INTRODUCTION TO ELECTRIC SAFETY
Electrical shock kills and injures hundreds of workers each year. Most of
these accidents happen because people don't look, don't think or just don't
understand the shocking power of electricity.
Electrical shock can only occur when a part of the body completes a circuit between a conductor and another conductor or a grounding source.
Death or injury is not caused by the voltage; the damage is done
by the amount of current that flows through the body. Of course, the higher the
voltage, the greater amount of current. Some people have survived
shocks of several thousand volts, while others have been killed by voltages as
low as 12.
Effects of electrical shock depend mainly on the total amount of current flow and the path of the current through the victim's body. To prevent electrical shock, which can cause several types of injuries, make sure that your body cannot become part of the electrical flow and the path of the current. Water reduces resistance and allows electricity to flow into wet areas, hands, arms, your body. Electricity and water are a bad mix.
WHAT TO DO IN ELECTRIC SHOCK SITUATION
It is important to know how to help an electrical shock victim.
GUIDELINES FOR SAFETY
We can reduce the risk of accidents in our work place by keeping these guidelines in mind.
1. Don't overload circuits. Keep electrical equipment away from water and dampness.
2. Inspect the area and equipment you're working with for electrical hazards.
3. Check electrical cords for each use for frays, damage, and other signs of wear and defects. Do not make modifications to a cords plug at any time. Remember, extension cords are a temporary solution only and use should be minimized whenever possible.
4. Avoid wet areas when working with or on anything electrical. If there is a reason that you have to be in that situation, wear rubber boots and gloves to lessen your chance of getting shocked. Tools and appliances should be plugged into a GFCI outlet or GFCI extension cord. Never use water to put out an electrical fire; water can cause a fatal shock.
5. Always shut off the power to a circuit or device that you will be working on. This is the first thing you should do before working on any electrical circuit. Be sure to lock and tag out switches when working on equipment.
Electricity can be an ally or an enemy. Treat it with respect and it will provide the service you expect.
questions or concerns on electric safety or safety in general at NMSU, call EH&S at 575-646-3327. (http://safety.nmsu.edu)
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