How to manage employee electrical safety at workplace

Providing a safe working environment for employees is a top priority for every facility’s administration. But, safeguarding workers and ensuring the facility’s continued success requires attending to each location’s unique set of possible dangers. Electrical dangers are a type of hazard in almost every building.

The truth is that electricity’s discovery and subsequent use profoundly impact society. However, several risks have emerged due to the extensive use of electricity. By carefully taking electrical risks and hazards, you can maximize the benefits and minimize the dangers at your company.

This article discusses some electrical injuries, how they happen and how to implement the best practices for adequate electrical safety at workplace.

Understanding electrical hazards, injuries, and safety?

Humans have excellent electrical conductivity. People can get an electric shock if any part of their body touches a live electrical current. Individuals are frequently electrocuted when they come into contact with faulty machinery or a poorly insulated wire.

By definition, therefore, electrical safetyencompasses a broad range of preventative measures that can be performed to guard against the dangers or injuries posed by electric currents.

In other words, it’s a set of rules to reduce the risk of electrical accidents and protect workers from potential harm.

Here are some of the types of electrical injuries in workplace;

  • Burns
  • Falls
  • Electrocution
  • Electric shock

These injuries may occur in various ways, including:

  • Coming into physical or direct contact with live electrical components or conductors
  • When the electrical current forms an arc due to exposed electrified conductors or circuits
  • Contact with the intense heat produced by electric arcs can cause severe tissue damage if the skin is not protected
  • The ultraviolet and infrared rays (UV and IR) released by an electric arc burst can cause irreversible eye injury


  • A pressure wave generated by an arc flash might be considered part of an arc blast. This wave has the potential to inflict bodily harm, cause the lungs to collapse, or generate damaging levels of noise.
  • A person may also fall off a ladder, aerial bucket, or scaffold due to muscle contractions or a shock reaction. Severe injuries may result from the fall.

Also, the following electrical risks and hazards causes account for the vast majority of all reported injuries:

  • Poor or ad wiring, broken appliances, and neglectful upkeep.
  • Damaged or faulty electrical connections.
  • Power outlets that are overused or overheated.
  • Extending and extending with flexible wires and cables.
  • Poor or incorrect fuse replacement.
  • Using electrical appliances while wet or close to a water source.


Who is Vulnerable to Electrical Accidents?

Electricians, engineers, and overhead line workers are among the most at-risk occupations regarding electrical dangers.

Installing and repairing electrical systems, testing fittings and equipment, and performing inspections and maintenance are all common examples of employment that put these employees at risk.

However, even those who are only peripherally involved with electricity, such as office workers, are at risk.Thus, it is the responsibility of both businesses and homeowners to maintain safe electrical practices.

The general importance of electrical safety

In today’s modern society, electricity is a must-have. Energy is essential for everything from lighting, heating, cooking, and charging electronics to powering companies.

But electricity also has its downsides and can be harmful. A recent study found that in the United States alone, electrical injuries accounted for more than 30,000 hospitalizations and more than 1,000 fatalities in 2020; this emphasizes the importance of taking all necessary precautions to avoid electrical mishaps.

The following are some of the top reasons why electrical safety in the workplace is paramount:

Protects Your Business and Its Employees

Employees are the most valuable part of every firm, whether a factory or an office. According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International, as much as 45 percent of all electrical deaths occur in commercial and public facilities.

Most of these mishaps happen when people are working or attempting to work with tools and machines or even handling industrial equipment failures like fuse and transformers disconnects.

When employees don’t have to take time off due to accidents, production goes up, and costs related to workers’ compensation and other forms of insurance go down. Employees are more likely to put more effort into work or join your company if they feel comfortable.

Therefore, ensuring everyone’s safety around electricity in the workplace is critical to keeping operations smooth and avoiding unnecessary expenditures.

Safeguards against Fire Outbreaks

The fact that electricity can spark a fire is another compelling argument for taking electrical safety at workplace seriously. The United States Fire Administrationreported that about 45,000 residential electric fires occur annually in the United States. Most of these incidents are caused by faulty wiring or misuse of equipment.

So, being careful when using electrical items is crucial for preventing house fires. Do things like not overcrowding outlets with several heat-generating gadgets, avoid using extension cables with heating appliances, and consult a professional electrician before putting in new outlets in your home.

Vital for Health Care Operations

Medical facilities, from hospitals to diagnostic labs, frequently employ various sizes and types of electro-medical equipment to ascertain a patient’s health and make a diagnosis.

Many gadgets are wired to the patient and run on either mains electricity or internal batteries. Parts of some devices may be implanted in the patient and make contact with the heart.

Any current leakages, especially when the patient comes into contact with nurses or equipment during the operations, put the patient at risk of electric shock, which can sometimes be fatal. Because of this, education on electrical safety is crucial in healthcare settings like hospitals and clinics.

Adherence to Electrical Safety Regulations

The public health and safety legislation mandates that every employer take steps to ensure that their workplace is free from any potential electrical hazards.

For instance, employers in the United Kingdom are obligated by the Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974’selectricity regulations to perform all work activities to ensure employees’ safety against electrical hazards.

Image alt text: electrical safety at workplace. Electrical technicians doing inspection to prevent electrical risks and hazards at workplace.

Author credit: By U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Europe District from Wiesbaden, Germany – Conference center receives USACE safety inspection, Public Domain,

Federal regulations in the United States (The National Fire Protection Association and OSHA 29 CFR 1910) mandate that businesses provide an electrical safety plan and instruct workers to follow all of its rules. Your company can stay in good standing with the law if you take the necessary steps to implement electrical safety measures in the workplace and enforce them consistently.

Provides security for your loved ones

More than half of all electrical injuries occur in people’s own homes, making this a particularly significant reason to take precautions against electrical hazards.

Young children are especially at risk for electric shocks from touching a live wire, touching an electrical outlet when wet, or using damp hands to handle household electrical appliances. Muscleor nerve injuries, cardiac arrest, burns, or falls resulting from abrupt shocks are the most common related consequences of electrical shocks.

Therefore, it is essential to properly verify the safety of all electronic devices and the earth to reduce the risk of electrical shocks in the home or at any workplace.

Here is what you can do to mitigate electrical risks and hazards

Strategies to ensure electrical safety at workplace

The electrical safety precautions below can serve as a guide for either opening a brand-new facility or improving existing safety measures. These measures are essential to ensuring the facility’s continued health and safety.

These guidelines will serve you best:

Learn about the OSHA Electrical Standards

It would help if you went to OSHA and other safety-focused groups for guidance whenever you change your workplace’s safety measures. There are groups whose sole purpose is to research and advise businesses on effective global safety practices.

OSHA is about much more than just promoting safer workplaces for employees. Operating under the United States Department of Labor, OSHA has the authority to levy fines and penalties against companies or workplaces that do not comply with OSHA regulations. Therefore, it is essential to begin any electrical security plan by ensuring conformity with OSHA regulations.

To get started on the path toward eliminating electrical dangers in your workplace, consider these OSHA’s safety recommendations:

Please Assume All Wires Are Live: Each employee must proceed with the presumption that all power lines are live and carry potentially fatal voltages. Being too cautious is preferable, given the potentially disastrous consequences of electrocution.

Stay away from electrical lines unless you’re qualified experts: Workers should be warned not to touch live wires. The only people who should ever operate on these wires are qualified electricians with the necessary training, experience, and safety gear.

Only Licensed Electricians May Make Repairs: Electrical cables, especially extension cords, are prone to fraying and breakage. Common belief holds that covering a line with electrical tape is sufficient. However, only a licensed electrician should repair this damage, as they will know how to do it in accordance with all applicable standards.

Take Precautions aroundElectrical Conductors, Especially Water:Workers need to be aware of the heightened risks involved when conducting their work in the open air near conductors like water. If you stand in a pool, you increase your risk of electrocution. An individual can be electrocuted instantly if a live wire falls into the water.

Identify of Locate Potential Electrical Risks

Once you have a firm grasp of your facility’s expectations, you can begin to zero in on problem spots. Gemba walks (safety walks) are a fantastic tool for this purpose. You or a team member will need to travel around the various sections of the building in search of places where enhancements could be made during these walks.

Most Gemba walks aim to identify waste sources and brainstorm methods to boost efficiency at a given location. Nevertheless, the person conducting the Gemba walk, in this case, should pay special attention to potential electrical dangers.

Threats to keep an eye out for will vary depending on the type of facility. First, make a mental note of everything you want to remember to do on your stroll. Several typical electrical hazards are described below. Create a checklist with the following items as guidelines:

Carelessness on employees: Accidents with electricity sometimes start with a careless worker. For instance, using damp hands in an electrical environment dramatically increases the risk of shock or death. Take note of repeating errors made by staff to determine if retraining is needed.

Damaged or Frayed Cables:One of the most prevalent places for danger to arise. Damage to cords is typical due to their constant use and abuse from being tugged, scraped, and run over. Fraying, tearing, and cracking are all possible outcomes of prolonged use, which significantly threatens everybody’s safety.

Electricity Surges Due to Overload: It’s risky to put more load on a single power outlet than it can safely support. Device failure, overheating, and fire threats are all possible results of overloading an electrical outlet. Therefore, there’s a need for careful monitoring of the facility’s electrical needs to prevent the overloading of outlets and circuits.

In addition to the risks already mentioned, your building’s electrical systems provide several other potential dangers. You can locate problem spots by taking a careful stroll while watching for any electrical risks.

Never stop thinking about electrical safety after identifying the most significant dangers during your Gemba walk. Even seemingly insignificant risks or actions should be pointed out. Reducing numerous low-severity threats can increase facility safety noticeably.

Study Current Industry Standards

Consider current industry best practices while making changes to your building: these methods have been tested and used successfully by various institutions.

Although no method will ever be foolproof, you can gain insight from the practices of those who have gone before you. To get started, it’s essential to establish and adopt best practices for electrical safety. Once you have adopted these procedures, you can continue seeking ways to enhance your processes.

When looking at the best standards, you will probably come across several different approaches. There are, nevertheless, universally accepted practices for making and installing cables, providing electrical services, working safely, and more.

It can be challenging to figure out which of these procedures can help your building, but the time and energy spent doing so will be well worth it.

Carry out an Electrical Safety Audit or Inspection

Conducting regular, comprehensive audits is the next step in enhancing the security of electrical systems. You can zero in on potential trouble spots in your electrical infrastructure by conducting an exhaustive audit. This inspection should be performed yearly at most workplaces to assure continued safety.

Although it might be helpful to do your safety audit, it is recommended that a professional, impartial third party conduct electrical inspections. To ensure the safety of your electrical system, hire a professional electrical auditing firm.

They will use cutting-edge equipment to check your appliances, wiring, and more. Also, by using a third-party service, you can rest assured that you’re getting accurate data from a neutral viewpoint.

Established Electrical Safety Procedures

Your efforts to upgrade the electrical system need not be limited to installing new electrical appliances. Another critical factor in ensuring the safety of electrical systems is providing staff with a well-defined safety program following thorough inspection and thorough training.

Image alt text: electrical safety at workplace. A pictorial representation of an electrical hazard warning sign.

Author credit: By Олег Граченко – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

To ensure that all workers are aware of and able to avoid electrical hazards, you can provide them with introductory electrician training. This will also aid them in spotting any dangers within the building.

Erect adequate physical and visual barriers around electrical dangers

Any potential electrical risks in the workplace should always be separated from workers by physical barriers.

There should never be any exposed wires or open cabinets in electrical installations that could cause an injury to a worker. But if there are, then erect warning signs around the risk that employees keep off that area.

In other words, put labels or tags that illustrate the type of risk the workers should expect within that vicinity.

Invest in extensive electrical safety training

Training is essential for ensuring the safety of workers in areas with potential electrical risks. There are many courses available, so you shouldn’t have trouble locating the ones most relevant to your organization.

Even if you get access to some formal training, it’s essential to supplement it with facility-specific instruction. Instruct workers on the proper use of PPE and the circumstances in which it is required. The next step is to train workers in the appropriate interpretation of all safety indicators.

The more your staff knows about electrical hazards and preventative measures, the safer your workplace will be. To get started, provide mandatory electrical safety training to new hires. Once established, you may design a training program for current employees that serves as a refresher or ongoing education.

Most importantly, train your employees to deal with various emergencies, including administering immediate care in the event of accidents or injuries. Even better, prepare them how to identify signs and symptoms of emergencies.


Regarding potential dangers in the workplace, electricity is high on the list. Working with electricity requires special training, and only people with that training should touch electrical components. When in doubt, it’s advisable to avoid contact with live electricity.

That said, to ensure adequate electrical safety in the workplace, every business should make it a priority to train their staff thoroughly on how to recognize and respond to potential electrical risks and hazards in the workplace to reduce the number of accidents and injuries that occur in this area.