Guard Against Electric Shock on Sites

Source : Frédéric BISSON

Burns, electrocution and shocks are risks associated with electricity which can result in serious injury and death. For this reason employers need to guard against electric shock on site. Burns are the most common type of injury and can be either electrical burns as a result of heat generated by the flow of electric current through the body, arc or flash burns caused by an electric arc or explosion and a thermal contact burns caused by overheated electric equipment.

Electrocution is also a major hazard and is most commonly caused by contact with overhead powerlines, contact with energised sources and the incorrect use of extension and flexible cords.

Employers should conduct a risk assessment to determine the risk electricity may represent. They also need to develop a safe work method statement in order to minimise the workers risk of burns or electrocution. Workers need to conduct themselves in a safe manner that will not present a hazard to themselves or their co-workers.

The most effective ways of minimising electrocution hazards are:

  • Maintaining a safe distance from overhead powerlines
  • Inspecting portable tools and extension cords before use
  • Using power tools and equipment as designed and instructed by the manufacturer
  • Following correct lockout/tagging procedures