There is no shortage of health and safety risks in the construction sector. Whether it is the risk of falling from a great height, having heavy objects drop on you, slipping on an uneven floor, or being run over by heavy goods vehicles, you must be vigilant of potential dangers.
Arguably the most dangerous risk of them all is working with electricity. The reason for this is obvious – electrical shocks can kill or seriously injure you, and it only takes momentary exposure to do enough damage.
Therefore, you need to have suitable control measures in place to prevent incidents from happening. This is essential and requires you to understand electrical safety best practices, as well as general electrical mistakes to avoid.
You may want to undertake electrical safety training to create a safe system of work on your construction site.
To help you understand these potential electrical hazards better, here is a list of dos and don’ts of electrical safety in the construction sector:
Use the proper safety equipment
Having the right electrical equipment at hand is crucial for staying safe on a construction site.
This might include insulating gloves, dielectric footwear, insulation blankets, and an insulated work platform.
By having this at hand, you will improve safety for construction workers on your site, which is vital.
Conduct a risk assessment
You can’t protect yourself from dangers you have no idea exist, which is why risk assessments are key.
Conduct an assessment before starting any construction project, to ensure you have the right preparation and training in place to cope with any dangers you may face.
Turn the power off before working
If there is no electric power supply, there is no live electricity to shock you. By temporarily switching off or isolating the power supply, you will decrease the chances of an injury and help you to work safely.
Don’t work in the wet
Electricity and wet conditions are a match made in hell. Therefore, if you are working in an environment where there is a lot of moisture, remember to turn off the electrical connection first and wear insulating protection.
Unless necessary, you may be better off avoiding the job altogether. If water gets into a socket, then it could short-circuit the system. To prevent this from causing more damage, use circuit breakers to isolate the affected area.
Don’t overload electrical outlets or piggyback connectors
An easy mistake that site workers can make is to overload individual outlets or connectors with energy-intensive power tools or generators.
This can quickly put a strain on the outlet and even pose a fire hazard if it malfunctions.
Don’t use metal ladders with electrical power lines
Metal conducts electricity so don’t use metal ladders when fixing overhead power lines. All it takes is contact with overhead power lines to electrocute whoever is touching it.
Don’t cut underground power cables
If you are excavating the ground, you may accidentally slice through underground power cables.
This is highly dangerous. Not only can it cut off a major electricity supply, but it can be fatal.
Instead, always dig around cables, and never near them. Sometimes location maps aren’t accurate and so you should always be protected as if you are cutting through a live cable, just in case.