Workplace Electrical Safety Tips
A Comprehensive Resource

"Prepare and prevent, don’t repair and repent." Brush up on electrical safety practices and considerations with these statistically driven electrical safety tips.

Statistical Importance: high

Electrocution is the 3rd leading cause of worker deaths on construction sites which makes up of 9% of deaths.(4)

General Precautions

Follow instructions issued by your workspace supervisors or managers, and those of the respective equipment’s manual.

Make sure your hands are clean and dry before handling any equipment.

Ensure that the office or workspace has good ventilation, and regularly inspect (and clean)exhaust fans and other ventilation sources.

Wear appropriate clothing and use personal protective equipment—including the right foot, hand, and head gear—to protect yourself in case of an emergency.

Always familiarize yourself with the specific safety regulations, standards, requirements, and guidelines of your workplace.  An electrical safety training will give your employees an adequate knowledge on handling electricity

Statistical Importance: Low

6.8% of Lost Time Electrical Injury Claims are sourced to machinery.(1)

How Equipment Can Help—Not Hinder

Tools and equipmentin the workspace should bear the mark of approval by a reputable consumer laboratory (UL).

Unplug unused equipment and tools, and stow them safely out of the way in a dry, cool space.

  • Never leave running tools or equipment unattended.
  • Always turn off power before you plug or unplug the appliances.

Never cover warm equipmentand allow for air circulation, especially for tools and appliances which generate heat (computers, copy machines, portable heaters, etc.).

  • If overheated, turn off appliances and allow them to cool off.

Immediately discontinue use of damaged equipment and get professional help.

  • Don’t attempt an amateur repair, especially when dealing with hazardous items.
  • Don’t insert fingers or objects into the openings of outlets or any other electrical appliances or equipment.

Opt for non-conductive equipment, just to be on the safe side!

  • If possible, isolate equipment and tools from energy sources.

Identify and verify any embedded electrical circuits before digging, drilling, cutting, or otherwise tampering with a wall or other surface. Consider investing on an arc flash safety training for your employees working on electrical equipment.

Did You Know?
Almost 100% Of Electricians Have Been Shocked97% of all electricians have been shocked or injured on the job.(3) Burns Cause Most Workplace Deaths60% of workplace accident deaths are caused by burn injuries. (3) Medical costs per person can exceed $4 million for severe electrical burns (3)
Action Items
  • Be familiar with (and follow!) company protocol in terms of safety and health regulations.
  • Never leave electrical tools or equipment unattended; turn them off when not in use.
  • Don’t overload sockets, outlets, or cords.
  • Replace damaged cords and cables immediately.
  • Ensure your workspace is dry and clean.
  • In case of an electric fire, unplug the equipment and fight back with a fire extinguisher or baking soda—never with water.
  • Familiarize with the main switchboard; where it is, how it operates, and label the switches.

Statistical Importance: moderate

18% of Lost Time Electrical Injury Claims are sourced to electrical wiring.(1)

Handle Cords and Cables with Caution

Regularly inspect cords and cables for cracks, kinks, splints, or frays before each use.

Cords must be snuggly plugged; if not, choose another outlet which would provide a better fit.

Secure cords with tape or twist ties— never staples or nails! An electrical safety training will help them eliminate or reduce potential risks of working around electricity.

Don’t mess with the cord or outlet. Never attempt to file down a wide prong in order to fit it somewhere else.

Remember that extension cords are temporary solutions; use sparingly.

Use the right cord; check the length, weight, and type (indoor or outdoor). Keep some slack to eliminate the tension on electrical terminals.

Unplug from the outlet— never jerk on the cord itself.

Don’t cover electric wires with carpeting or other coverings; the cords could easily be neglected, damaged, and also present a tripping hazard.

Statistical Importance: low

6.5% of Lost Time Electrical Injury Claims are sourced to switchboards, switches and fuses.(1)

Eliminating the Dangers of Outlets

Enclose all outlets properly with solid, stable plates so that the wiring is safely encased; block unused outlets.

Don’t overload outlets. Instead, relocate the cords: a less messy and much safer solution.

Don’t insert anything into an outlet except for the correctly-sized plug.

Use ground fault circuit interrupter outlets. In addition, ensure that all three-wire tools and equipment are securely grounded!

Before you touch it, test each circuit and conductor.

Statistical Importance: moderate

13% of Lost Time Electrical Injury Claims are sourced to electrical parts.(1)

Safely Handling Light Bulbs

Use bulbs with the proper wattage to avoid overheating.

Screw bulbs tightly; loose bulbs might cause shorts and sparks.

Always unplug or switch off the fixture before replacing a bulb.

Compact fluorescent bulbs (CFL) provide the equal intensity oflight at a lower wattage level. Note, however: if a CFL bulb breaks, open the windows and evacuate the room for 15 minutes.

Statistical Importance: low

3% of Lost Time Electrical Injury Claims are sourced to powerlines.(1)

Electrical Safety in an Exterior Workspace

Keep your distance from power lines. If your work must be handled and elevated near energized power-lines, double-check safety precautions and be extremely careful.

Electrical appliances and tools must remain dry at all times— out of the rain, off of wet surfaces, and away from pools, ponds, fountains, etc.

Be aware of overhead and underground power lines and any electrical hazards in your surrounding environment.

Outdoor outlets must be on a circuit guarded by a GFCI.

Statistical Importance: low

1.7% of Lost Time Electrical Injury Claims are sourced to fire and flame. (1)

Electrical Fire Hazards

Never overload plugs, sockets, or extension cords.

Replace tools that give off any mild shocks.

Replace flickering lights and hot-faceplate light switches.

Replace all damaged cords.

Don’tattempt to fit a three-prong plug into a two-holed socket.

Don’t attempt electrical repairs without expertise/certification.

Never fight an electrical fire with water— instead, reach for the fire extinguisher or baking soda. Water conducts electricity, so the fire could actually ignite further. Consider the following electrical safety tips:

  • If equipment ignites, immediately unplug it or interrupt power from the main switch.
  • Use a fire extinguisher: pull, aim, squeeze, and sweep.
  • If you see the fire getting out of hand, evacuate. At all times,ensure that you’re near the exit and can easily flee.

Watch for tripping breakers: if your circuit breaker is tripping after you’ve reset it, there’s an electrical hazard in the building.

Segregate combustible objects from heaters and other equipment that tends to heat up quickly.