If you work with electricity, you’re bound to get shocked sooner or later. It’s just the nature of the business. Maybe you are connecting two wires and you forgot to switch off the breaker, and you soon find out the error of your ways.
Most electrical shocks are relatively harmless. However, when you’re working around electricity in a professional capacity on a regular basis, the risk of death and serious injury is always there.
6 tips to prevent electrocution
The following tips will help you stay safe while working around electrical currents:
Switch off the power: Even if you think the breaker is turned off from the previous day’s work, double check to ensure that the breaker is in the off position.
Test if there’s current: You may think that you turned off the breaker, but electricity connections can be complicated and the area where you’re working might be sourcing electricity from an unknown location. By using a noncontact voltage tester (or a different kind of electrical tester) you can verify that there’s no current before touching the wires.
Watch out for capacitors: Capacitors can be hiding inside electrical equipment. They store electricity inside them much like a battery. If you touch a large enough capacitor in the wrong place, it could transmit a deadly shock. If you see a capacitor and you don’t know how to safely discharge the device, find an electrician who does.
Use outlets with ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs): These outlets have a little black and red button in the middle of them. They detect minor electrical faults and turn off the power automatically to prevent shocks and other dangers. By using a GFCI outlet or a GFCI-equipped extension cord, you can prevent a lot of electrical accidents.
Make sure your tools are insulated: Insulated tools will prevent electricity from traveling through the tool and making contact with your body. Especially use these tools if you’re working around a battery.
Don’t connect/disconnect a device, tool or appliance that’s running: If your device is on and being powered, it’s dangerous to connect or disconnect the electricity. This can create arcs of current that could jump to your body. The larger the device, the more powerful the arc will be.
Learn more about electrical safety to prevent injuries
Workers who work in construction or in other areas where there is a risk of electrical shock should learn as much as they can about electrical safety. The more you know, the more able you will be to prevent a workplace accident that could leave you physically disabled or even dead.