While electrical safety is a very important component of our job and our continual training, it’s also important for the average person! The Electrical Safety Foundation International named May National Electric Safety Month to raise awareness of the threats and teach the best safety practices.
On average, 325 people die and 4,400 are injured each year because of electrical hazards, according to data published by the National Safety Council. Let’s keep those numbers lowering every year by better educating everyone about electrical safety!
Of course, if you encounter a downed power line, call your utility service right away and don’t get near it.
Contact with power lines causes more than a fifth of work-related fatalities. Be aware and stay clear of power lines, especially while using ladders or scaffolding, or when carrying aluminum siding, poles, fencing and even lumber. Construction workers, who make up approximately 7 percent of the U.S. workforce, suffer 44 percent of the electrical fatalities.
Outdoor Electrical Safety
It’s warmer out now and more of us are out doing home improvement projects. Keep these outdoor electrical safety tips in mind:
- Ladders—even those made of wood—that make contact with a power line can prove fatal.
- Unplug outdoor tools and appliances not in use.
- Before use, inspect power tools and appliances for frayed cords, broken plugs and cracked or broken housing and repair or replace damaged items.
- Water and electricity do not mix. Avoid dampness — including wet grass — when using electricity.
- Wherever possible, use a portable ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) or purchase tools with built-in GFCI technology.
Stop These Unsafe Practices
Often, home fires are caused by damaged or misused wiring. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC ) research indicates that each year we can expect more than 140,000 electrical fires, which result in hundreds of injuries and deaths. Electrocutions associated with wiring and consumer products cost hundreds of lives annually.
Remember these important guidelines:
- Do not overload power strips.
- Don’t use two-pronged outlets. Get them upgraded as soon as possible.
- Follow manufacturer instructions for your appliances and electronics.
- Repair or replace items with broken cables or frayed wires.
Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs)
A GFCI is an electrical safety device that trips electrical circuits when it detects ground faults or leakage currents. According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International, a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) in every home and workplace could prevent nearly 70 percent of the approximated 400 electrocutions that occur each year.