It is not only electricians who face electrical risks. It is your employer's duty to protect your health and safety on the job site, but learning to recognize potential hazards might keep you safe. It is crucial for you to know your limits, and never to attempt jobs that are not within your field of expertise and training.
The construction industry in Kansas poses many electrical hazards. Safety authorities say most electricity-related fatalities are preventable.
Which workers are at risk?
The workers who are at the highest risk of suffering electrical shocks are electricians, engineers and line workers. Their duties include electrical repairs and installations, maintenance and inspections, and testing of electrical equipment and fixtures. However, if you are not directly involved in such activities, you might be less aware of the dangers.
Avoid electrical hazards by knowing your limits
Learning to identify electrical hazards is essential if you want to stay out of harm's way. Here is a list of the most common risks:
- Damaged equipment and tools: Never attempt to work with or fix damaged electrical devices or tools if you are not qualified to do so. Your employer must provide certified electricians to do such repairs, and lockout/tagout procedures during such maintenance are crucial.
- Damaged insulation: Report any inadequate or damaged insulation immediately. Turn off all electrical power sources before you replace damaged insulation.
- Exposed electrical parts: Beware of uncovered power distribution units and temporary lighting with exposed parts. Report such hazards immediately.
- Wet conditions: Wet conditions exacerbate the risks of electrocution, and you should never operate electrical equipment where water is present -- especially if the insulation is damaged. Also, avoid energizing wet equipment before an inspection by a qualified electrician.
- Overloaded circuits and inadequate wiring: Inappropriate wires can cause overloaded circuits, which could lead to fires from overheating. Note that the most common situation of this risk occurs when you use an extension cord that is not suitable for heavy-duty use.
- Improper grounding: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says improper grounding is the most common electrical violation. The purpose of proper grounding is the elimination of unwanted voltage that will reduce electrocution risks.
- Overhead power lines: It is crucial always to be aware of and avoid overhead power lines. They carry high voltage and contact can cause severe burn injuries and electrocution, which can be fatal.
If you are the victim of a work-related electrical injury, you might have to face mounting medical bills and lost workdays. Fortunately, help is available to simplify the workers' compensation claims process. An attorney who has experience in fighting for maximum applicable compensation for injured Kansas workers can navigate the claims process while you focus on recovering and returning to work.