Electrical safety at work requires constant care by all workers and business owners to minimise the risks. Working with electricity is dangerous but following some simple, straightforward tips, the likelihood and impact of an accident can be substantially reduced.
1) Visually check that the electrical appliance is in good condition with no damage and is complete. Any damaged items need to be marked as “Do not Use” and stored in a location where they cannot be accessed until they are properly repaired or disposed of.
2) Properly maintained equipment is essential and should take place to ensure equipment works safely as required. Also check that electrical appliance is being used for what it is designed for. Manufacturer’s guidelines should be consulted to ensure that it is being used as recommended and how to use safely in operation.
3) Do not overload power points with extension devices and only use one extension lead on one socket and do not daisy chain them. Fully un-wind the extension lead and do not allow the cable to be trapped in doorways or other obstacles.
4) When using electrically powered tools, battery operated ones are safer.
5) Use electrical equipment in dry surroundings. If equipment needs to be used outdoors or in wet surroundings, appropriate control measures need to be in place. Only staff who have received appropriate training to prevent injury to themselves and others should be used.
6) Always use a Residual Current Device (RCD) and plug in types should be plugged into the main socket. Test the RCD before use to ensure it is working properly.
7) Ensure only tested (either visually or PAT tested) equipment is used in the workplace. This means that mobile phone chargers, fans, heaters and other items brought in from home, need to be tested before being used.
8) An emergency cut off switch is provided and is easily accessible and clearly identified on each machine, or area, that can cause an electric shock. The switch needs to be tested on a regular basis to ensure it remains effective.
9) Working near electric cables. Some cables are obvious but others buried in walls, ceilings or underground are not. Check wiring diagrams if possible or use a cable locator to find cables.
10) If an electrical supply cannot be turned off, specific safeguards need to be in place before any work starts. A Business owner cannot assume that the employee will follow procedures and needs to ensure that electrical supply is only worked on when it has been confirmed as not-live.
We cannot overemphasis the need for every business owner to have a strong stance on electrical safety at work and, by following the steps outlined above, the risks of injury will be minimised.