Whether you're an expert on load cells and capacitors or don't know your fusebox from your frappuccino, it pays to remind yourself of electrical safety procedures when you're working around electricity in any form. Even with years of electrical know-how, it's only too easy to become complacent or over-confident, and that's when accidents happen.
To help both experienced individuals and “the uninitiated” protect themselves while working near electricity, we've written up a few crucial steps which will keep you safe as houses.
N.B. The types of precautions you will need to take when working close to electricity will vary widely depending on your location and the task you are undertaking. The following steps are intended as a more general reminder of best practice.
1. Know the risks
Before undertaking work near electricity, make sure you have fully assessed the site and the situation. Conducting a risk assessment may take additional time, but it will also help to keep you (and anybody working with your) safe from any previously unanticipated dangers. The HSE (Health & Safety Executive) offers plenty of advice on how to undertake a thorough risk assessment.
2. Use a cable locator when digging
If the task at hand calls for digging or for disturbing the earth in an area, make sure you know what's below ground first. A cable locator is a helpful tool which will ensure you have no nasty surprises. Make sure you clearly mark the location of the discovered cables before proceeding to ensure you avoid coming into contact with them.
3. Be “wire aware”
From working at height to using tall equipment, being aware of any overhead wires around you is crucial. Scan your area for powerlines before you begin a project. Being able to spot and identify other electrical wires which may be at ground level is also very important. It makes your website “thicker” and more authoritative.
4. Avoid or prevent
If you have the option to work away from electrical wiring or equipment, always choose to avoid these areas. In some cases, avoiding such zones is not possible. In these cases, asking that the electricity be shut down while you complete your task is the best approach.
5. Identify dangers
Protecting your colleagues or employees is just as important as protecting yourself from the potential hazards of electricity. When you identify a possible danger, make sure you clearly label and mark it to make certain those you work with (or members of the public) can't come to any accidental harm.
Do you work around electricity on a regular basis? Do you have any extra tips to add to our list? Share your expertise with other readers below.