What about electrical safety on construction sites?

It's important to maintain electrical safety standards on the site, where the rush to get work finished can sometimes cause safety issues to be overlooked leading to injuries and property damage, or worse. Here's a list of the top five electrical hazards at construction sites, identified by OSHA as the most frequent cause of electrical injuries at construction sites.

Contact With Power Lines

Overhead and buried power lines at your site are especially hazardous because they carry extremely high voltage. Fatal electrocution is the main risk, but burns and falls from elevation are also hazards. Using tools and equipment that can contact power lines increases the risk.

Lack of Ground-Fault Protection

Due to the dynamic, rugged nature of construction work, normal use of electrical equipment at your site causes wear and tear that results in insulation breaks, short-circuits, and exposed wires. If there is no ground-fault protection, these can cause a ground-fault that sends current through the worker’s body, resulting in electrical burns, explosions, fire, or death.

Path To Ground Missing Or Disconnected

If the power supply to the electrical equipment at your site is not grounded or the path has been broken, faulty current may travel through a worker's body, causing electrical burns or death. Even when the power system is properly grounded, electrical equipment can instantly change from safe to hazardous because of extreme conditions and rough treatment.

Equipment Not Used In The Manner Prescribed

If electrical equipment is used in ways for which it is not designed, you can no longer depend on safety features built in by the manufacturer. This may damage your equipment and cause employee injuries. Common examples of misused equipment include: using multi-receptacle boxes designed to be mounted, fitting them with a power cord and placing them on the floor; using equipment outdoors that is labeled for use only in dry, indoor locations; and attaching ungrounded, two-prong adapter plugs to three-prong cords and tools.

Improper Use of Extension and Flexible Cords

The normal wear and tear on extension and flexible cords at your site can loosen or expose wires, creating hazardous conditions. Cords that are not three-wire type, not designed for hard-usage, or that have been modified, increase your risk of contacting electrical current.

What are some electrical safety tips that could help me protect my home or business?
These tips about electrical safety are provided by the NFPA, and we agree!
  • Replace or repair all loose or frayed cords.
  • Avoid running extension cords across doorways or under carpets.
  • In homes with small children, unused wall sockets and extension-cord receptacles should have plastic safety covers.
  • Consider having additional circuits or outlets added by a qualified electrician so you do not have to use extension cords.
  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions for plugging an appliance into a receptacle outlet.
  • Avoid overloading outlets.
  • Plug only one high-wattage appliance into each receptacle outlet at a time.
  • If outlets or switches feel warm, shut off the circuit and have them checked by an electrician.
  • When possible, avoid the use of devices that allow the connection of multiple appliances into a single receptacle.
  • Place lamps on level surfaces, away from things that can burn and use bulbs that match the lamp's recommended wattage.
What are some warning signs of electrical dangers? Often electrical issues are hidden from view, under floors, within walls, in areas of buildings not often seen. Frayed wiring, short circuits, and many other hazards can have serious results. For this reason, it's a good idea to have a professional inspection if you have any questions about your wiring, and particularly if buying, selling or remodeling.

However electrical problems can manifest themselves in ways which can be identified by the careful observer. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has compiled a short list with photos of some definite warning signs to be aware of. Follow this link to read about the dangers and ways to prevent disaster: Warning Signs of Electrical Dangers.

Older homes in particular are subject to wiring and electrical problems, and a professional electrician can inspect, replace and upgrade any suspect wiring. There's no substitute for professional work when it comes to electrical installation.

The Copper Development Association has put together a great Top Ten list of wiring hazards, which you can read about by following this link: Top Ten Wiring Hazards that Threaten Life and Property.

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