There are very few of us who don’t use electrical equipment on a daily basis, so electrical safety should really be something that we’re aware of. Electricity is something that, if something was to go wrong, can cause severe injury, cause damage to property and even kill; so, we wanted to help make you aware of the main hazards, risks and any precautions you should take.
If you’re regularly working with electricity or electrical equipment, you should be aware of what the main hazards of unsafe working are. You could be affected by:
Electric shocks can also lead to other types of injury, such as causing falls from ladders or scaffolds.
You should carry out a risk assessment of any electrical hazards, which should cover:
You should also take into account the equipment that is used, how it’s used and the environment it’s used in. Always make sure that the electrical installation and equipment is suitable for its intended use, and that it is only used for its intended purpose. Something else to consider is the conditions, in which electrical equipment is being used:
Everyone is responsible to make sure that work is carried out safely; workers have a responsibility to ensure they keep themselves and others safe. Managers do have the duty to provide the resources, training and instruction necessary to ensure their workers work safely and in a manner that doesn’t endanger others.
The people who are most at risk when dealing with electricity are: maintenance staff; those working with electrical plant, equipment and machinery; and people working in harsh environments (e.g. construction sites).
Most accidents occur because individuals:
The answer to this question is pretty simple: someone with suitable training, skill and knowledge for the task in hand, and are able to conduct it in a manner that will prevent injury to themselves and others.
Electrical equipment should always be visually checked to help spot any signs of damage or wear and tear. However, this isn’t enough; electrical equipment should also be tested more thoroughly by a competent person. This testing should be carried out often enough so there is little chance the equipment will become hazardous between tests. Any equipment that is used in harsh environments should be tested more frequently.
It’s good practice to decide on how often the equipment should be checked (e.g. on a monthly/yearly basis). When you have decided on this, make a note of it, carry out your checks in accordance with the timetable you’ve created and always document your results.
If you’re struggling with anything to do with electrical safety, or need some advice on best practice don’t hesitate to get in touch and one of our consultants would be happy to help. We also offer template electrical risk assessments and method statements on our website to get you started.
By James Murphy