A Manitoba worker recently suffered second-degree burns to his hands after trying to troubleshoot a live electrical panel component. The worker was not qualified to complete the task, and the device used was not rated for the type of testing carried out. This incident is just one example of the several hundred electricity-related workplace injuries that occur each year.
Electricity is a beneficial source of energy that many of us take for granted, but it also presents numerous hazards. Among these are:
- contact with exposed live energy
- electricity as a source of ignition, causing a fire/explosion and fault
- harsh conditions, such as wet environments, outdoor work and cramped/confined spaces, which create increased risk.
These safety tips can help prevent injury:
- Use proper lockout procedures to avoid electrically charged equipment.
- Ensure that written lockout procedures are in place for all electrical work, including all sources of energy; do a physical check for confirmation.
- Wear approved protective equipment, such as rubber gloves, eyewear, boots and coveralls.
- Work on live equipment only in situations where complete disconnection is not practicable.
- Ensure that only competent electrical workers deal with potential electrical hazards.
For additional measures, review:
- Personal Protective Equipment: Workplace Safety and Health Regulation 217/2006 Part 6
- Machines, Tools and Robots (Safe Work Procedures, Lockout, Tag out, Work on Energized Equipment): WSH Regulation 217/2006 Part 16
- Electrical Safety (Electrical Workers, Safe Work Procedures, Emergency Procedures, Work On Energized Equipment, Stand-by Worker): WSH Regulation 217/2006 Part 38
- CSA Standard: CSA Z462-08 Workplace Electrical Safety