Construction is one of the most hazardous industries in California. Many safety threats, such as large or malfunctioning equipment and falling from scaffolding or ladders, are readily apparent. However, others often go unnoticed.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, indirect and direct exposure to electricity can result in catastrophic injuries. Nearly 40% of contractor deaths due to exposure to electricity occur on construction sites or streets, highways and public buildings. Here are some of the top electrical safety tips for construction contractors.
Be aware of your surroundings
Situational awareness is a critical safety measure on any type of construction site. Although looking at where you step can help you avoid electrical hazards, you must also remember to look up. When you arrive at the job site, inspect your surroundings and note any signs or barriers that indicate electrical work, including wiring.
Maintain a safe distance
Overhead power lines have very high voltages. If you come into contact with one, it can result in electrocution and severe burns. Keep at least 10 feet between you, overhead power lines and equipment with a voltage of up to 50 kilovolts. Add four inches of distance for every kilovolt higher than that.
Inspect your equipment
Damaged tools and equipment can cause electrocution when connected to a power source, even when not turned on. Before using equipment, take the following steps:
- Check for cracks or breaks in wires, cords and cables.
- Treat every wire as live.
- Contact a manager or supervisor when you have concerns regarding the safety of any aspect of your worksite.
Understanding the required safety precautions the construction site owner must take is essential for remaining safe at work. If you sustained injuries due to an employer’s negligence, you might have grounds for a claim.