Many of our EPSCO clients and partners ask us about the best way to prevent electrical accidents. Training your team to identify hazards and making sure they know how to respond to them is one of the foundations of a comprehensive electrical safety program.
There are many different ways that determining hazards can help everyone at your facility stay safe– And there are many different hazards to be aware of.
A hazard can be anything that’s a possible source of injury. That could mean someone coming into direct contact with electrical equipment or current, and it could also mean environmental, work conditions, or maintenance issues that increase the likelihood of an accident occurring.
Some of the most obvious hazards to watch out for are on electrical equipment, including:
- Missing panel covers
- mismatched fuses
- gaps or anything that exposes live electrical parts is sure signs of a hazard
Inspecting wires, plugs, and cords is another way to determine hazards in equipment.
Also, watch out for any signs of malfunctioning equipment like:
Improperly grounded equipment or discontinuous bonding circuits can be harder to identify but must be considered.
Objects and tools around energized equipment can be an unexpected source of hazards, such as:
These can all become fire hazards if they’re near electrical equipment. Objects like these are also trip and fall hazards if not properly stored.
Environmental conditions play a big part in electrical conductivity.
Spills, dampness, and humidity increase hazard levels and the risk of an electrical accident or injury.
Once a potential hazard is identified, it’s critical to deal with it immediately.
Establishing a set plan with task-oriented procedures is an effective way to help minimize the risks in a hazardous situation. Only qualified workers should perform the work to resolve the hazard, lock-out tag-out, and do maintenance or repairs. It’s just as important that unqualified workers know the go-to person they should report the hazard to.
Conducting a risk assessment will identify specific hazards in your workplace and help you develop a protective and preventative electrical safety plan. An EPSCO Arc Flash Study can be a key component in determining hazards in your facility. A risk assessment allows you to know potential hazards ahead of time to be communicated to outside contractors who may not be familiar with your facility.
You can greatly reduce hazards in the workplace and even eliminate the risks altogether by putting a safety plan in place.
- Performing annual maintenance
- Doing inspections with IR scanning
- Developing processes with the hierarchy of risk controls (HORC)
- Using energized work permits and proper lock-out tag-out procedures
These are all specific strategies that come together in a comprehensive safety plan. Always remember to–
“Plan your work, work your plan, follow through with that plan. Do not make exceptions on anything when it comes to safety, peroid”
– Jason Brozen, Arc Flash Survivor
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