The dangers of electricity in the workplace have long been recognized. The electrical safety regulations set forth by OSHA are intended to shield workers from risks like electric shock, electrocution, fires, and explosions. This post aims to discuss some common electrical hazards and how to improve electrical safety in construction site.

1. What Are The Most Common Electrical Hazards?

1.1. Overhead power lines

According to the Health and Safety Executive, contact with overhead electric power lines is to blame for more than 50% of fatal electrical incidents. This is frequently due to a lack of awareness caused by a lack of risk assessment or workers who have not educated themselves on the hazards. Electricity will conduct through machinery and vehicles that come too close to power lines, as well as through people using or touching the equipment at the time.

top electrical hazard
Contact with overhead electric power lines is to blame for more than 50% of fatal electrical incidents

1.2. Underground power cables

Because underground electrical lines are hidden from view and may not be discovered until it is too late, they can be more dangerous than overhead cables. Furthermore, when these wires are exposed, it is impossible to determine by sight whether they are live. On all construction sites, care must be given when excavating, especially if the area is close to a building, a street, or a sidewalk. We must take the necessary safety measures if you need to work close to underground electrical cables.

1.3. Running over electrical wires

It is not uncommon for electrical lines to be run along the ground on a construction site. While not ideal, it may be required when electricity is needed in a particular area for a brief period of time. These electrical cables may present major tripping risks. The fact that the wires are frequently driven over and walked on, which causes damage to the cable itself, is more problematic. When a wire is damaged, there is a significant chance that someone nearby could be seriously hurt or killed by a shock or possibly an arc flash.

>> Read more: Health and Safety in Construction

2. Tips to Enhance Electrical Safety in Construction Site

2.1. Conduct risk assessments

Risk assessments are one of the most crucial subjects in electrical safety for preventing accidents and lowering overall risk. Carry out an exhaustive and comprehensive risk assessment before any kind of work starts on the construction site. By taking such precautions, you can identify the potential electrical hazards and ensure that suitable control measures are in place to prevent them from causing harm to workers. 

All employees should  be trained to examine the working space and perform risk analyses of all the electrical dangers before any work is started there. You will not only warn your employees about the risks that are currently present on the job site, but you will also build safety plans and processes to avoid any accidents.

2.2. Determine electrical hazards

Construction sites pose various hazards that must never be neglected. Encourage your staff to practice recognizing any irregularity or electrical hazard, such as recognizing a distinct burning odor. Create a safety checklist, and include it in your regular daily activities. Make the workplace a place where staff members feel free to report issues to a manager.

Additionally, each electrical danger on the job site should be identified to the workers with its precise location. Using project management software is an effective approach to keep track of any on-site risks. This is just one of several workplace electrical safety advice that can help you save both time and money.

construction electrical safety checklist
Determine electrical hazards help to reduce risk

Workers should take pictures of potential risks while evaluating the site and make vital notes about the best safety practices. When finished, the data will be automatically saved to the cloud for workers to view and share throughout the job site, alerting them to the precise dangers and how to prevent them.

2.3. Always wear personal protective equipment

Personal safety should be prioritized over all other safety measures since it immediately shields you from electrical accidents. Personal protective equipment is your first line of defense to potential shocks that may occur while on the job. Your probable exposure to electricity determines the level of personal protection necessary. When handling electrical items, wear electrically conductive gloves and shoes since they offer the utmost security. When working with wiring or when you are near electrical equipment, take extra measures including donning a face shield, fire-resistant helmet, protective glasses, and earmuffs.

2.4. Use testing devices

Testing tools are essential for electrical safety in construction. If you are unsure how to use any electrical equipment or wiring, never handle it. Remember to use approved electrical power testing equipment to avoid shocks and other possibly dangerous electrocutions. This enables you to properly determine the operation’s level of risk. The electrical power test equipment offers the required defense against undesired and perhaps fatal shocks.

Check all wires to see if it is grounded, dead, or needs additional safety devices. The first stage in your electrical safety plan should be to acquire and use high-quality testing equipment such as voltage detectors, clamp meters, and receptacle testers 

2.5. Use voltage regulators and circuit breakers

One of the many electrical suggestions offered that can be essential to guaranteeing safety on the job site is to use both devices. Voltage regulators aid in preventing equipment damage during electricity surges, while surge protectors are excellent for cutting power during emergencies.

2.6. Use cord protectors

When working with electricity, it’s crucial to use outlet strips and extension cords safely. Another excellent technique to practice safety in the electrical construction sector is to use cable covers and cord protectors. Install floor cord protectors as well, not just to safeguard the wires that pass through a room but also to stop workers from stumbling on frayed cords.

2.7. Never work in wet conditions

Water and electricity don’t mix well. Therefore, when using electrical equipment, working near water dramatically increases your risk of electrocution, especially if the equipment is improperly insulated. To guarantee complete worker safety, wet electrical equipment should be inspected by a licensed electrician before power is restored. The electrical safety plan must include eliminating moist circumstances.

2.8. Ensure employees have proper training in electrical equipment

Because your staff are professionals, it may seem redundant to mention this workplace electrical safety guideline, yet it is frequently forgotten. Just as in any other industry, when workers use the same tools every day, it might create negative habits and improper usage. Because doing this task can be very dangerous, it’s crucial that your employees are properly trained to do so. Additionally, workers must know how to operate every instrument safely, especially when performing direct electrical work.

electrical safety at construction site
Ensure employees have proper training in electrical equipment

2.9. Set electrical safety signs on construction sites

On building sites, there aren’t just workers; occasionally, there are also guests. Everyone who visits the building site, whether as a visitor or a worker, needs to be aware of the potential risks. That is the reason why the safety sign should be placed on the sites to raise the attention of everybody. Electrical safety signs can warn everyone of any potentially high voltages, overhead power lines or other electrical hazards on the work sites. If you see any warning signs on a construction site, never ignore it. Follow the instructions in the signs to avoid the unexpected dangers.

>> Read more: Safety signs on a construction site

On any building site, safety must always come first, especially for those working in the electrical construction sector. Ensuring electrical safety in construction sites means that The above electrical safety advice can help you gain a better grasp of how to reduce the risks associated with working with electrical equipment. Electrical safety is a constant worry. You can now create an electrical safety plan that assures your employees’ safety before they even set foot on the job site using workplace electrical safety advice.