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Electrical Safety at Work

Figures quote that there are about 1000 accidents each year at work which involve electric shock or burns. Of these 1000, 30 of them are fatal.

However, the non-fatal accidents should not be underestimated and even these can cause severe and permanent injury to people.

The possible problems that could occur to cause injury or death from electricity include the following:

  • Contact with live parts
  • Faults
  • Fire or explosion

The risk of any of these happening is greatly reduced when risk assessments are carried out and measures are put in place to control the possibility of these incidents occurring.

Risk assessments should be the first step in controlling potential electrical accidents and these can:

  • Identify any hazard
  • Determine who is at greatest risk
  • Evaluate these risks
  • Evaluate existing precautions and suggest more if required

Certain workplaces and circumstances will automatically increase the danger of electrical accidents and potential problems. These could include places which are wet, places which are enclosed and small, or which deal with hazardous conditions and equipment.

Following a risk assessment, the findings can identify any possible areas which need to be addressed to reduce the risk of electrical accidents. Possible areas for improvement may include things like:

  • Electrical system upgrades and replacements
  • Ensuring that maintenance of electrical systems and appliances takes place
  • Preventing socket overloading
  • Ensuring all appliances are safe for use

This is only a sample of the many ways improvements could be made. However, each environment should be taken on an individual basis and improvements made to suit that particular workplace.

Alongside carrying out risk assessments and improving areas following this, regular maintenance and precautions should be a matter of standard when dealing with electrical systems and equipment.

For further information on electrical safety at work see the HSE website and the ESC website who have a wealth of information on the subject.

Written by Sara Thomson

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