When the weather turns sour in New Jersey, and rain, sleet, ice or snow make your work harder than usual, it's important that you're prepared to avoid injuries. If you work with electricity, that means being cautious not to suffer an electric shock.
As you know, water is conductive, which means that electricity passes through it easily. If you are in water at the time of an electric shock, it's more likely to cause damage than if you are not. Similarly, if you're approaching a downed line, any puddle or grouping of water touching it could be electrified.
What should you do to avoid electrical injuries?
It is important not to touch water that is around electricity unless you are prepared with the correct equipment. For example, there are specialized boots and gloves that do not allow electricity to pass through. These allow electricians to work safely without the risk of a fatal shock.
What can workers do to prevent injuries in the workplace caused by electrocution?
One important thing for workers to know is not to break off a grounding prong from a tool. Perhaps there is only a two-prong outlet, so it's impossible to plug in the tool. Opt for an adapter, and use it if you're familiar with the adapter and outlet. If not, use a grounded generator or cordless tools. It's best to use grounded GFCI outlets, which are typically marked with a green, glowing light on the outlets.
Another risk to workers is reversed polarity. It is necessary for anyone who plugs in devices to report if they see sparks or feel tingles when doing so. This is a sign that the polarity of the outlet and device are reversed.
Reversed polarity occurs when a neutral wire is connected to the hot side of the circuit. In the worst-case scenario, reversed polarity can lead to such an extreme shock that the person could die. Using a polarity tester before you work is a great idea, since it can alert workers to dangerous outlets and give them, or an electrician, the opportunity to correct the polarity.
Electrocution is extremely dangerous, and even lower voltages can kill. It is important that people working with electricity know safety precautions to take, like those listed above. The right safety precautions could save lives, help workers avoid painful injuries and protect an employer against liability. Take time to explain electrical safety in the workplace.