The DOs and DON’Ts when working with electricity
In the last 24 months, various electrical flash incidents were reported in the industry. Investigations highlighted that safe working procedures are not complied with and non-adherence to electrical equipment standards resulting in serious harm to employees. Electrical hazards by nature have an inherent electrical flash risk to employees working with/on electrical equipment.
Human, electricity and hazards
Hazards are objects and in themselves don’t harm anyone. An object only becomes a hazard when a human engages with it, until then it remains a potential hazard. One can focus as much on displacement of energies and damaging energies as one wants, but unless there is some understanding about human judgment and decision making, the object remains a neutral object until a human engages with it.
DO’s when working with electrical equipment/apparatus
- Disconnect the power source before servicing or repairing electrical equipment and apply your lock-out.
- Treat all electrical devices as if they are live or energized.
- When it is necessary to handle equipment that is plugged in, ensure hands are dry and, when possible, wear non-conductive gloves, personal protective clothing and shoes with insulated soles
- If water or a chemical is spilled onto electrical equipment, switch off power at the main switch or circuit breaker, apply lock-out and disconnect the equipment
- Enclose all electrical contacts and conductors so that no one can accidentally come into contact with them
- De-energize and lock-out open circuits and equipment to be left unattended
- Be aware that interlocks on electrical equipment disconnects the high/medium/low voltage source when a door/cover is open but power to the control circuits may remain on. Study the single line diagram and schematics carefully before attempting to do any work – know your switchboard.
- Ensure that sufficient and adequate lighting is present when working on or with electrical equipment.
DON’Ts when working with electrical equipment/apparatus
- Avoid contact with energized electrical circuits. Don’t make fun of this rule if you already know this (and you probably already know if you are reading these lines) and remember that if something bad occurs – you probably won’t have a second chance.
- Never use metallic objects, devices or materials when working with energized electrical equipment. This rule is very easy to forget, especially when you are showing some electrical part pointing with a metallic object or tool, etc.
- If an individual comes in contact with live electrical conductors or apparatus, do not touch any of the electrical equipment/apparatus, i.e. cables, overhead power lines, bus bars, circuit breakers, contactors, fuses or the person.
- Do not rely only on earthing to protect or shield a defective circuit, nor attempt to correct a fault by insertion another fuse, circuit breaker or contactor especially one of larger capacity.
- Never touch another person’s equipment or electrical control devices unless instructed to do so.
- Never handle electrical equipment when hands, feet, or body are wet or perspiring, or when standing on a wet floor.
- Do not remove any fixed doors/covers as they may expose dangerous voltages.
- Do not operate or switch any electrical equipment if you are in any doubt about the operation and functionality of the switchgear.
- Do not tamper, by-passing or bridging out safety electrical circuits.
My commitment because I CARE!
I/we hereby pledge, in the interest of my own safety and the safety of my “Brothers/Sisters” that I/we will never perform any electrical task without ensuring the following:
Have a SAFE electrical experience!
Schalk Van Wyk
SACEA Council Member 2019