Electricity is a known hazard in the workplace. In Australia, over 1,100 individuals have been hospitalized due to electricity-related injuries according to reports. More than half of these cases occurred in the workplace.
It appears that many of these incidents happened because of untrained individuals who tried to fix the electricity problems on their own. To mitigate this kind of hazard in the workplace, here is some advice from an electrician to keep your environment safe:
Abide by The Electrical Safety Code of Practice 2013
The best way to keep the workplace environment free from all electrical hazards is to adhere to the standards set in the Electrical Safety Code of Practice 2013. It is the official document released by the Australian government detailing how to manage electrical risks.
It contains information about the identification of hazards, controlling the risks, assessing them, and reviewing the control measures. It also provides detailed guidelines on working with low voltage isolation and energized electrical work.
Additionally, standards for handling electrical tools and equipment are included in the protocol.
Safety by Design
A conscious effort should also be initiated by the management to increase safety by isolating electrical circuitry. This is both a preventive and restorative procedure that can save the company a lot of money in repairs.
Another way to avoid hazards is to incorporate barriers or “finger-safe” components so that personnel can prevent contact with the live parts. Adding this precautionary measure will minimize arc flashes and electrical shocks, which usually result in severe burns.
Current limitation should also be considered by the company to boost protection. This measure can be done by installing specialized devices that can limit incident energy. Having a ground fault interrupter can also lessen the risk of electric shocks when the office area becomes wet.
Create An Electrical Safety Program
It is not enough that only the building electrician knows the job. The whole company must create a program that would train all the regular personnel about awareness of electrical hazards, identification of safety procedures, and the wearing of personal protective equipment.
Some of the necessary precautions that employees should be aware of are to inspect their equipment’s plugs before connecting them to the power source, eliminate octopus connection, and keep cords away from water, oil, and heat.
They should also be made aware of the switchboard, and the fire extinguisher locations in case accidents happen.
At the heart of this training is the protocol that untrained personnel should not take matters into their own hands when they see an electrical problem. Professionals should be called into the scene, especially if the circumstance involves overhead wires and uninsulated cables.
Emergency drills and first aid responses should also be conducted to train the employees to respond to electrical problems.
It is advisable that this training is conducted every year to refresh everyone’s memory and make the new employees informed about these precautionary measures.
Electricians are crucial personnel in the office, as most of the electrical work rests on their shoulders, especially the implementation and reviewing of national standards.
However, safety is not their responsibility alone. Everyone – from the management to the employees–should be aware of the hazards and the protocols. Safety is a communal effort, and everyone has a part to play.