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Avoid Electrical Accidents


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Each year, numerous employees are seriously injured while working with, around, or on electrical equipment. In almost every instance, a Lockout/Tagout program was not in place or common sense electrical work practices not followed. 

The overwhelming majority of injuries can be avoided when employees use common sense and follow recommended safe work practices while working with electricity. 

We recommend a review of your lockout/tagout program.

We also recommend you discuss any past injuries or near-miss accidents that may have occurred while working with electrical equipment. An inspection program that includes electrical cords and equipment is an essential part of an effective safety program.

OHSA requires all employees be trained in lockout/tagout and electrical safe work practices. All training should be documented!


  • Know what precautions to take to avoid electrical accidents.
  • Understand that only specific qualified employees may perform certain tasks with exposure to live power.
  1. Electricity has the power to Shock, Burn, and Cause Fires or Explosions – most electrical equipment has insulated conductors and is grounded to prevent accidents
    1. If you touch equipment that isn’t grounded or has defective insulation, your body may conduct the electricity. That can result in shock, which may cause:
      1. Pain, loss of muscle control, internal damage, cardiac arrest, or death
      2. Burns to internal body tissue
    2. Electrical equipment can also:
      1. Burn your skin
      2. Cause fires or explosions if exposed to flammable substances
  1. Protect yourself from shock
    1. Inspect electrical equipment before use to be sure insulation is in good condition
    2. Check that plugs have a good, tight connection
    3. Never bend a 3-pronged plug or force it into a 2-pronged outlet
    4. Use only wiring that is approved for use in outdoor or wet areas, and plug into ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs)
    5. Don’t touch anything electrical with wet hands or while in a wet area.
    6. Don’t contact anything electrical with anything metal
    7. Use insulated, nonconductive tools around power sources
  1. Prevent Yourself from Shock
    1. In areas with flammable liquids, vapors, or combustible dust, use only electrical equipment identified as safe for that use
    2. Don’t overload outlets, circuits, or motors
    3. Don’t let grease, dust, or dirt build up on machinery
    4. Dispose promptly of oily rags, paper, sawdust, etc.
  2. Obey restrictions on electrical circuit access
    1. Control panels and circuit breaker/fuse boxes for live electrical parts of 50 volts or more must be in separate rooms, behind partitions, or at least 8 feet above ground
    2. Obey warning signs and locks; keep out unless authorized
  1. Treat electrical equipment with care and respect
    1. Don’t use cords to raise or lower equipment
    2. Don’t fasten cords with staples, nails, or anything that could damage insulation
    3. Prevent damage by untangling cords and not running them along the floor or in aisles.
    4. Use extension cords only if necessary and when rated high enough for the job.
    5. Use only waterproof cords outdoors.
    6. Keep machines and tools properly lubricated.
  1. Work on energized electrical equipment only if trained and qualified – OSHA defines qualified workers as those trained to identify exposed live parts and their voltage and know the safety procedures to use with them.
    1. Electrical circuits and equipment are usually are de-energized and locked or tagged out before being worked on.
    2. Only qualified workers can perform tests or other work on “live” parts
    3. If you are not q qualified worker
      1. Stay away from energized equipment, and at least 10 feet from power lines.
      2. Don’t try to remove a lock or work on locked out equipment
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Enjoy a Safe Holiday Season
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Tuesday, 23 April 2024