The theme for February’s Health and Safety guidance is Electricity on Site.
Construction sites electricity poses a unique hazard to workers. Unlike other dangers, electricity cannot be seen, heard, or smelt. Electricity can only be felt and by the time that electricity is felt, it is too late to protect oneself from harm. Although electricity can cause many different types of injuries, the three types of injuries that most commonly occur on construction sites are the following:
- death by electrocution or severe internal and/or external burns through inadvertent contact with high voltage lines or equipment.
- severe burns or death from explosive gases inadvertently ignited by electrical equipment.
- various injuries from falls or from contact with moving equipment that occurs after a worker experiences a low voltage electrical shock and can no longer safely maintain his/her balance or physical control of the tools or equipment that he or she was manipulating when shocked.
Below are some safety tips to help make your working environment safer for yourself.
- Electrical installations must be installed, repaired and certified as safe by a trained, competent electrician
- Electrical installations must be checked regularly and kept in good working order
- Electrical equipment and fittings must be suitable for construction work
- Circuits supplying socket outlets must be protected by an RCD (Residual Current Device) and it must be tested regularly
- Covers must be in place to prevent contact with live electrical parts
- Portable equipment and tools must only be powered by 110v supply
- Check portable equipment, tools and extension reels regularly and take damaged equipment out of use
- Where portable equipment is subject to wear and tear it must be inspected and tested regularly
- Repairs to electrical equipment must be carried out by trained, competent electricians
- Uncoil extension leads when using high power equipment or when using for long periods of time to prevent overheating
- Temporary lighting must be suitable for the location and protected from breakage
- A means of cutting off the power supply to equipment must be provided and employees must be made aware of its location
- Suitable fire extinguishers must be provided