OSHA and Electrical Safety for Your Crew on the Job Site

Energy Safety Danger Sign

Construction is a dangerous job, and electrocution and electrical injury are among the top four accident types that lead to fatalities on the job. How do you ensure your job site is kept safe from this hazard without impeding your crew's ability to work efficiently? We've taken a look at what the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has to say on the topic and compiled that information into an easy to read guide on the matter.

In general, there are only a few areas where electricity becomes a hazard on the job site. This includes tools in poor condition, accidental shorts caused by live wires being installed on the job site, water conducting electricity and overhead power lines. If you're able to stay on top of these four areas, you'll be able to more easily maintain a safe job site. Let's take a look at each category.

Wires In The Wall
  • Tools in poor condition. Whether it's an internal short that allows power to arc out into your worker or a frayed cord that shocks users or other workers, get tools that are having issues off your job site in favor of replacements or after repairs are done to take care of the problem. This can be as simple as changing out an old, beat-up cord or plug, or may involve sending the tool in for service with the manufacturer. If you're having problems with a particular tool series, it may be time to look at upgrading to a contractor's series or different line that can take the beating your crew can hand out on a daily basis.
  • Accidental short from installed wires. OSHA requires lockouts to prevent this problem, but sometimes this requirement is ignored in favor of testing new circuits and systems. If you have an electrician on your job site who is testing circuits, require that they follow proper lockout procedures or install proper fixtures to prevent accidental shorts from taking place during the testing phase. If the electrician refuses to follow even these basic safety protocols to keep your crew and all the other workers on the site safe, it's time to speak to the developer, codes board or general contractor about the problem.
  • Trees Fallen On WiresWater conduction hazards. Construction sites are almost never as water tight as you'd like, but it's vital that water not come into contact with electrical circuits. If there are areas of the work site that may become wet due to inclement weather, it's important to use outdoor electrical boxes or to cut all power to the affected circuits until they can be dried out again. If you're working in an area that is prone to flooding, see if you can run temporary electrical lines in the ceiling of the structure rather than the walls, seal up the structure with tarps or building wrap or otherwise take precautions to ensure a safe, dry environment.
  • Overhead power lines. This is a common hazard at both job sites and at home. Whether it's a crane, a cherry picker or an aluminum ladder, any contact with a conductive material to overhead power lines can cause significant electrical hazard. It's important that your crew be aware of overhead power lines on the job site, whether it's by making the lines more obvious by having hazard markers placed on them or adding signs that will alert them to the potential hazard so they can plan accordingly as they work.

Electrical safety on the job site is no laughing matter and needs to be part of your company's culture of safety to protect your workers and reduce liability to your company. If you need safety equipment to keep your business operating efficiently, we have everything you need. Please feel free to contact us today with any questions, to get a quote or to schedule a delivery to your job site. At Wallboard Supply Company, keeping your crew going safely is what we're all about.

OSHA Personal Protective Equipment Quick Card

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Wallboard Supply Company is a third generation, family run business that has been serving New England's building needs since 1970. Bob Filion started the company with a commitment to provide quality drywall and finishing products with unmatched customer service. The company has grown over the years, expanding its' product range, but never wavering from its' core values.