Working with electricity has become such a customary in the offices and workplaces that we don’t give much thought as to how heavily we depend on it to perform our daily tasks at work. Often, many of us also forget the dangers associated with improper use and negligence when working with electricity around.
Electrical Hazards in the Workplace – Who Are At Risk?
The level of exposure to electrical hazards largely depends on the occupation and the environment that an employee faces in the workplace. The maintenance staff, electricians, engineers, and construction workers are among those who are at the top list of workers who are most exposed to various electrical hazards.
But, this is not to say that those who are indirectly working with electricity such as the office workers should be complacent. In reality, since we all rely on electricity to do our common tasks at work, every one of us faces a considerable amount of risk to potential electrical hazards.
In other words, electrical safety should be a concern for everybody in the workplace. As a general rule, employees and staff should only work on electrical equipment if they have the appropriate training and experience, as well as under proper supervision. Do not attempt to use an electrical tool if you are unsure about how to use it. Pay attention to danger signs and warnings and be proactive in reporting any electrical issues or hazards you notice in the workplace.
The Common Electrical Hazards In the Workplace
The following are the most common electrical dangers in the workplace that you should be aware of to mitigate the risks:
- Overhead power lines and cables
- Damaged or defective tools and pieces of equipment
- Faulty wiring and overloaded circuits
- Wet surfaces and conditions
- Inadequate grounding system
- Exposed cables and detached insulations
The Importance of Risk Assessment and Preventative Maintenance
Where work that involves electricity cannot be avoided, the best way to mitigate the associated risks is to find out about the dangers in the workplace and identify the ways on how to address them. Organizations should take the time to discuss any electrical and safety issues with the staff and carry out a risk assessment. By doing a risk assessment, organizations can develop a systematic method of looking at work activities, identifying what could go wrong and potential issues, and come up with applicable control measures. These control measures are helpful in eliminating, reducing or minimizing the risks of loss, electrical damages or injuries at the workplace.
In addition, as important as conducting a risk assessment is preventative maintenance. The electrical wiring system in the workplace should be checked or inspected by a qualified electrician regularly. As part of the preventative maintenance, circuit breakers, electrical wires, outlets, and equipment should be tested for any signs of defects or malfunctioning before the problem could escalate and serious electrical accidents could occur..
Workplace Safety Should Be Everybody’s Business
While it is the primary duty of the employers to ensure a safe working environment, everyone in the workplace is expected to do their part to eliminate electrical dangers. Electrical safety is an essential component for the overall safety in the workplace, and both the employer and employees should share the responsibility of achieving it. When everyone is aware of the electrical hazards present in the workplace, electrical accidents can be avoided and everyone can be productive without compromising their safety.