections and adding unnecessary tripping hazard. 
  • Fabricating extension cords with Romex wires. 
  • Replacing cords or tools with worn insulation or exposed wires. 
  • Modifying cords or equipment by removing ground prongs, face plates, insulation, and other safety systems. 
  • Using equipment labeled for dry, indoor use on damp conditions. 
  • Attaching ungrounded, two-prong adaptor plug to three-prong cords and tools.
  • Neglecting the use circuit breakers or fuses or integrating them with the wrong rating for over-current protection (i.e., using a 30-amp breaker with a 15- or 20-amp receptacle). Thus, the protection system may fail to kick in when the system’s load has been exceeded. 
  • Using equipment that do not meet OSHA standards, and using them without adhering to manufacturer’s instructions.

 

Addressing electrical hazards

 

Most of the conditions above point to negligence as the main factor why many hazards are created in the first place. While it does expose our behavioral flaws, that kind of data also suggests that much of the problems associated with electrical hazards can be fixed by having employees and safety managers be more aware of the dangers around them and embrace their accountability for the well-being of their colleagues.

 

To address such issues, companies must be strict and thorough with training their employees early on. In fact, by simply putting electrical safety in the workplace as part of their onboarding, organizations will be able to address and possibly neutralize a critical workplace hazard in the most efficient way that’s available, which is through prevention. Furthermore, taking those dangers out of the equation will allow both employers and employees to operate around a safer workplace and focus more on production.

 

Legal duties for employers

 

Aside from the moral duty on employers to protect employees and the public, there are specific duties and obligations that are laid out for employers through the various regulations. For example, companies are expected to

 

  • Provide electrical systems that are designed to prevent danger
  • Maintain electrical systems as necessary to avoid electrical hazards
  • Have work on, use of, or closure of, electrical systems carried out in a way that prevents danger.

 

How to keep the workforce safe? 

Regardless of the type of electrical equipment, certain tools will always be associated with electrical hazards if not used properly. Meanwhile, exposure to equipment that is live but presumed dead can also be a cause of severe injuries. In many ways, electric hazards can also be a catalyst in creating other incidents in the workplace. To prevent these kinds of situations, it’s important for companies to not only educate their workforce, but also provide them with the appropriate tools and most efficient systems in order to avoid being electrocuted within the confines of their workplace.

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Comment by Tara safe on January 8, 2018 at 3:40am

Right gear +Right equipment +Right usage = safe worker.

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