What are common hazards when working with electricity?

Electricity is one of the most dangerous forces of nature, yet we harness and use it every day to power homes, businesses, vehicles, and more. Whenever working with electricity, it is important to respect how dangerous it can be, and take steps to reduce the risk of accidents and injuries. One of the easiest things you can do to improve safety is to learn about some of the most common hazards associated with working with electricity so that you and your team are aware.

Faulty Wiring

One important thing to know about electrical systems is that they will often work, even when not properly wired. For example, if a system isn’t correctly grounded, it will still work. Improper grounding may simply lead to increased risk of shock, arc flash, short circuit, and other potential dangers. Anyone working on electrical systems should be trained to assume the most potential danger rather than to assume that everything is wired correctly.

Water & Electricity

Water can conduct electricity quite well so if there is any water present, or even very high levels of humidity, it can lead to a powerful shock. This is important when working outside, in areas where condensation may be present, and especially in emergency situations where water may be sprayed into an area with electrical systems.

Ladders & Electrical Lines

When using ladders, high-lows, cherry pickers, and other equipment that goes high into the air, it is necessary to take strong precautions to avoid bumping into any electrical wires. Even simply carrying a ladder vertically can often run into these types of wires, resulting in electrocution.

Arc Flashes

Arc flashes are often very powerful and can occur without any warning. The root cause of an arc flash can vary significantly, but the result is a strong electrical current that can also lead to fires, explosions, and other dangers. Anyone who is working with an electrical system needs to be aware of the arc flash hazard, what types of things can cause an arc flash, and of course, always wear the proper personal protection equipment at all times.

These are just a few common examples of hazards associated with working with electricity. Coming up with a list of all dangers that may be present in a specific facility is a good way for a team to identify hazards, and come up with ways to avoid them.

 

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Additional Resources

Wire Marking Guide
 
Electrical Panel Labeling Guide
 
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