Information to keep you safe in the workplace, around fires and during construction
Please read through these tips, guidelines and resources to be prepared, keep safe and avoid electrical hazards and injuries.
Preventing workplace hazards
Good electrical safety habits can help protect you and your coworkers from injury. And you can play a role in recognizing and preventing workplace hazards. Keep in mind that:
- Electrocution is one of the top five causes of workplace deaths.
- Workers younger than 25 have the highest rate of death from electrical shock.
- Many workplace electrocutions involve touching a power line with long or tall equipment.
Many electrical injuries could be prevented if people were alert to hazards. Stay aware by keeping focused on your job and don't let emotions like anger and frustration get in the way.
Check cords & connections
Before you start work, check electric cords for wear. If you're outside or in a wet location, be sure tools and extension cords are suitable for outdoor use and circuits are equipped with GFCIs. Also keep cords free of oil, heat and corrosive chemicals. Never yank, kink or bend cords, and store them loosely coiled in a dry place.
Never carry a tool by its cord. Be sure a tool is switched "off" before plugging or unplugging - this protects you and the next person who uses it. Watch out for energized areas when reaching into equipment. Shields, barriers, insulation, and GFCIs protect you, so don't modify them just to get a job done faster. Learn and follow your company's
lockout/tagout procedures. If in doubt, ask a qualified electrical worker for help.
Dirt and dampness increase the risk of shock. Keep your tools, work area and storage space clean and dry. When cleaning electrical equipment, be sure it's unplugged, and follow the manufacturer's cleaning instructions.
Use safety gear
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is your first line of defense against shock and electrical burns. Keep boots, gloves and other gear in good condition - even a pinhole will let electricity through. Wear non-conductive protection on your head, face, hands and feet. Use insulated tools or handling equipment, such as non-conductive ropes and protective shields.
Most electrical fires can be traced to overheated circuits or overloaded equipment. When abused, insulation may melt or burn, exposing live wires. Electrical fires can also occur when equipment is driven beyond capacity, when accumulated oil and dirt overheat a motor, or when sparks ignite scraps, dirt, dust or flammable liquids.
- Use and maintain wiring, tools and equipment correctly. Keep everything oil and dust free.
- Uncoil an extension cord fully before use. Find the amperage marked on it. Is it adequate?
- Don't use equipment that gives off mild shocks, unusual heat or odd smells. If in doubt, have it checked and repaired or replaced.
- Sweep up scraps and sawdust, and store flammable liquids in approved containers.
- Don't use electrical equipment when flammable gases, vapors, liquids, dusts or fibers are present.
Fire safety checklist
Visualize your plan of response in a fire, so you can move quickly if one happens. Take into account:
- The nearest multipurpose fire extinguisher and how to use it.
- The nearest emergency exit or fire escape.
- Your company's escape plan.
- Company procedures for notifying firefighters and other emergency personnel.
(Try to extinguish a fire yourself only if you are trained and it's small or non-threatening. When in doubt, get out and take others with you.)
No paint, no dig
Don't break ground on a project of any size until you see the distinctive lines marking the location of underground facilities at your job site. That simple rule of thumb can keep you safe.
If you have a project that requires excavation, dial 811 to contact Arizona's One-Call Center at least two working days before you dig so that underground facilities can be marked.
Contact Arizona 811
Dial Arizona's One-Call Center at 811 (formerly Arizona Blue Stake) at 1-800-782-5348 or 1-800-STAKE-IT.
UES will locate company owned service lines at no charge, allowing you to begin your project with the assurance that your safety will not be compromised.
Learn more at azbluestake.com