How Do Voltage Level and Proximity Affect the Chance of Electrical Shock? - EPSCO

At EPSCO, we know that any time you work with electricity, there’s a chance you could suffer an electrical shock. The good news is you can protect yourself and reduce the risk by understanding the clearance levels of the equipment you and your team members are working around.

EPSCO’s ONEMOMENT electrical safety training series will show you how clearance is determined by voltage levels that inform workers of safe distances or proximity to the equipment.

With voltage levels, the equation is pretty simple. The higher the voltage, the further personnel should stay back from the equipment to remain safe. There are specific clearance distances calculated for the many different types of electrical hardware, and EPSCO’s ONEMOMENT fills in all the details with examples ranging from small panels to massive overhead systems.

When considering proximity, there are two distinct boundaries to be aware of – The limited approach boundary and the restricted approach boundary. Within those boundaries there are different rules for qualified and unqualified workers.

Inside the limited approach boundary, energized conductors pose a hazard for electrical shock. Unqualified workers can only pass through this boundary if they are aware of the hazards and accompanied through the area by a qualified worker.

In the restricted approach boundary, the chance of electrical shock is greatly increased. In some instances the restricted boundary means avoiding contact all together. Because of the increased hazard, only qualified workers wearing properly rated PPE should enter a restricted boundary.

Knowing the facts about approach boundary is extremely important when trying to mitigate the risk of electrical shock, because electricity can travel through air. A person doesn’t have to come into direct contact with the circuit to be shocked.

Check out this week’s videos from our online electrical safety training series to learn more about approach boundaries and how voltage levels and proximity play into the chance of electrical shock.