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ELECTRICAL SAFETY - Electricity demands proper respect

By Alex Bender | GARRISON SAFETY OFFICE | August 04, 2014

Did you know according to Compliance and Safety, 60 people die every year by electrocutions from consumer products? The three leading killers are small appliances (i.e. toaster ovens), power tools and lighting equipment. Thirty thousand non-fatal shock accidents occur each year. 70 percent of child-related electrical accidents occur at home when adult supervision is present.

Indoors, outdoors, at home, at work … it’s hard to name a place where electricity doesn’t make our lives easier – or put us at risk. While we’re used to it providing us with the ultimate in convenience, electrical power is a force to be wary of and respected. The following tips on electrical safety can help prevent major electrical hazards at home or at work.

EXTENSION CORDS

Use extension cords only when necessary and on a temporary basis.

Make sure cords do not dangle from counters or table tops where they can be pulled down or tripped over.

Replace cracked worn extension cords with appropriately rated and sized cords that have Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory labels. Insert plugs fully so that no part of the prongs are exposed when the extension cord is in use.

Cords are not to be run through walls, ceilings, under rugs or across doorways. Never connect cords in a series daisy chain, use a surge protector with the proper length cord.

When unplugging any power cord grasp it by the plug and don’t jerk or tug on the cord. You will damage the plug end by breaking the ground prong in the outlet.

Check the plug and the body of the extension cord while it is in use. Replace the cord if it is hot. This is an indication that the cord is overloaded and should be replaced with a cord with larger conductors.

Never cover any part of an extension cord with newspapers, clothing, rugs or any object because it can overheat and cause a fire.

ELECTRICAL RECEPTACLES

In work settings

Only qualified personnel should install receptacles or replace damaged ones. Those that feel hot, emit smoke or sparks, have loose fitting plugs, have signs of melting carbonization, soot, or those where plugged-in lamps flicker or fail to light may be damaged.

Damaged and deteriorated receptacles must be replaced immediately after identification and marked or labeled to prevent use until replaced. Receptacles must be installed at least 6 feet from any water source and include Ground Fault Interrupters.

POWERED HAND TOOLS

Ensure the tools you use have a ground prong on the plug end and if not, check for a double insulation markings or label on the tool. Look for a square inside a square on the tool label, and it would also have the words, “double insulated.”

Hand tools without a ground prong or not double insulated should not be used as they pose a shock hazard to the user.

ADAPTERS

Never use adapters designed to defeat the grounding connection.

DOWNED POWER LINES

Never touch any fallen wire.

Consider every wire on the ground to be energized and dangerous.

Never drive over downed power lines. Assume they are energized

Remember, preventing an accident is much easier than responding to one. Electrical hazards can cause burns, shocks and electrocution deaths.

For more information visit www.osha.gov/Publications/electrical_ safety.html.

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