precautions while using electrical equipment
. Electrical equipment can be very dangerous. Therefore, you need to be very careful when you use such equipment. You need to make sure that even the working environment is safe. If no safety precautions are taken, anyone working with dangerous electrical equipment can risk severe injuries.
Avoid contact with energized electrical circuits
. Please don t make fun of this rule if you already know this (and you probably already know if you are reading these lines) and remember that if something bad occurs
Never use metallic pencils or rulers
. Never use metallic pencils or rulers, or wear rings or metal watchbands when working with electrical equipment. This rule is very easy to forget, especially when you are showing some electrical part pointing with metallic pencil. Fire safety refers to precautions that are taken to prevent or reduce the likelihood of a fire that may result in death, injury, or property damage, alert those in a structure to the presence of an uncontrolled fire in t
protective clothes and shoes
. When it is necessary to handle equipment that is plugged in, be sure hands are dry and, when possible, wear nonconductive gloves, protective clothes and shoes with insulated soles. Fire safety is often a component of building safety. Those who inspect buildings for violations of the Fire Code and go into schools to educate children on Fire Safety topics are fire department members known as fire prevention officers. The Chief Fire Prevention Offic
Checking the Suitability Of the Equipment
. First of all, you need to check whether the electrical equipment is appropriate for the job. Make sure that the construction of the equipment makes it safe enough. Define any safety hazards that there might be and decide which is the best solution for them. It is inappropriate to use electrical equipment in a damp environment. It is a better idea if you use air powered equipment instead, or any other equipment that runs on low voltage transformer
Checking the Condition of the Equipment
. After you confirm that the electrical equipment is appropriate for the job, you need to check whether its condition is good or not. A simple inspection can be performed by switching off the equipment and checking the plug, wires and the fuse. You must make sure that the plug and cable are working properly. There should be no protruding wires in the cable. In case you find that the cable is damaged, call for someone professional to come and replac
Checking the Power of the Equipment
. The electrical equipment must be powerful enough to be connected to your power supply. You must also see that the power supply is adjusted to the correct voltage so that it would provide all the electric power that the equipment requires in order to work properly.
Checking the Safety Of the Power Supply
. Checking that the electrical equipment is safe is not enough. You must also check that the power supply is safe as well. The help of a professional is needed here. The professional must test the power supply on a regular basis to confirm that it is safe enough to be used for electrical equipment. You must never connect electrical equipment to the power supply if it is damaged. Wait until it has been properly repaired by professional people. Testi
Making Use Of a Residual Current Device
. The residual current device (often abbreviated as RCD) is a very important tool to enhance safety when using electrical equipment. It reduces the potential risk of being electrocuted. Do not use an RCD to reduce the risk of explosion in an explosive atmosphere.
Check the electrical supply is safe to use
. You should be sure that the electrical supply is safe to use. Regular tests performed by a competent person, using suitable equipment are a good way of reducing risks. Where there is evidence that the supply may not be safe, such as damaged equipment or wiring, the supply should not be used until work has been done to correct this. Some simple user checks can be carried out on electrical socket outlets using an electrical socket tester, but it is
Use a Residual Current Device
. A Residual Current Device (RCD) can reduce the likelihood of an electrical injury but a shock can still cause very serious or fatal injuries, so an RCD should only be used as a secondary means of reducing the risk of people being injured by electricity. RCD s are not designed to prevent the ignition of an explosive atmosphere and should not be used for this purpose. The best place for an RCD is built into the main switchboard, as this means that
Check that the electrical equipment is in good condition
. Check that the electrical equipment is in good condition. The HSE booklet Maintaining portable and transportable electrical equipment will help you do this. A fire safety plan is required by all North American national, state and provincial fire codes based on building use or occupancy types. Generally, the owner of the building is responsible for the preparation of a fire safety plan. Buildings with elaborate emergency systems may require the
Check that the equipment is suitable for the electrical supply
. Check that the equipment is suitable for the electrical supply with which it is going to be used, and the electrical supply is safe. Electrical installations must include measure for protection against Electric Shock which can cause death by heart attack and Overcurrents which can cause fires and damage to equipment.
Check the electrical cable is not damaged
. Check the electrical cable is not damaged and has not been repaired with insulating tape or an unsuitable connector. Damaged cable should be replaced with a new cable by a competent person. IEC 60364 is the International standard for electrical installations and the national standards in many countries is based on this. Section 41 deals with protection against electric shock and describes a number of measures that should be included in all electr
Check that the outer cover of the equipment is not damaged
. Check that the outer cover of the equipment is not damaged in a way that will give rise to electrical or mechanical hazards. Experiments carried out on students (with medical staff standing by just in case) have shown that a current of 50mA to 500 mA flowing through the heart is enough to stop your heart. The exact current depends on the individual and the on the frequency of the electrical supply 55Hz supplies can kill you at slightly lower cu
Electrical Safety Precautions
. Avoiding electrical hazards associated with electrical heat tracing requires protectivemeasures in several different areas. A designer/installer must pay attention to circuitand equipment identification, analysis of hazards and exposure to those hazards,warnings, listing, and labeling. The designer/installer must also consider the me chanics of establishing an electrically safe work condition.
Never neglect electric repairing tasks
. It is a common tendency for many to ignore small frays, or a tiny spark, that might be visible whenever an electronic appliance is switched on. These apparently minor problems can, however, go on to assume serious proportions later, with possibly fatal consequences. Check all the electronic wires at your home on a periodic basis, for probable signs of damages, or wear and tear. If you detect anything that requires attention, get in touch with a
Turn off switches before working on electrical gadgets
. You might be pretty much conversant with the operations of domestic electronic appliances, but that does not make working on live wires advisable. If you feel you need to take a look at any particular functional part of your television, mixer, fan, or any other electronic gadget, make it a point to switch off the concerned equipment first. The same should remain a priority, even when you avail the services of a professional contractor.
Do not put excessive load on any particular circuit
. Using a multi plug to operate several electronic appliances from a single point is, seemingly, a convenient proposition. However, such arrangements are fraught with risks too. If a circuit gets overloaded, both your personal health, as well as your valuable appliances, might get adversely affected. Check the electric ratings of each of the gadgets that you plan to use, before deciding whether it would be advisable to operate them from the same bo
Never bring liquids in close proximity of wires
. Do not put your own safety at risk, by keeping a glass of drinks on your computer desk. Having refreshments while working on an electronic gadget is NEVER a good idea. Chances of the liquid getting spilled on the wires remain, which can increase the risks of electrocution. Keep water bottles, tea cups and drinks glasses away from your electronic tools, and keep yourself safe.
Get rid of dampness
. Regularly check for any telltale signs of dampness, at and/or around your electrical boards. Such dampness can increase the risk factor while handling the wires and cables. Make sure that all the switches and cable circuits in your home are set up at clean, dry places.
Do not let the wires and cables become disorganized
. Messy wires are often the most common cause for electrical fires. Apart from the risks of getting electrocuted, wires lying about in a disorganized manner on the floor can also result in accidental trips and falls. You can use cable ties to bundle wires together, so that there are no causes for confusion. If necessary, you can label the wires as well.
Underground and overhead power lines
. When carrying out an excavation, always assume that cables will be present. Take precautions against striking underground cables by confirming the location of underground cables (and other services) and obtaining up to date electrical plans for adjacent buildings.
Fitting insulation under a suspended floor
. Power cables are often run along bearers and joists under a suspended floor. When installing underfloor insulation with steel staples turn off the power at the mains if there are electric cables present as it is extremely important not to staple through a live electricity cable
. Assess all of the risks associated with the task. Plan the whole job in advance so that you can take every precaution, including arranging for help in case of paralyzing shock. Consider the use of a pre job safety meeting to discuss the job with all workers before starting the work.
Limit the exposure
. Have live parts exposed for as little time as necessary. This does not mean that you should work hastily. Be organized so that the job can be done efficiently. Provide a means to switch off any equipment if someone should somehow be trapped by moving parts or receive an electrical shock. For large items of machinery this will usually be in the form of an emergency stop button. For simpler equipment it will be a plug and socket (just unplug to swi
Cover exposed live metal
. Use insulating barriers or shields to cover live parts. Plexiglas plates can be usefull. If the voltage of the system is less than 50V for AC supplies or less than 120V for DC supplies then it is known as extra low voltage and it is considered to be low enough that it is not going to cause a fatal electric shock. If the source of supply is made so that, even in a fault condition, mains voltages cannot appear on the system then it is safety extra
Cover grounded metalwork
. Grounded metal parts should be covered with insulating material as much as possible. Very important. For all low voltage cables there should be an additional protection over the insulation. If the cables is outside or located where it may be abused then this outer cable should be tough enough to withstand this abuse in some cases this will mean the cable should armoured. For live elements inside an enclosure this means that the enclosure must b
Limit the energy to reduce the risk
. All practical steps should be taken to ensure that the fault current at the point of work is kept as low as possible while the work is in progress. For example, when measuring voltage, do it on the load side of the circuit protective devices with the smallest current rating. Current limiting devices can be used to reduce the risk of an arc flash.
Remove metal stuff
. These could cause a short circuit where small clearances are involved. (If it is necessary to wear medic alert bracelets, secure them with transparent surgical or adhesive tape or rubber bands.) To avoid the danger of electric shock due to this voltage you should make sure that any major metal elements in the building are bonded to the building electrical earth or ground conductor. This ensures that during a fault all the metal in the building go
One hand face and body to side
. Use one hand with your face and body turned to the side when operating a safety switch. Limit possible injuries by not placing body parts directly in front of energized equipment when there is danger of an arc flash. If a device has a metal enclosure or other exposed metal parts then there is a danger that these exposed metal parts could become live during a fault and this could itself cause an electric shock. The voltage on the exposed metal par
When you re in awkward positions
. Avoid electrical contact when working in awkward positions. If you must work in an awkward or unbalanced position and reach with your tools, use insulating cover up material on the tools to avoid contact with live conductors. There is a device which can protect you even in these circumstances. This is known as a residual current device (RCD) or a ground fault interruptor (GFI). This measures the current to the load, in the phase conductor, and th
Equipment and clothing
. Use the correct safety equipment and clothing. Remeber: gloves, clothes and shoes. Electrical cables and equipment are not 100% efficient. For every kiloWatt of power passing through there will be a few watts of heat dissipated in the cable due to the resistance in the copper (or other) conductors and the losses in electronic components. This heat will cause the equipment to heat up. How much it heats up depends on how fast the heat is conducted
. Electrically powered equipment, such as hot plates, stirrers, vacuum pumps, electrophoresis apparatus, lasers, heating mantles, ultrasonicators, power supplies, and microwave ovens are essential elements of many word areas. These devices can pose a significant hazard to workers, particularly when mishandled or not maintained. Many electrical devices have high voltage or high power requirements, carrying even more risk. Large capacitors found in m
Circuit Protection Devices
. Circuit protection devices are designed to automatically limit or shut off the flow of electricity in the event of a ground fault, overload, or short circuit in the wiring system. Fuses, circuit breakers, and ground fault circuit interrupters are three well known examples of such devices. Fuses and circuit breakers prevent over heating of wires and components that might otherwise create hazards for operators. They disconnect the circuit when it b
What are the risks from electricity
. Harm can be caused to any person when they are exposed to live parts that are either touched directly or indirectly by means of some conducting object or material. Voltages over 50 volts AC or 120 volts DC are considered hazardous. Electricity can kill. Each year about 1000 accidents at work involving electric shocks or burns are reported to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Around 30 of these are fatal, most of them arising from contact w
Who is most at risk from electricity
. Anyone can be exposed to the dangers of electricity while at work and everyone should be made aware of the dangers. Those most at risk include maintenance staff, those working with electrical plant, equipment and machinery, and people working in harsh environments such as construction sites.
Legal duties and obligations around electricity
. As well as a moral duty on employers to protect employees and members of the public, General Health and Safety Legislation covers all employers and workplaces. In addition, specific duties and obligations are laid out in the following regulations: The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 These regulations apply to all aspects of the use of electricity within the workplace from electrical supplies to the use of electrical equipment.
Assessing the risks from electricity
. Consider the following hazards in your risk assessment: Live parts Normal mains voltage, 230 volts AC, can kill. Also, contact with live parts can cause shocks and burns. Fire Electrical faults can cause fires. This is particularly true where the equipment contains a heat source (e.g. heaters, including water heaters, washing machines, ovens, heat seal packaging equipment). Flammable or explosive atmospheres Electricity can be a source of igniti
Basic electrical safety
. Below are some minimum steps you should take to ensure electrical safety. Mains supplies. 1 install new electrical systems to BS 7671 Requirements for Electrical Installations. 2 maintain all electrical installations in good working order. 3 provide enough socket outlets for equipment in use. 4 avoid overloading socket outlets
Use the right equipment
. Use the right equipment 1 choose electrical equipment that is suitable for its working environment. 2 ensure that equipment is safe when supplied and maintain it in a safe condition. 3 electrical equipment used in flammable/explosive atmospheres should be designed not to produce sparks. 4 Seek specialist advice when choosing this type of equipment. 5 protect light bulbs and other easily damaged equipment
Maintenance and repairs
. 1 ensure equipment is fitted with the correctly rated fuse. 2 ensure cable ends always have their outer sheaths firmly clamped to stop wires working loose from plugs or inside equipment. 3 replace damaged sections of cable completely
Use other forms of power
. Electrical risks can sometimes be eliminated by using air, hydraulic or hand powered tools. These are especially useful in harsh conditions, but remember they could introduce other hazards. If equipment has ventilation holes then make sure air circulation through these is not blocked. If equipment has a heat sink (such as the ridges on some electric motors and electronic motor drives) then make sure air can circulate freely around the heat sink.
Reduce the voltage
. Reduce the voltage Using lower voltages can reduce or eliminate the risks of electric shocks and burns: 1 portable tools are available which can be run from a 110 volts, centre tapped to earth supply, (usually from a transformer) 2 where electrically powered tools are used, battery operated are safest. 3 temporary lighting can be run at lower voltages, e.g. 12, 25, 50 or 110 volts.
Use Residual Current Devices
. Use Residual Current Devices (RCDs) for extra safety An RCD can provide additional safety. An RCD detects some (but not all) faults in the electrical system and rapidly switches off the supply. The best place for an RCD is built into the main supply or the socket outlet, as this means that the supply cables are permanently protected. If this is not possible, use a plug incorporating an RCD or a plug in RCD adaptor. RCDs for protecting people have
Maintain your electrical equipment and installations
. All electrical equipment and installations should be maintained to prevent danger. This should include an appropriate system of formal visual inspection, and where necessary, testing. Most faults can usually be identified by an informal visual inspection. It is important that before an item is used a check is made on the plug, cable, cable entry or input socket and the casing of the equipment. If a fault is identified, the item should be removed
Underground and overhead electrical supplies
. Always assume supplies are live unless it is confirmed otherwise by a competent person or utility company. Use plans and cable avoiding tools to locate cables. Have overhead lines switched off if possible or maintain safe distances from the lines for plant and equipment. More detailed guidance on avoidance of danger from underground and overhead electric lines is available from the Health and Safety Executive.