Construction workers can be directly or indirectly exposed to electrical shock, arc flash and other electrical hazards, which is why electrical safety practices are vital. Workers who come in contact with electricity account for roughly 18 per cent of the deaths on construction sites, which is why safety is so important. This is why safety practices are governed by OSHA and CSA and state and provincial electrical occupational health and safety compliance departments that have jurisdiction over electrical safety.
Construction Electrical Safety Hazards
Common electrical hazards that occur on construction sides include working with energized/hot circuits or working around overhead power lines. For example, materials like ladders and scaffolding that accidentally come in contact with these energized power lines can electrocute any worker holding or even touching that ladder or scaffolding. Also, incorrect or unsafe use of ground plugs for electrical cords can cause hazards. Plus, falls from working overhead can also cause electrocution if that fall results in accidental contact with a live electrical conductor.
Electrical and non electrical workers must pay close attention to their safety standards, work practices and documented electrical safety procedures to help prevent injury and/or death. Wearing protective electrical safety gloves or personal protective equipment (PPE) is a great start. And, lockout tagout procedures must always be followed when working on energized, live circuits. Finally, all workers should be trained in electrical safety to prevent fatalities from occurring. Appropriate supervision and electrical safety training for employees should also be provided, particularly training for electrical workers who are new to the electrical field. In addition, employers must have an effective safety program and in place where all safety standards are being met (for example, construction site employers must use proper electrical equipment grounding conductor programs or ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI)).
In the United States., the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of the Department of Labor set the aforementioned electrical safety standards, which must be followed. In Canada, safety standards are written by organizations like the Canadian Standards Association (CSA). The Electricity Forum provides training opportunities to improve your safety awareness that give electrical workers many opportunities to learn how to practice good electrical safety workplace practices.