December 11, 2018 - Heather Jackson

5 Easy Ways to Prevent Electrical Accidents in the Workplace

Every year, over 4,000 injuries and 300 deaths are caused by electrical hazards. From electric shock to burns; slip and falls to electrocution, electrical negligence can become a catastrophic danger for employees in the workplace.

Are you doing your part to prevent these types of accidents from taking place in the first place?

By identifying the common causes, you can implement a simple solution to keep your employees safe for the long haul.

The Most At-Risk Industry of All 

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, those in construction industry are at the greatest risk of electrical injuries, making up 52% of fatalities.

Engineers and overhead line workers that make contact with hand carried metallic objects, tools and machines are also at high risk for an electrical injury.

Electrical accidents typically occur because of the following three reasons:

  • Unsafe installation and/or equipment
  • Unsafe working conditions
  • Unsafe work environment.

Let’s dive into the five most common types of electrical hazards in the workplace today, and how you can begin to prevent these hazards from occurring. According to OSHA, being able to identify electrical hazards is the first and most important steps to staying safer in high risk environments.

The Most Common Causes of Electrical Accidents

1. Overhead Power Lines. Overhead power lines can cause serious burns and injury due to their high voltage. Solution: Make sure the area under power lines is clear, and properly display signs to warn others of the high voltage area.

2. Overloaded Circuits. Fires can develop when wires become overheated. Solution: Make sure the wires are suitable for their electrical load. Educate your employees so they use the right breaker for each wire. Appoint someone during each shift to assess areas for bad wiring and report it immediately.

3. Damaged Equipment and Tools. One of the biggest causes of electrical shock is damaged tools. Solution: Make sure to inspect tools and equipment daily for faulty wiring and cords, cracks, abrasions and cuts.

4. Wet Conditions. Wet working conditions can cause electric shock, slips and falls. Solution: Because water can increase the risk of electrocution, be mindful about nearby water when working with machinery. Never work openly in wet conditions.

Before working near water, make sure the affected area is inspected by a qualified electrician.

5. Improper Grounding of Equipment. Did you know improper grounding is the most common OSHA electrical violation? Improper grounding can cause unwanted voltage and increase the risk of electrocution. An easy solution?  Don’t remove the metallic ground pin. It sends unwanted voltage to the ground and away from a potentially dangerous situation.

How Do Employers Protect Their Workers Against These Dangers?

The key is three-fold: identify hazards, know your limits, and when an injury occurs (injuries aren’t 100% preventable), have incident case management in place! In over 60 percent of the cases called in, our nurses can treat the injury at a first-aid level. To learn more about how Axiom can help you, fill out the contact form or call us at +1 (877) 502-9466!   

Posted in Heat Related Injuries, Incident Case Management, Injury Case Management, Workplace Safety