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Site Safety – Electrical Power Cord Safety

By November 16, 2017Uncategorized

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW…  

Electric shock can cause burns, shocks, falls and electrocution resulting is serious injury or  death — The Bureau of Labor Statistics state that for the last decade, electrical injury has been responsible for an average of 320 workplace deaths and over 4,000 injuries involving days away from work annually in the United States. Personnel Safety and safe operation of machines and tools should be of uppermost importance in all considerations of using  electricity on the jobsite. Electrical violations are among the most commonly cited OSHA violations. There are many specific standards that address electrical safety. Refer to the OSHA  regulations for specific applications.

General Safety Precautions for avoiding electrical shocks include, but not limited to the following:  

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters  The GFCI is a fast acting device that senses a small current leakage to ground. Within 1/40 of a second it shuts off the electricity and “interrupts” the current flow. It provides effective protection against shocks and electrocution. OSHA requires GCFls or equipment grounding conductor program on all construction sites.

Extension Cords: Extension cords are necessary on any job providing power to portable equipment or lighting, however, they are often misused resulting in injuries. Most importantly extension cords are for temporary use only. Inspect extension cords for physical damage before use. Check wattage rating on the tool being used with the extension cord and make sure that the extension cord does not have a lower rating than the tool being used. Don’t use extension cords marked for indoor use outdoors. Don’t plug one extension cord into another.

Electrical Fires: On construction sites, an electrical fire may occur when portable tools overload a power source. If possible to safely disconnect the tool or power cord from the power source, do so immediately. A Class C or multi- purpose fire extinguisher may also be used to ensure the fire is extinguished. Call 911 if necessary.

To Avoid Electrical Hazards:

  • Inspect all electrical equipment daily prior to use, tag as needed and report damaged tools to your supervisor.
  • Survey the work site for overhead power lines and other electrical hazards when using ladders or working on platforms. Maintain the required distance from electrical equipment and conductors. When in doubt stop work and ask your supervisor.
  • Provide adequate overload & short-circuit protection for safe operation. The interrupting capacity of all breakers & fuses must be sufficient to clear the fault current rapidly & without damage to itself.
  • Provide cord protection for flexible cords and cables passing through doorways, travel ways or other pinch points.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher on site at ALL times. The standard procedure for fighting electrical fires is to open the circuit and then apply an approved extinguishing agent. Call 911 if necessary.
  • Avoid mixing water and electricity. Keep electrical equipment, hands, feet, and work surface dry.
  • Check all electrical equipment and notify all others connected to the power source before resetting GFCI or breaker.
  • Use only GFCI sources of electricity on all construction sites.

What NOT to do:

  • Do NOT Use a length or size (wire gauge) extension cord that exceeds the max recommended by tool manufacturer.
  • Do NOT splice extension cords with electrical tape. Splices should be approved permanent splices.
  • Do NOT leave extension cords in walk ways or work areas causing a trip hazard.
  • Do NOT use worn frayed or damaged cords or homemade receptacle box.
  • Do NOT fasten extension cords with staples, hang from nails, or suspend from wire.
  • Do NOT exit your vehicle if it comes in contact with electricity. Drive away until the electricity is no longer in contact with you vehicle. If the engine stops running, Call 911 for assistance.

BE SAFE – ALWAYS USE THE PROPER ELECTRICAL CORDS FOR THE JOB!