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Electrical Safety Is Not Shocking
There are four main types of electrical injuries: electrocution (causes death), electrocution, burns, and falls. These injuries can be caused by direct contact with electricity, electric arcs that jump to a grounded person, thermal burns, including flash burns from the heat generated by the electric arc, flame burns from materials that ignite from being heated or ignited by electricity flow. currents and muscle contractions can cause a person to fall. A fall can also cause serious injury. High-voltage contact burns can burn internal tissues, but leave only very minor damage on the outside of the skin.
Some protective procedures can be followed to ensure electrical safety:
1) Before each use, check tools, power cords and electrical connections for damage or wear. Repair or replace damaged equipment immediately.
2) If necessary, always tape the cords to the walls or floor. Nails and staples can damage cords, creating a fire and electric shock hazard.
3) Use cables or equipment appropriate for the amperage or power level you are using.
4) Always use the correct size fuse. Replacing the fuse with a larger one may cause excessive currents in the wiring and may cause a fire.
5) Be aware that unusually warm or hot outlets can be a sign that unsafe wiring conditions exist. Unplug all cords from these outlets and do not use them until a qualified electrician has checked the wiring.
6) Always use ladders made of wood or other non-conductive materials when working with or near electrical or power lines.
7) Place halogen lights away from flammable materials such as cloths or curtains. Halogen bulbs can get very hot and can cause a fire.
8) The risk of electric shock is greater in wet or damp areas. Install ground fault circuit breakers, also known as GFCIs, as they will interrupt an electrical circuit before a current sufficient to cause death or serious injury occurs.
9) Make sure exposed receptacle boxes are made of non-conductive materials.
10) Know where breakers and emergency boxes are located.
11) Clearly label all circuit breakers and fuse boxes. Each switch must be clearly identified as to which outlet or device it is intended for.
12) Do not use sockets or cables that have exposed wiring, or use power tools with guards removed. Do not block access to circuit breakers or fuse boxes and do not touch people or electrical appliances in the event of an electrical accident. Always disconnect the power first.
A Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) works by detecting any loss of electrical current in a circuit. When it detects a loss, the GFCI shuts off the electricity before serious injury or electric shock can occur. A painful shock can occur in the time it takes for a GFCI to interrupt power, so it is important to use a GFCI as an additional protective measure and not as a substitute for safe work practices.
GFCI wall outlets can be installed in place of standard outlets to provide protection against electric shock for only that outlet or a row of outlets in the same branch. A GFCI circuit breaker can be installed on some circuit breaker panels to protect an entire branch of a circuit. GFCI outlets can be plugged into wall outlets where appliances will be used and are commonly found in bathrooms. Another common use of GFCIs is for swimming pools and hot tubs.
Test the GFCI monthly. First, plug a “night light” or lamp into a GFCI-protected wall outlet (the light should be on), then press the “TEST” button on the GFCI. If the GFCI is working properly, the light should go out. If not, have the GFCI repaired or replaced. Reset the GFCI to restore power. If the “RESET” button pops out but the light does not go out, the GFCI was wired improperly and does not provide surge protection in that wall outlet. Contact a qualified electrician to correct any wiring errors.
Power tools used improperly can be electrically dangerous. Turn off tools before connecting them to power. Disconnect the power before adjusting. Ensure tools are properly grounded or double insulated. Grounded tools must have an approved 3-wire cord with a 3-wire plug. This plug must be plugged into a properly grounded 3-pin outlet. Do not use power tools in wet conditions or in damp locations unless the tool is connected to a GFCI. The operation of power tools can ignite flammable substances and can cause an explosion in the vicinity of certain vapors and gases.
Never use extension cords as permanent wiring. Use extension cords only to temporarily power an area where there is no electrical outlet. Keep power cables away from heat, water and oil. They can damage the insulation and cause a shock. Do not allow vehicles to drive over unprotected power cables. The cords must be laid in the wiring or protected with boards. Check power cords and plugs daily; discard if worn or damaged. Keep power cords away from tools during use.
Extension cords themselves can be dangerous. Hang power cords across hallways or work areas to prevent tripping or tripping hazards. Do not tie power cables into tight knots; knots can cause short circuits and shocks. Wrap the cords or use a twist plug. Many circuits are connected to twelve-amp circuit breakers, so do not plug multiple extension cords into one outlet.
Electrical safety is simple. Electricity must be considered and precautions taken to prevent injury. Security devices are becoming more secure every year; it’s up to you to use them properly. Be aware and be safe.
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