Electrical Safety

What is electricity?

Electricity is a form of energy resulting from the existence of charged particles either statically as an accumulation of charge or dynamically as a current.

What hazards are associated with electricity?

The most common electrical hazards consist of one or more of the following:

• Burns: the 3 types of burns are electrical, arc flash, and thermal contact
• Electrocution: when a human is exposed to a lethal amount of electricity
• Shock: a reflex response to the passage of electric current through the body
• Arc Flash / Arc Blast: the sudden release of electrical energy through the air when a high-voltage gap exists between conductors. Arc flash temperatures have been recorded as high as 35,000˚F and have been known to create very bright and hot blasts of energy.
• Fire: usually happens because of fixed wiring problems such as faulty outlets, wiring, cords, receptacles and switches.
• Explosion: happens when electricity ignites an explosive mixture of material in the air.

These hazards form the acronym (BESAFE)

What controls may be used to protect yourself from electrical hazards?

1. Keep a safe distance from overhead powerlines
2. Avoid contact with energized sources
3. Conduct routine inspections of all electrical equipment and tools
4. Discard or repair defective electrical equipment and cords immediately
5. Use ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) whenever possible
6. Use equipment and tools only as recommended by the manufacturer
7. Follow all lockout tagout procedures
8. Isolate electrical parts whenever possible
9. Ensure proper guarding is in place for electrical tools and equipment
10. Keep electrical panels closed at all times

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