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How to Maintain Electrical Safety in the Workplace?

Offices and workplaces today operate with more electronic items than ever before. Electrical equipment is a mainstay for any workplace, and the ever-increasing number of electronic items we carry with ourselves can significantly increase the risk of an electrical hazard without us realising it.

That being said, there are still methods we can conduct and processes we can follow to increase the electrical safety in the workplace.

Ensure that Regular Maintenance and Testing is Conducted

Most electrical appliances require annual or bi-annual testing to ensure that they are safe to use. A PAT test is part of the regular inspection needed to determine if an appliance is safe to use after it goes through regular wear and tear. It is not necessary for an electrician to carry out a PAT test. With an online PAT testing course, you can get a PAT certification if you have the necessary electronic competency.

As electronics age and are used, they decrease in efficiency, and require more and more electricity to keep their output up. This increases the risks they present. The more electricity an appliance requires, the more frequent PAT tests should be. While there are no legal requirements on the specific frequency of testing, most legislature points towards conducting a test every 1-2 years.

Remove any Potential for Contact with Live Electric Currents

Any work area should not have any places to interact with electric currents greater than 50V. If there are any electrical hazards, such as exposed wiring, they should only be handled with qualified personnel who have the proper training and safety equipment to prevent shocks.

Lock Out Tag Out (LOTO)

A Lock Out Tag Out (LOTO) policy ensures that any potentially hazardous electrical equipment or energy sources are locked up with physical restraints and warning labels. It isolates dangerous equipment, such as manual circuit breakers and line valves.

They are only opened for maintenance and servicing by qualified personnel, and follow a strict LOTO policy to do so.

Make Certain that Electrical Safety Procedures are Followed

Certain trivial steps can be crucial to maintaining safety in the workplace through safe usage of electrical appliance. A few examples of such safety procedures are:

  • Prevent electric cords from stretching, especially when connected
  • Prevent picking, holding, and hanging electric appliances from their cords
  • Unplugging and plugging cords by pulling and pushing on the plug head instead of the cord

This applies to all electrical equipment in the workplace, from computer wires and chargers to microwaves and printers.

Always Follow the Electrical Safety Practices and Policies of Your Company

All companies are legally required to ensure worker safety around electrical equipment, provide training where necessary, and make certain that qualified and competent persons handle electrical items and equipment.

They will have a policy in place on usage of such items, and it is necessary to follow those policies to keep yourself and your fellow employees safe.

Put Up Physical Barriers Where Necessary

Some electrical hazards and equipment will not always have proper shielding, shelving, and protection in place. If an electrician is conducting maintenance, they need to put up physical barriers to warn any workers regarding the danger, and protect them from contacting any exposed wires or circuits.

Ensure Properly Trained Personnel Handle All Electrical Work

Both in-house and contracted electrical workers should be qualified to work with the specific equipment and operations being conducted, and the employer or contractor has to ensure that all safety procedures are followed.

Proper Store Cleaning Equipment and Tools that can Conduct Electricity

Working near electric hazards should be prevented at all times. However, if there are any unmovable electric items near cleaning material or conductive tools, they should be removed immediately.

Moreover, conductive materials should be stored properly and away from electrical equipment, such as steel wool and water solvents.

Place Warning Signs for Electrical Lines and Overhead Wires

Most office spaces have electrical wiring in between the walls and ceilings. If any maintenance work is being conducted that exposes those wires, warning signs, labels, and barriers should be placed where necessary.

Electricians conducting repair or maintenance work should also use ladders with non-conductive side rails if used to access electric wiring at height. Office workers should stay at least 10 feet away from any overhead work being done as well.

Prevent Use of Flammable Materials When Possible

There is always considerable risk when working with flammable materials near vapours, gases, and dust. However, extra precaution should be taken in office spaces, and such operations should be carried out by clearing the space being worked on. Any flammable materials that are worked with should have proper fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, and other items nearby.

Conclusion

Electronic equipment is a potential hazard, especially with the increased number of electronic devices we have near us in our workplace, and understanding how to keep oneself safe is necessary for everyone.

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