Why Worry About Electricity
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Electricity is all around us (a bit like “love” in the song), so although we really don’t want to even contemplate living without it, it’s easy to become a little bit complacent and forget just what dangerous stuff it can be. According to figures from the National Safety Council, around 600 people die every year due to electrical causes, and many of these deaths involve relatively low voltage (600 volts or even less). There are also more than 3000 disabling electrical injuries sustained every year in the US alone, not to mention the ones which are not disabling. So, have you got the message?
There are two basic reasons why people use electricity in an unsafe manner:
- They don’t know any better
- They do know better but think that it will be ok, in other words, they take unnecessary risks
No matter how much you know, or think that you know, avoid these unsafe acts and keep safe:
- Don’t use defective tools
- Don’t use 3 wire cord in a 2 wire plug
- Don’t overload outlets with far too many appliances
- Don’t work near overhead cables
- Don’t use tools or equipment near energized parts
- Don’t forget to use tagout or lockout tags during maintenance, inspectionor repair
- Don’t forget to check that power is off before starting work
It’s always a good idea to have basic knowledge of what to do in an emergency and CPR, just in case a co-worker needs your assistance in a hurry.
- Never touch a person who might be energized
- Don’t try to free them by using anything conductive
- Never touch anyone who has become grounded
- If the person is obviously injured then call 911 immediately, this could be loss of consciousness, confusion with slurred speech etc or some other injury – burns, lacerations etc.
- If possible, shut off the power supply (if you can do so without putting yourself in danger)
- After the power is off, move the victim to a safe distance (as long as there is no danger of neck or spinal injuries)
- Give CPR or other first aid treatment (keep your training up to date, you never know when you might need it)
- Even if there is no immediate evidence of injury, the person could still need medical attention – GET THEM CHECKED OUT AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.