We know you’ve heard it a million times; safety is important. We’re not here to lecture you about the “do’s and don’ts” of electrical safety, but rather how you can help yourself to come out of a project both successfully and safely. By following these 5 electrical safety tips, we will be able rest easy knowing that you made it out without a scratch or a shock!
1. Water and electricity are a lot like water and oil: They don’t mix!
Hydration is important, but an electrical job is not the time to be toting around a water bottle with the possibility of spillage. If your hands have any kind of moisture, be sure to dry yourself before starting the job. If you happen to be near a pool or any other body of water…step away. These precautions may seem small, but they can make a big difference! This may be common knowledge to some, but the reason behind it is slightly more complicated. Water itself is not a great conductor of energy. Rather, it is the ions dissolved in the water. Guess what has tons of dissolved ions and makes for a great conductor? You! Yes, the one reading this article!
When the electrical current meets water, it flows through the dissolved ions into your body, where all hell can break loose. The electrical current can move freely throughout your body causing damage to crucial organs, especially the heart. Whether or not the science aspect of this tip interests you, just remember to keep water away from your electrical work!
2. They say eyes are the window to the soul: So protect them!
Depending on the job, the type of eye protection varies. If dust and debris are the only things you have to worry about, a basic pair of safety glasses should be fine. If there are chemicals involved or you are working with heavy power tools, you will want to grab a pair of goggles to make sure you are protected. One culprit people may not first think of when it comes to eye safety is various types of light. If you are working near ultraviolet or infrared light, you will want to utilize eye protection as well. Overall, you don’t want to take any chances with your eyes. If there is any chance something may cause damage, eye protection is the way to go.
3. Power off = Safety on!
When working with different electrical devices, you want to be sure they are powered off before making any changes. For example, if you are installing/fixing/assembling things such
as fuses or terminals, you will want to be sure that the connecting power source is off. When working with these types of devices, an energized power source can cause quite a shock (both figuratively and literally.) When the power source is not energized, there is no current flowing towards you, and you are much more likely to complete a safe job! If the job absolutely requires the power to be on, be sure your hands are dry (see tip #1), you are wearing non-conductive gloves, and wearing protective clothes.
4. Conductivity is not always your friend!
When working in an electrical environment, your main goal is to make sure that the electrical current does not hit you. A great way to avoid this would be to avoid tools that are very conductive. If you are standing on a metal ladder working on lights, the chances of a safety breach are much higher because of the conductivity of the metal you are standing on. This is the same with tools that have conductive handles. Either use specific tools with safety handles or be sure to wear gloves when working with high conductivity.
5. Keep an eye out for any possible hazards!
If you notice that a wire is frayed or damaged in some way, do not attempt to work with this wire. Rather, replace the wire before working on your electrical job. A damaged product could mean that it will not react how you would expect it to, or even worse, could malfunction and cause you harm. You also will need to look out for outlets that have too many things plugged into them. This could cause extra wear that you don’t want to be working with when working on your job. If anything looks suspicious or damaged in anyway, it is in your best interest to stop working with it as soon as possible.
You know what they always say…better safe than sorry!
An added layer of protection would be things such as circuit breakers or fuses. These products help to keep many electrical components safe before the danger even reaches you. If something is to overheat, the circuit breaker or fuse will spring into action so that the current will not continue to cause harm. It doesn’t hurt to have a little help (even if it’s from inanimate objects) when it comes to electrical safety.
Keep in mind that each situation comes with a flurry of possible hazards. These tips are a general overview that you can use to best protect yourself in a variety of situations. Need extra help in making sure you know how to stay safe in your specific situation? Don’t hesitate to reach out to our Technical Support at 1.800.654.4757!
To learn more about circuit breakers, check out our post on the Types Of Circuit Breakers Explained!