Simple precautions for working with electricity

Posted on 20th Mar, 2019 | By Lorretta Tatham

When working with electricity or other systems within a business or home, staying safe is obviously your top priority. There should be some simple guidelines and ground rules in place for both employers and employees alike when it comes to handling electricity as part of a job. With that in mind, we have put together some simple precautions to take when working with electricity, gas or other high-risk systems.

Wear appropriate safety gear

As with any job, the first and most essential step to staying safe is to to wear appropriate PPE. While there is some PPE that is universal, electricians have certain PPE which is specific to their job. This includes:

  • Bump caps – hard yet lightweight head covering to protect from knocks to the head, such as from items falling from service voids and ducts.
  • Safety trainers – an alternative to steel toe-cap boots, they offer greater sensations underfoot on ladders and steps, helping electricians judge their step better while retaining the same insulation against electricity.
  • Electricians glove – cut-resistant gloves through which the electrician can still feel and grip through, while offering a reasonable amount of insulation against shocks.
  • Safety glasses – specially made glasses are essential for long or short-sighted engineers
  • Filtering dust mask – for protection against accidental asbestos exposure

What’s more, if you’re working with electricity you must avoid wearing anything conductive such as metal bracelets or jewellery (especially since they could get caught inside machinery while they’re being worn).

For working with gas, consider bringing a gas detection system to let you know when there’s a gas leak before you smell it. This can protect you and any other occupants. As a precaution, check that its battery is functional every morning before starting your shift.

Double-check the electricity/gas is turned off

An uncommon but easy mistake to make when working with electricity or gas is forgetting to turn off the electricity or gas flow before starting work on the wiring, or a piece of equipment connected to it. Also, with gas lines, the entire building’s supply must be turned off before proceeding. It’s not enough just to turn off usage for a gas heater or gas cooker, so disable the gas supply ahead of time just in case.

gas turned off

The idea with both electricity and gas is to be “better safe than sorry”. Even if it means having to make some changes, fix or rewire a room, then go to turn the gas or electricity back on to test they work, and return to turn it off once again; it’s the only way to stay safe.

Don’t work when you’re feeling ill

When you’re feeling even a little bit ill, call in sick and go back to work the next day. Being ill on the job is no fun, but it leads to mistakes because you’re too groggy to think clearly about what you’re doing. When working with electricity or gas, you cannot afford to take any chances.

Don’t continue working when you are tired

This is one that even the most experienced of professionals can be prone to. Pushing through to get a rewiring job completed that day when you’re exhausted is a very bad idea. It’s far too easy to let safety procedures lax because you’ve become too tired to keep up with them. Being overly tired is the cause of many accidents on the road and similarly, it’s when workplace accidents are most likely to occur too – both are environments which need to be taken equally seriously.

Here at Browns Safety, we’re committed to safeguarding the physical health of both you and your employees, no matter what industry you work in, and so offer a number of safety courses to help you mitigate risks at work. These span a range of specialisms, such as our first aid at work course, all the way to our abrasive wheels or access equipment courses. To book your place, you can use the on-site form, or simply give us a call on 01282 615517.

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