Electrical Safety: One of Your Biggest Workplace Concerns


Electrical injuries in US workplaces are on the rise. The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) reports that non-fatal electrical injuries increased by about 33% between 2014 and 2015 — the highest recorded figure since 2009. Out of all industries, construction and utility accounted for many of these cases.

Regardless of the sector, though, it is imperative to look after your employees’ safety. After all, whether you’re in an industrial facility or a conventional office space, your employees can still be exposed to electrical hazards. Healthy, Safe, and Productive Lives (HSA), an online safety resource, says that a typical workplace is powered by between 230 and 400 volts — a level dangerous enough to cause electrical injuries.

The hazards are exacerbated by the fact the human body is a good conductor. As such, anybody is at risk. So, you and your employees need to be aware of the common culprits behind electrical hazards.

Common Electrical Hazards in Your Workplace

Failing to conduct a workplace inspection regularly could leave several electrical hazards unaddressed. These include:

  • Damaged or faulty wiring – Frayed or loose electrical cables with exposed wires are live parts. If a person touches them, either directly or indirectly with a conducting material, he or she would be electrocuted. They could also start fires.
  • Overloaded outlets – Socket overloading can lead to a power shortage. This is because a plug has a limited power supply capability; it cannot sustain supplying a greater amount of current to keep the plugged equipment and appliances running. An overload will cut the overall power supply, as well as overheat the socket.
  • Poorly installed or faulty electrical equipment – Such equipment is unsafe to use as it can redirect the current to the workers. It’s a workplace hazard, even when handled properly.
  • Water – Since water is a good conductor, electrical current can travel through it and harm anybody that comes in contact with it.

Common Workplace Electrical Injuries

Burns and shocks are the most common electrical injuries. Experts have since classified them into sub-categories: electrical, arc, and thermal contact.

  • Electrical burns occur if the electricity flows through the body. This usually damages just the skin, but, in some situations, the current can also impair muscle and bone function.
  • Arc burns occur when the body comes in contact with heat from an electrical arc (a current flowing through an air gap between conductors) or an electrical-based explosion.
  • Thermal contact burns happen when the skin comes in contact with an extremely hot surface like those of overheated conductors, conduits, or other electric equipment.

Meanwhile, the severity of electrical shocks can be measured as mild, moderate, or severe. Mild shocks leave only a tingling sensation, while moderate shocks can cause the muscles to contract. A severe shock is a more serious injury that can lead to heart or respiratory failure.

If the injury leads to death, it’s classified as electrocution. Thanks to more stringent safety protocols, however, cases of electrocutions have fallen: the ESFI records 134 fatalities in 2015, compared to the 156 in 2014.

Ensuring Workplace Electrical Safety

Industrial facilities can’t become complacent with the issue. And there are many ways business owners can improve workplace electrical safety.

It’s essential that you hire a safety consulting company to provide professional advice, however. A trusted safety expert has the experience to thoroughly inspect your facilities and safety gears. He or she can point out safety issues you might have missed and recommend how to address the oversight.

This is what we do at BDeWees Consulting. We offer employee safety consulting services that help guard your workers against workplace hazards. We conduct safety inspections, incident investigations, Occupational Safety and Health Administration logs review, and safety data sheets maintenance. We also deploy employee safety training programs to keep you and your staff updated on current safety issues.

With BDeWees Consulting, you can rest easy knowing that you’ve done your part to keep your employees safe from harm. Contact us to learn more about the services we offer.