Working conditions have improved in general terms for many workers over the last decade or so but despite greater awareness of the need for excellent workplace safety procedures, there is still no room for complacency.
Even one industrial accident is one too many and as electrical equipment can be so dangerous if it is faulty or used incorrectly, it makes sound sense to remain proactive with your workplace safety procedures.
Here is a look at some key points and safety tips, including how to identify potential hazards and take steps to improve safety, plus an overview of understanding voltage impact, and why regular testing is so important.
Identify potential risks
A good starting point when you are trying to make sure your workplace environment is as safe as possible is to perform a risk assessment.
If you are a UK small business with less than five employees you dont currently have to write details of your risk assessment down, but it is no less important to comply with the fundamental basics of safety guidelines so that you can prevent workers from suffering an injury while operating electrical equipment.
What you need to do is look at each piece of equipment and how the work area is laid out, to see if you can identify any potential hazards. When you spot any potential problems or can see that there might be a risk attached to operating the equipment, the next step is to put some control measures in place.
This might include fitting circuit breakers supplied by someone like RS Components as an extra layer of protection plus any other measures that you think will improve workplace safety.
Avoiding a high-voltage encounter
A common question that often crops up when providing electrical safety training is which is safer, AC or DC?
The point to remember is that alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC) both have a marginally different effect on your body, but the short answer is that both are equally as dangerous when they exceed a certain voltage.
It is difficult to predict the specific effect on any person who comes into contact with an AC or DC current and for this reason alone, it should be a priority to avoid contact with high-voltage electrical conductors.
Testing electrical equipment
You will also want some assurances that the electrical equipment you are using is safe, which is why regular checks and inspections are required.
The best way to ensure that everything is in order would be to have all of your electrical equipment in the workplace inspected and tested periodically by someone qualified and competent to carry out these inspections.
Risk of injury
Electrical injuries can be caused by a wide range of different circumstances and workers are potentially at risk from suffering injuries from electric shock, suffering electrical burns and even thermal burns.
Even a seemingly modest 50 volts applied to your body can cause your heart to stop beating properly, cause severe breathing difficulties and maybe induce muscle spasms.
This should highlight how dangerous it can be to work with electrical equipment that is not operated correctly or is faulty, so the message is loud and clear, respect all of these items and related threats if you take workplace safety seriously.
Sienna Baxter works in a role as an electrical safety engineer which sees her travelling between offices and other commercial buildings checking that workers are safe and regulations met.