Electricity is one of the basic necessities in today’s world. We need it to light up our homes and workplaces, modulate the air temperatures, cook food, charge our devices and gadgets, run factories, etc. However, electricity can also be dangerous. Injuries occur when an electric current passes through our bodies. According to a recent study, electrical injuries caused over 30000 injuries in the United States and over 1000 deaths in 2020. You cannot feel electricity with your sense of smell, sight, and hearing. Therefore, it becomes essential that you have the appropriate safety measures to manage the hazards of electricity. Following are the top five reasons why electrical safety is paramount.
1. Wellbeing of your employees and Company:
If you are running a business, whether in a manufacturing setup or an office environment, employees are your greatest assets. The Electrical Safety Foundation International states that around 45% of all electrical fatalities happen at industrial premises and public buildings. More than 75% of these accidents occur during construction, repairing, cleaning, installation, operating tools and machinery. Electrical hazards at workplaces often occur while repairing switchboards, transformers, fused disconnects, or equipment failures.
Maintaining a safe workplace allows you to run your business with no worker downtimes, higher productivity, and fewer expenses regarding employee legal and health insurance costs. Furthermore, a safe workplace also attracts workers to your business and motivates them to deliver more. Therefore, electrical safety at the workplace is essential to run your business without any disruptions and cost escalations.
2. Safety of your family members:
One of the most important reasons why as an individual, you should be treating electrical safety seriously is because more than 50% of electrical injuries happen inside households. Kids, especially, are susceptible to electric shocks like when using wet hands to operate electrical appliances, putting their fingers into the electric sockets, or touching a live wire. The most common form of electrical shock-related injuries includes cardiac arrests, burns, local nerve or muscle damage, or falling due to sudden shocks. To prevent electrical shocks inside homes, ensure that all electrical appliances are certified, and proper earthing is done. One of the common reasons for getting electric shocks is using smaller ampere extension cords to operate significant ampere devices like refrigerators. Ensure that you use a high amperage extension cord like a 20 amp extension cord to run your microwave, refrigerator, or washing machine.
3. Compliance with Electrical Safety Rules:
As an employer, maintaining electrical safety may be essential for you to ensure that your business is legally compliant with the local public health and safety regulations. For example, the UK has an Electricity at Work Regulations that is part of the Health and Safety Act of 1974, where employers are responsible for conducting all work activities keeping in mind electrical safety and are required to foresee and assess all possible risks and ways to mitigate those risks.
The USA has two national standards requiring employers to maintain an electrical safety program (ESP) and require employees to adhere to these ESPs strictly. The two key regulations are National Fire Protection Association(NPFA) 70E and Occupational Safety Hazard Association (OSHA) 29 CFR 1910. Therefore, to ensure that your business is legally compliant, you need to ensure electrical safety is properly incorporated at the workplace and that employees follow it diligently.
4. Prevention of Fires:
Another vital reason to treat electrical safety sincerely is that electricity also causes fires. According to the US Fire Administration, there are about 45000 home electric fires in the USA each year, and the majority of these fires are caused due to improper wiring or equipment use. Therefore, it is essential that to avoid fires at home, we use electrical appliances very carefully. For example, do not plug multiple heat-producing devices into a wall socket, do not use extension cords for heating appliances, and take the help of a trained electrician while installing any wall outlets at your home.
5. Important for Healthcare services:
Healthcare services like hospitals and diagnostic centers often use small to large-scale electro-medical devices to diagnose a patient’s condition or run tests. Many of these devices derive their power from mains or internal batteries and connect to the patient via wires. Some devices may have parts inserted in the patient’s body and contact the heart. Any current leakages during the procedures, either directly to the patient or indirectly through contact from the nurses, can cause severe injury to the patients, sometimes turning out to be fatal. Electric shocks can result in tingling sensations, burns to electrocution. Therefore, electrical safety training becomes essential in the context of hospitals and diagnostic centers.
To summarize, electrical safety is essential to negate physiological risks to human health at homes, workplaces, and public spots. In addition, electrical safety can have added advantages to employee wellbeing and ensuring that the business remains protected from legal compliance issues. Most of all, electrical safety will need a behavioral change from the citizens of a nation, and therefore, schools should teach the importance of electrical safety very early to kids.