August 2017 – Electrical Hazards

By John Howell,

Toolbox Talks are designed to promote discussions around safety.

Electrical hazards are doubly hazardous in that there is not only the chance of electrocution but also, there is the probability that any electric shock will cause a loss of consciousness that may well result in a fall of some sort. Today we will discuss methods of receiving an electric shock and ways to avoid electrical hazards.

Guide for Discussion

Methods of Receiving an Electric Shock

  • From a defective power tool.
  • From defective extension cords.
  • By not grounding electrical equipment.
  • By coming in close contact with live electric lines.
  • By coming too close to high power lines with the power arching over and making contact.

Ways to Avoid Electric Hazards

  • Always inspect tools and equipment for frayed cords and defective plugs before using them.
  • Never use a power tool that has had the ground plug removed.
  • Never stand in water and operate a power tool.
  • Keep extension cords out of water when in use.
  • Consider all power lines “live” and avoid contact with them.
  • Follow the company assured grounding/electrical protection program.
  • Disconnect all electrical tools and cords when not in use.
  • Be sure all temporary lighting is equipped with bulb covers.
  • Make sure all power supplies, circuit boxes and breaker boxes are properly marked to indicate their purpose.
  • Use Ground Fault Interrupters (GFI’s) on all jobsites.

Additional Discussion Notes:

Who is responsible for the company assured grounding program or to install a ground fault interrupter system?

Remember: The best way to eliminate the hazard of the “quiet killer” is to act as if each exposure to an electrical hazard may be your last. Never take electricity for granted, “It’s a killer.”

NOTE: Always promote a discussion on any of the topics covered in the Toolbox Talks. Should any question arise that you cannot answer, don’t hesitate to contact your Employer.



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