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.
• 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.
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
• 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_