Facts & Tips to Help You Be Safe Around Electricity
May is National Electrical Safety Month. The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) uses the month of May to educate people about the dangers of “electrically-related fires, fatalities, injuries, and property loss”. NFPA also teams up with ESFI to promote “safety activates throughout the month that can be used by safety advocates, educators, and consumers”.
Last year, we here at IFS kicked off National Electrical Safety Month with a blog post about how to protect yourself against electrical fires. Click here, to read about the 5 Main Causes of Electrical Fires and How to Extinguish an Electrical Fire. This year, we are going to talk about electrical safety facts.
Electrical Safety Facts
Work Care reports that:
- 37 percent of non-fatal electrical injuries were caused by “contact with electrical current of machine, tool, appliance, or light fixture” between 2003 and 2010.
- Contact with wiring, transformers, or other electrical components accounted for 35 percent of non-fatal injuries.
- Contact with overhead power lines caused 40 percent of fatal injuries between 2003 and 2010, but only 2 percent of non-fatal injuries.
- 6,000 electricity-related work fatalities were reported between 1992 and 2013.
- From 2003-2010, contact with electric currents ranked seventh among the top 10 causes of work-related fatalities.
- 24,100 non-fatal, electrical work-related injuries occurred between 2003 and 2012.
- 78 electricians died in work-related incidents in 2014.
Tips for How to Be Safe With Electricity
OSHA recommends the following tips with it comes to safely interacting with electricity:
- Electrical hazards can cause burns, shocks, and electrocution (death).
- Assume that all overhead wires have lethal voltages of energy.
- Never assume that a wire is safe to touch even if it is down or appears to be insulated.
- Never touch a fallen overhead power line.
- Call the electric utility company to report fallen electrical lines.
- If working at heights or handling long objects, survey the area before starting work for the presence of overhead wires.
- Stay at least 10 feet (3 meters) away from overhead wires during cleanup and other activities.
- If an overhead wire falls across your vehicle while you are driving, stay inside the vehicle and continue to drive away from the line. If the engine stalls, do not leave your vehicle. Warn people not to touch the vehicle or the wire. Call or ask someone to call the local electric utility company and emergency services.
- Never operate electrical equipment while you are standing in water.
- Never repair electrical cords or equipment unless qualified and authorized.
- Have a qualified electrical inspect electrical equipment that has gotten wet before energizing it.
- If working in damp locations, inspect electric cords and equipment to ensure that they are in good condition and free of defects, and use a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI).
OSHA reminds us that “electrical hazards can cause burns, shocks, and electrocution (death)”. It can also lead to fires when not used properly. Because electricity can be so dangerous, always make sure to use caution when working near it.
-The IFS Team