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Stay Safety Savvy: Working with Electricity

March 5, 2018

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electricity-safety

Working in an industrial setting can present a hazardous daily environment.

Potential danger: direct contact with electricity

Electricity can cause two types of burns:

  • Electrical burns from direct contact with current
  • Thermal burns from arc flashes and blasts - Arc flashes are when powerful high-amperage currents travel through the air. This can occur when high voltage differences exist across a gap between conductors, resulting in the release of huge burst of energy.

Did you know?

  • Arc flashes can travel  several feet  in distance and result in nearly 75% of all electrical work injuries
  • The temperature of an arc flash can easily exceed 15,000°C.
  • Those most at risk from burns are often workers who do not have direct contact with electrical cabinets.
  • Around 5-10 arc flash explosions occur in electric equipment every day in the United States, resulting in injuries so severe the victims require treatment from a special burn centre.

Be safe when working with electricity

Reduce the Risk - Can jobs be scheduled so that power sources can be de-energized, grounded and tested in order to eliminate the hazard?
Can an outdated / worn electrical equipment be removed from service or can a newer safer model replace it?

Restrict Access - Dangerous areas should be segregated from all but necessary personnel - locked electrical vaults and high fences placed around transformers are essential.

Up-to-date-Training - Avoid complacency; embody a pro-active culture where safety is of paramount importance. Everyone from senior management to junior levels must be responsible for both themselves and the safety of others and must act to minimise risks. Managers should perform regular reviews of each job profile and deliver frequent refresher training for all personnel to ensure standards are not only maintained, but exceeded.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) - It’s there for a reason:  PPE aims to protect workers against health and safety risks posed by their work environments. This is designed as the last ‘stage’ of protection, but is imperative nonetheless. Insulated gloves, fire resistant clothing and face shields should be worn when working on energized electrical equipment.

Through proper use of PPE employees reduce their exposure to hazards that cannot be prevented through engineering and administrative controls alone.

Be Vigilant - You must always follow the proper advice and guidelines given by your employer on-site and follow their outlined procedures as instructed
in your site safety orientation.

 

NES Global Talent has decades of experience providing dedicated personnel to the power industry across the globe. If you need an agile workforce for your power plant please contact us, or if you are looking for your next role then please view our power jobs.