Even trained professionals make errors when testing electricity, and those mistakes can be quite dangerous. The most recent accident statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor found that 71 people were electrocuted to death on work sites in 2013, making it one of the most common types of fatal errors that takes place for construction workers.
There are ways to help prevent these types of horrible accidents. The dangers of electricity can show themselves at unusual times, so knowing the common types of errors other professionals make can be a good guide. Reviewing prior mistakes others have made can be a great resource for taking precautionary measures around electric equipment and power sources.
Don’t Be Cheap
One of the largest causes for electrical accidents is when a business or electrician opts to use inferior materials to fix a problem. A common example of this is replacing a fuse. When doing so, be sure to study what type of fuse it is and replace it with the exact same style. Using the wrong standard of fuse can cause the box to overload and pop, which can cause tremendous electrical damage. Grabbing the cheapest fuse available may not be worth the savings in the end if it causes an electrical fire.
Being cost-conscious also can be dangerous when purchasing safety equipment like digital multimeters. A cheap DMM will not feature the safety items it advertises, meaning it may not be up to the standards of independent testing labs like the Underwriters Laboratories and the Canadian Standards Association, the Fluke Corporation explained. Review the brand of DMM before buying it to ensure it has been approved by the proper authorities. A low-quality DMM may not be accurate when it comes time to diagnose the status of electrical circuits.
Follow Directions Closely
From wearing the proper safety equipment to the detailed steps of lockout procedures, following specific directions is important when dealing with electronics. Instructions matter to everyone, regardless of a person’s abilities or experience in the field.
Before a job, it is recommended to review the equipment that may be needed. Safety goggles and gloves shield workers from the dangers of electronics, but often times, other pieces of precautionary clothing are needed. Acquiring the right insulated tools, ear plugs and flame-resistant clothing can make a major difference if an accident were to occur.
When a task is completed, following specific directions on how to close out and lock the electrical equipment is needed, so that no unauthorized workers are put in danger. Hazardous energy can cause problems for everyone, even if they aren’t directly servicing the electronic equipment. According to the U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration, workers injured from their exposure to hazardous energy miss an average of 24 workdays to recover from the injuries suffered.
Specific actions can be taken to protect workers from this type of injury risk. Closing out and locking surge protectors and other electronics is needed when maintenance work is done, so that nobody is put in harm’s way. OSHA outlined the procedures workers can take to properly close out a job, so that energy control is maintained. However, it is still vital to review the steps to completing jobs and locking equipment to minimize the dangers of hazardous energy.