Safety Corner: Electrical Safety On-the-Job

By Paul Errico

Safety3_aceac.comSome employees work directly with electricity and face the greatest risk of shocks, burns and electrocution. Others may be exposed only indirectly, but they, too, can be injured or killed. That’s why all employees should be trained to understand electrical hazards and take proper precautions.

Electrical Equipment

Normal use of electrical equipment causes wear and tear that can result in insulation breaks, short circuits and exposed wires. If there is no ground-fault protection, a ground fault can send current surging through a worker’s body.

To prevent accidents:

  • Use ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) on all 120-volt, single-phase, 15- and 20-amp receptacles.
  • Use double-insulated tools and equipment, distinctively marked.
  • Visually inspect all electrical equipment before use. Remove from service any equipment with frayed cords, missing ground prongs or cracked tool casings.


Normal wear on cords can loosen or expose wires. Using cords that are not the 3-wire type, not designed for hard-usage or that have been modified increases the risk of contacting electrical current.

To prevent accidents:

  • Use only equipment that is approved to meet OSHA standards.
  • Do not modify cords or use them incorrectly.
  • Use factory-assembled cord sets and only extension cords that are 3-wire type.
  • Use only cords, connection devices and fittings that are equipped with strain relief.
  • Remove cords from receptacles by pulling on the plugs, not the cords.


(image courtesy of