Here’s a startling statistic: In 2015 alone, 134 jobsite fatalities occurred due to electrical-related incidents. In a recent post, the Electrical Safety Foundation International shares even more shocking data related to electrical injuries and fatalities, including:
- Exposure to electric current remained seventh on the list of occupational exposures leading to fatal on-the-job injury.
- Workers in private sector industries that produce goods (Natural Resources and Mining, Construction and Manufacturing) sustained 75% of on-the-job electrical fatalities.
- From 2011 to 2015, workers in the 25 to 34 years age group experienced electrical fatalities at 1.5 to 2 times the average for all age groups.
Knowing how to avoid injury when dealing with electricity in and around your home and workplace can make all the difference between a productive day and a trip to the hospital.
To shed light on these shocking statistics, the Ohio Insurance Institute (OII) and its members set out to educate the public by sharing tips for electrical safety at home and work. Below, we highlight resources shared by our member organizations in a collective effort to discuss shock prevention.
Grinnell Mutual: Don’t Allow Electricity to Become Your Enemy
Electrical shock injures or kills thousands of people each year. Two crucial steps in preventing and responding to electrical shock injuries is knowing the signs and how to help the victim. As a reminder, never use water to put out an electrical fire. Water can cause a fatal shock.
- Stop the current flowing from the circuit through the victim’s body by safely disconnecting the power source. You can do this by disconnecting or de-energizing the circuit.
- If the circuit cannot be stopped, use a nonconductive item to safely remove the victim from the current source.
- Call 911.
- Check to see if the victim’s heart or breathing has stopped.
- Provide first aid until help arrives.
For other ways to improve workplace safety, Grinnell Mutual offers an Electrical Shock Prevention Checklist.
Westfield Insurance: Never Cut Corners When It Comes to Safety
Plumbers, electricians and HVAC technicians are regularly exposed to hazardous working conditions, which can lead to serious injury and illness. Because of this, Westfield Insurance (@WestfieldIns) outlines a number of ways you and your staff can prepare for extreme work conditions.
To prevent electrical shock liabilities from occurring, Westfield Insurance suggests the following:
- Inspect all equipment for damage before use.
- Use rubber or insulated gloves while working with wires, electrical fittings and power bars to prevent shocks and burns.
- Be aware of aluminum and steel tools, as they can produce an electrical charge when in contact with live wiring.
- Keep water and other fluids away from all electrical equipment.
- Test wires before touching them yourself to determine if they are still conductive. You can do this by using one of three inexpensive electrical testers like a non-contact voltage tester, circuit tester or continuity tester.
To ensure safety in and around your worksite, Westfield Insurance outlines precautionary tips for contractors working in extreme conditions.
State Farm: Don’t Be Just Another Statistic
According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), electrical failures cause 43,900 home fires every year. With this statistic in mind, State Farm (@StateFarm) suggests homeowners look into fire inspection for potential electrical issues and improved safety.
From testing smoke detectors to making sure curtains and other flammables are safe distances from heat sources, home fire inspectors may review the following:
- A proper ground.
- Electrical panel.
- Out-of-date equipment.
- General safety concerns.
To prevent property damage in your home from electric-related causes, State Farm highlights fireproof tips for homeowners.
Travelers Insurance: Remember Outlets for a Safe Environment
It’s important to have a discussion about electrical safety when using outlets, plugs and extension cords. In fact, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reported that one home structure fire was reported every 86 seconds in 2015.
- Replace or repair loose electrical cords.
- Turn off appliances before unplugging them.
- Don’t use an extension cord with major appliances.
- Install tamper-resistant receptacles in outlets near where children will be present.
- Call a qualified electrician if you have fuses that regularly blow or circuits that often trip.
To prevent fires in your home, Travelers Insurance highlights power and extension cord safety tips.
Erie Insurance: Keep Your Dorm Room Free of Fire
Extension cords pose many risks when used improperly. That’s why colleges and universities throughout the U.S. provide students with electrical safety guides and tips to prevent fires from occurring.
- Don’t use extension cords for long periods of time.
- Get an approved cord.
- Don’t keep extension cords hidden under rugs or carpets.
- Don’t plug extension cords into other extension cords.
- Inspect cords for damage before use.
To keep extension cord safety top of mind, Erie Insurance details electrical tips for dorms.
Nationwide: Prevent Injury with Routine Maintenance and Inspection
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), electrical cords and temporary wiring account for more than 25% of the estimated 81,000 electrical system fires that occur each year.
- Inspect extension cords for broken connectors, damaged insulation and missing hardware before each use.
- Use only surge protected power strips. Inspect the power strips regularly for damage or signs of overloading.
- Make sure there is sufficient access and working space around all electrical equipment for safe operation and maintenance.
- Use temporary wiring only when needed for maintenance, repair or demolition activities.
- Don’t splice equipment cords to repair damage or to extend the original length.
For other safeguards to install, Nationwide details electrical safety tips.
See these resources for more ways our members and partners educate others on the importance of electrical safety.
- Prevent Blindness: Prevent Blindness Warns Ohioans About the Dangers of Backyard Fireworks
- Westfield Insurance: Electricians – Rewire Your Insurance Plans
- State Farm: Extension Cord Safety: What to Do and What to Avoid