Skip to content

Electrical Safety In The Workplace—Starting With The Basics

Electricity is an essential power source in construction, manufacturing, and industrial processes of all scopes and sizes. But this invaluable energy source can also create significant workplace hazards and cause serious, even fatal, accidents if not properly managed.  

This post will discuss the basics of electrical hazard prevention and proactive management of hazardous electrical energy.

Here’s what you’ll learn: 

  • Why electrical hazard management is critically important
  • Common causes of electrical hazards in the workplace
  • The basics of managing hazardous electrical energy 
  • Where you can go for more information

Why is electrical hazard management so crucial for workforce safety?

That’s a great question. So we consulted the experts at OSHA for some guidance:

Many workers are unaware of the potential electrical hazards present in their work environment, which makes them more vulnerable to the danger of electrocution. The following hazards are the most frequent causes of electrical injuries: Contact with power lines, Lack of ground-fault protection, Path to ground missing or discontinuous, Equipment not used in manner prescribed, and Improper use of extension and flexible cords. [29 CFR 1926.416(a)(1)]

That’s a great start. Now we’ll put it into an actionable format.

So why is electrical hazard management so critically important?

Managers and safety professionals in the construction, manufacturing, and industrial process sectors need to be acutely aware of electrical safety hazards for one reason—to ensure the safety of their workforce.

Electrical hazards are not the most common workplace injuries, but when they do occur, there is always the potential for a fatality. Electrical equipment, power lines, and power panels are on every construction site and in every manufacturing or industrial process facility.

This means there are potential electrical hazards that need to be identified and managed. 

So, where is a good place to start with the implementation of an electrical hazard safety strategy?

Get familiar with the most common causes of electrical hazards in the workplace.

You can’t go wrong engaging with a safety expert, like Healthsafe. We have over 20 years of experience identifying and mitigating workplace safety issues, including potential electrical hazards. 

The most common electrical hazards, as identified by OSHA in the referenced definition, stem primarily from direct contact with live power lines or electrical circuitry. Ground faults and shorts involving people are right behind direct contact as a leading cause of electrical hazards. 

Dangerous fault currents are often caused by damaged power wires, damaged electrical insulation, equipment malfunctions, and poorly planned or executed maintenance procedures. The unplanned presence of water, from leaks, spills, etc., in a normally safe environment, is also a common contributor, along with improper use of extension cords.   

We point out the importance of documented lock/tagout procedures in a previous post. Many electrical hazards and injuries can be prevented by the implementation of rigorous lockout/tagout policies and procedures.  

We’ve also seen electrical hazard issues related to underrated control panels, especially in industrial process and manufacturing environments. Plant design engineers need to coordinate carefully with the panel manufacturer and power engineers to design, install, and maintain electrical panels with the correct short circuit current rating, or SCCR.

Installation of an underrated control panel can cause catastrophic, dangerous equipment and component failures. 

So what’s the takeaway?

Start with the basics of managing hazardous energy sources.

Safety basics always start with identification, documentation, inspection, and remediation of any potential issues. Every accident cannot necessarily be prevented, but we can all try to get as close as possible to an accident-free workplace.

Are you ready to start on the path toward an accident-free workplace? Do you have potentially dangerous hazardous energy sources? 

There’s no time like today to get some professional assistance and more information.

As an extension of your team, we’ll work closely with all stakeholders to gain their trust. We want your team to share their unique knowledge and insights with us before we start collaborating on a solution.

For more than 20 years, HealthSafe has helped hundreds of clients develop and implement successful, cost-effective electrical safety strategies.

At HealthSafe, nothing is more important than providing you with the highest quality safety professionals in the industry. 

A safe workplace provides for a safe and healthy workforce. And that’s what safety is all about. 

Our meticulous vetting process ensures that we provide experienced safety consultants who will implement industry-tested safety solutions to keep your workplace environment and employees healthy and accident-free.

Call us at (888) 290-8949, or contact us online and schedule your complimentary safety assessment today!

Related Articles

Emergency Response Exercises

Emergency Response Exercises

PSM/RMP Emergency Notification Exercises: New Requirements. Are You Ready? In today’s fast-paced and unpredictable world, ensuring workplace safety is paramount…

Military Base Construction

Demystifying USACE and Site Safety & Health Officer Roles: A Guide by HealthSafe Safety Consulting

Are you planning a project that involves working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and curious about the…

HealthSafe OSHA Safe + Sound Week 2023

Strengthening Workplace Safety: OSHA Safe + Sound Week 2023

Safety protocols are a fundamental concern that affects every organization and its employees. It’s not only a legal and moral…

Back To Top