Working with electrical safety equipment and devices can be highly dangerous specifically on a construction site, where the chances of hazards and accidents are potentially higher than in any other sector.
It is usually the lack of awareness and knowledge that leads to the most damage. Therefore, working in the construction sector must need to have vital information to understand the risks and knows how to avoid them occurring as a result of electricity.
This blog post will provide a thorough understanding and guidance on electrical maintenance and safety for construction workers.
The Law Regarding Electrical Safety
Electrical safety should be a concern for all organizations. Therefore, employers and managers liable to protect their staff from electrical hazards need to ensure that they are adhering to the safety legislation regarding electricity.
The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 implies all kinds of use of electricity within the work environment. It puts a duty on employers, employees, and self-employed staff to protect from the danger of electricity.
The duty holder must:
- Have electrical safety systems constructed in a way that prevents the danger
- Maintain the electrical systems as needed to protect against any harm
- Undertake work on electrical systems in a way that does not pose any danger
The law also requires that employees should only work with electrical equipment if they have:
- Sufficient training
- Vital knowledge
- Hands-on experience
- Proper supervision
The electrical dangers are real and can occur without any warning, so having adequate precautionary measures beforehand is the key to ensuring a safe and secure workplace for all.
Common Electrical Hazards on Construction Sites
Each construction work site has its unique hazards. So, employers and their employees need to pay close attention to each task to identify the nature of the hazard.
Some of the common electrical hazards are:
1. Electrical Equipment & Machinery
It is seen that around 6% of fatal injury accidents occur due to electricity each year, as per the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Electrical machinery and equipment are the most prominent hazards seen so far accounting for major electrical hazards.
The construction workers often have to use tools and equipment operating through electricity. These gadgets if not properly handled and used can lead to severe health risks.
Managers and employers of the workers operating such tools need to provide them with sufficient knowledge and information to operate safely as well as comply with the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) 1998.
2. Overhead Power Lines
Another prominent key risk to look out for is overhead power lines. Most of these accidents occur due to a lack of knowledge or inadequate risk assessment processes. To prevent any such electrical hazards, it is recommended to avoid working near overhead powerlines. If it is important to perform a task near it, it is advised to examine the work area thoroughly to identify any danger.
3. Improper Grounding & Faulty Wires
Improper grounding and faulty wires are the key electrical hazards to occur on a construction site. It is advisable to install all the wires with proper testing through a professional and certified electrician to minimize the risks of any electrical injury.
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Things to Keep in Mind Before Working at Construction Sites
Before a worker begins any task in a construction environment, there are a few key things to keep in mind to ensure safe operation:
1. Sufficient Risk Assessments
Conducting an effective and efficient risk assessment before starting any work can help identify all the potential electrical hazards. It will guarantee that all the vital control measures are in place to avoid harm to a worker’s health.
Employers must educate their construction workers on the electrical risk assessment results so they have a better understanding of all the hazards identified during the process and carry out the work safely.
2. Electrical Services Maps
As part of the risk assessment process, the construction site operators must have updated maps from their local councils that entail every potential hazard containing dangerous wires, faulty electrical equipment, or other electrical dangers.
3. Safe Systems of Work
If a worker’s role within the construction sector is directly linked to the electrical work, they must be adequately trained to carry out the work safely and competently. It is vital for employers that they have safe systems of work within their workplaces and sufficient ways that their employees follow these to perform the task.
Electrical Safety Signs at Work
Electrical safety signs within a construction environment are used to help employers and their staff alert of electrical hazards at work. These may include high voltages, overhead power lines, and other potential electrical hazards one needs to be aware of while at work.
· Danger of Death
It warns employees and other visitors of potential electrical hazards within the workplace. This sign helps employers and their staff meet the safety regulations at work.
· Electrical Voltage Symbol
This symbol helps remind people that there is a risk of electrocution in the particular area of the work premises.
· The danger of Live Wires
It helps individuals be aware and cautious as there is a danger of live wires at work.
· The danger of Electric Shock Risk
It helps workers be aware of the chance of electrical shocks at work.
Electrical hazards at work specifically in a construction workplace can occur without any prior warning. Therefore, employers have a key responsibility to ensure their workers are following and implementing practices that are safe to work around.
Employers must also need to provide proper guidance to their staff members to be aware of the electrical hazards, adequate electrical safety training in this regard is helpful to minimize the dangers.
Workplace hazards and accidents can occur at any workplace and at any time. Electrical hazards and shocks are the prominent health risks of all. When talking specifically about the construction industry, this sector is more prone to such deadly incidents and hazards.
Those in managerial roles need to take vital steps to control such risks within their workplaces. This content piece has covered some basic guidance on electricity for construction workers.