What are Electrical Wire Safety Basics?

Whether you’re an electrician’s apprentice or a fuse shorted and you’re improvising, working with electrical wiring requires several safety precautions. There are numerous electrical hazards, such as burns, electrocution, and other serious injuries. Exposed wires can cause a fire, and a live wire in a puddle can lead to fatal consequences.

From the entry point to the light switch, several meticulous steps were taken to ensure your electrical system is running smoothly and safely. Wiring color codes tell you which wires are live, and multimeters can help you identify the voltage of a shorted circuit.

There are several safety basics when it comes to working with electrical wires, so let’s dive in!

Electrical Wire Safety: The Do’s and Don’ts

It doesn’t matter if you’re an average homeowner or an electrician, there are several do’s and don’ts when it comes to electrical wire safety.

Do: Invest in Proper Training

Above all else, invest in proper training. Most electrical issues, be it for a large manufacturing warehouse or your living room lights, should only be addressed by trained personnel. Once you are working with actual electrical wires in any system, you open yourself up to risk and safety issues if you aren’t trained.

A few examples of electrical wiring interventions that require specialized training include:

  • Replacing a blown fuse
  • Resetting a tripped circuit breaker
  • Working with exposed conductors carrying fifty volts or more
  • Repairing or altering any electrical equipment
  • Removing barrier guards of equipment that uses electricity
  • Using a meter or any tools to measure the presence of electricity

These tasks can go from seemingly-routine to hazardous quickly without proper training.

Don’t: Skimp on Safety Equipment

There’s a reason the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has requirements and specifications for electrical work. Simple safety equipment can make the difference between life and death.

When working with electrical equipment, always wear insulated gloves, safety glasses, face shields, and arc flash suits. This equipment can protect against arc flashes and electric shock. When working with live electrical equipment, you can also use voltage-rated tools, such as insulated pliers and screwdrivers, to mitigate risk.

Do: Power Off Completely

When confronted with any electrical issue, power off the equipment or area affected completely. By issuing an electrical disconnect, you can lessen the risk of injury or electrocution when working with damaged electrical equipment.

No electrical issue is ‘too minor’ to cause major damage. Even a short circuit can cause a fire (or even an explosion), so when in doubt, power-off all equipment until trained personnel can address the issue.

Don’t: Work With Live Wires in Wet Conditions

Another Electrical Safety 101 tip–water and electrical currents don’t mix! When water comes into contact with electrical wiring, it can result in short circuits, fires, and shocks. This is because water is a natural electrical conduit, so the water intensifies the effect of the electricity. In the majority of cases, water damage can render electrical equipment completely useless, so the focus should be on safety rather than repair.

If you are able to safely turn off the power to any electrical components that are wet, do so immediately. Do not enter the affected area until the power is shut down. Unplug all devices in the affected area and do not attempt to use the affected electrical equipment.

The Bottom Line

Working with electrical wiring can be incredibly dangerous, and even if no one in your workplace is an electrician, OSHA requires businesses and building owners to display hazard identification. This includes caution and warning signs, instruction in recognizing and avoiding unsafe conditions, and labeling hazardous materials.

If you don’t have all of the basics down, don’t worry–Creative Safety Supply does. We are your one-stop-shop solution for all products relating to safety and training. To upgrade your safety practices, check out our latest products!


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