According to the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE), around 1,000 electricity-related accidents are reported in the workplace each year. These accidents can cause anything from a tingling electric shock or nasty burn to explosions, serious fires, heart failure and sudden death.
The biggest dangers occur when employees are exposed to particularly high voltage levels. In addition to unsafe electrical equipment posing a considerable danger, an electrical hazard can become more dangerous if it is the cause of further accidents, such as falling from height.
The good news is that there are ways to prevent such incidents from occurring. By taking simple precautions within the workplace, you could one day save a life.
Step 1: Carry out an electrical risk assessment
An electrical risk assessment is vital in the workplace. It should include the identification of any risk, the type of electrical equipment which it relates to, how and where it is used and the people who might come into contact with it. The risk assessment should also cover the precautions in place to manage that risk and prevent it from causing harm. Employees must be made aware of what the electrical dangers are and be properly trained in how to avoid them, too.
Step 2: Ensure a suitable environment
Electrical equipment can become dangerous when it is faulty or used incorrectly. However, it can also be dangerous if used in an unsuitable environment, for example, in wet conditions where it has not been adequately protected, or where heavy footfall could cause it to become damaged.
Step 3: Inspect workplace electrical equipment before use
It’s important to regularly carry out maintenance of your electrical equipment. This includes checking that it works correctly and there is no visible damage before use. Signs of issues with electrical equipment can include burn marks,visible internal wires or obvious damage to the plug or connector. Electrical equipment should also be stored correctly when not in use.
Step 4: Ensure appropriate testing is carried out
The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 require that any electrical equipment that has the potential to cause injury is maintained in a safe condition. This can be done through portable appliance testing (PAT) carried out by a registered professional electrician and includes the examination of electrical appliances and equipment to ensure they are safe to use. While there is no specific ruling on the frequency of when PAT testing should be carried out, it should be done on a regular basis appropriate to the equipment being used.
Step 5: Only use an expert for repairs and electrical equipment testing
Faulty or damaged electrical equipment should only ever be handled and repaired by a fully trained electrical engineer.
For more technical electrical work, such as the installation of complex systems, it’s important to be certain that you find an electrician who has the required additional training and experience. Never be tempted to cut corners when it comes to working with electricity.
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Paine Manwaring is an established, professional and highly experienced supplier of electrical services to domestic and commercial customers throughout Sussex, Surrey and Hampshire.
For more information about the electrical services which we provide for both homes and businesses get in touch with a member of our expert and friendly team today on 01903 237522 or firstname.lastname@example.org (Worthing) or 01243 784711 or email@example.com (Chichester).