One of the most important construction site safety topics everyone should be familiar with is electrocution. Electrocution can occur when a source of electric current passes through a human body, causing an electric shock. Unfortunately, whether you work directly or indirectly with electricity, electrocution hazards can occur.
Electrocution hazards account for 61 percent of work-related fatalities in the United States, and they not only cause severe injuries but also result in death.
Types of electrocution hazards
The number of fatalities from electrocution hazards has decreased over the years. But, it's still vital to know what the hazards are to protect yourself and your employees from them. Some of the major types of electrocution hazards include:
• Improper use of flexible cords and extensions
• Contact with energized sources
• Contact with power lines
Additionally, here are some potential electrocution hazards to be aware of on your construction site:
• Wet conditions or wet skin - water is a good conductor of electricity
• Old wiring and faulty electrical outlets
• Metal that comes in contact with power lines
Protecting yourself from electrocution hazards
Prevention is key when it comes to electrocution hazards, and all construction managers are required by OSHA to put in place preventative measures that protect all employees. Construction workers should also be aware of their surroundings and undergo extensive training to learn how to avoid electrocution hazards.
Below are some ways you can prevent electrocution hazard
First, maintain a safe distance from overhead and underground power lines since they carry high voltage. If this isn't possible, have the utility provider de-energize the lines when heavy equipment and ladders are in use.
Second, check all electrical power lines and extensions for damages, cuts, abrasions, and exposed wires. Do not attempt to use this equipment if they are faulty. Instead, inform your construction manager for immediate repairs.
Third, never use power tools for functions they are not designed for as this places you at risk of electrocution.
Lastly, use ground fault circuit interrupters on your construction site to cut off electricity when there is an electrical imbalance.
What other construction site safety topics that everyone in the construction industry should be aware of?
Construction site safety topics
Another important notion to remember for construction site safety is having proper signage. These signs can be used to warn workers of danger zones, when protective gear is needed or where the emergency exits are located. It is important to note that for these signs to be significant, they need to be high quality because in construction zones they can easily get dirty or wrecked.
Another tip is to make sure that the signs are either red, black or white. The human brain has been trained to stop when it sees the color red, for example, red lights and stop signs.
An important construction site safety topics are to train your employees. It is common that construction workers are not familiar with all the dangers of construction. It is important that your employees are wearing the right gear and have the basic knowledge of getting on and off heavy equipment.