May is Electrical Safety Month in the world of construction. Electrical deaths rank #3 on OSHA’s list of construction’s ‘Fatal Four’, just after falls and being struck by an object.
Young people have proven to be particularly vulnerable to death by electrocution, with this study citing that workers ages 16-19 are particularly at risk. …’ The proportions of electrocution fatalities in the construction industry were found to be significantly higher for younger workers when compared to all other industries. Focusing prevention measures toward younger workers who work near overhead power lines could have a significant impact upon death rates.’
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) estimates that 230,000 young workers under the age of 18 suffer electrical work-related injuries in the United States each year. Young and new workers have a high risk for work-related injury compared with more experienced workers. It is imperative that workers are aware of the risks and dangers when working in these types of conditions.
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OSHA’s website also provides resources and tips on how to keep your workers safe.
assume that all overhead wires are energized at lethal voltages. Never assume that a wire is safe to touch even if it is down or appears to be insulated.
Never touch a fallen overhead power line. Call the electric utility company to report fallen electrical lines
.Stay at least 10 feet (3 meters) away from overhead wires during cleanup and other activities. If working at heights or handling long objects, survey the area before starting work for the presence of overhead wires.
If an overhead wire falls across your vehicle while you are driving, stay inside the vehicle and continue to drive away from the line. If the engine stalls, do not leave your vehicle. Warn people not to touch the vehicle or the wire. Call or ask someone to call the local electric utility company and emergency services.
Never operate electrical equipment while you are standing in water.
Never repair electrical cords or equipment unless qualified and authorized.
Have a qualified electrician inspect electrical equipment that has gotten wet before energizing it.
If working in damp locations, inspect electric cords and equipment to ensure that they are in good condition and free of defects, and use a ground-fault circuit interrupter