Published on February 10th, 2021
Any work that deals with electricity comes with its own risks. Honestly, any profession, for that matter, comes with its list of risks. But electricians work in high-risk environments. Even if they are masters of their trade, electrical work always involves a significant amount of danger. So, electricians have to be extremely diligent when carrying out their electrical projects. They can, of course, ensure their safety by following proper protocol and procedures.
Every day, electricians are exposed to high-voltage situations, dealing with complex electrical equipment. As per a survey that was conducted by Safe work Australia, electricity-related hazards occupied sixth place in the list of frequent causes of workplace fatalities between 2012 and 2016. All responsible electricians are well aware and uphold safety precautions and practices. They equip themselves with in-depth knowledge of electrical safety standards, undergo rigorous training, and use a common-sense approach to deal with electricity.
If you’re thinking about joining an electrician training program or you’re already pursuing one, make sure that you keep all the safety tips in mind. Safety protocols and simple safety hacks are your best chance to minimize danger and mitigate any potential accidents that could harm you. Whether you’re an electrical business owner or a sole proprietor in Australia, you can avoid personal and business risks by getting public liability insurance for electricians.
Here’s a set of safety tips to keep yourself safe while working as an electrician in Australia:
1. Know The Electrical Safety Codes
Every country has its own set of electrical safety codes. If you’re planning to practice as an electrician in Australia, you should make yourselves aware of Australia’s electrical safety codes. The Electrical Safety Act of 2002 was signed to lessen the number of injuries, destruction and deaths by electrical accidents. Local bodies have their own set of codes too. So, it is a must you familiarize yourself with the local and national safety standards and regulations before you start full-fledged practice.
2. Check The Electricity Flow
Do not think that you can work with live wires because you have finished your electrician training. Live electricity is the perfect recipe for disasters, probably even fatalities. For complete safety of yourself, other workers and the building or home, try to minimize your contact with live electricity. All you need to do is lockout and tag out circuits or equipment you’ll be working on. Here’s how to lockout and tag out in just three steps:
- Turn off the electric flow and check if the equipment has de-energized.
- Lock them physically so that no one can turn on the power while you’re working.
- Tag with an easily-readable warning to not switch on the power source of the machine you’re repairing.
Also, always test before you touch to confirm if the electric current is gone completely before you start work. In some buildings, the breaker box may be mislabeled, so it doesn’t hurt to be extra cautious for your safety.
3. Gear Up For Work
Whoever said that it doesn’t matter what you wear to work, was clearly wrong. As an electrician, it is extremely important to wear appropriate protective gear for your safety. So, don’t forget to sport on your PPE or Personal Protective Equipment to work. For starters, your protective clothing will take care of sweat issues – you’d already be aware of the consequences if by chance your sweat droplets come in contact with live wires.
What clothing equipment qualifies as PPE for electricians? Flame-retardant materials, electrical safety gloves, appropriate eyewear, non-conductive footwear, a hard helmet are a few. Ensure that they fit you well, are worn correctly, and are in good condition.
4. Stay Away From Water
It’s common sense that water and electricity don’t go hand-in-hand. For instance, your customer may be facing a flooding issue in their home and would want you to shut off the electrical power wading through the stagnant water. Bad idea! Unless you’ve been specially trained to handle live electricity while in contact with water, please stay away from moist areas.
5. All Electrical Equipment Must Be Grounded
Electric currents pass from their power source to the next nearest thing on its way. By grounding electrical equipment, you are making sure that the next nearest thing isn’t you. Instead, you’re connecting the electric current into the ground. How to do this? You can do this by connecting the equipment through a wire to a device that’s already in the earth or by using metal piping as grounding conductors. Grounding electrical currents can protect you from stray currents as well as external voltage sources like lightning.
6. Get Your Wiring Right
It is extremely important to use the right wiring for electrical equipment to work safely and smoothly. Proper wiring – right size and type, not worn or frayed – ensures that the electrical currents are handled appropriately. Using wrong wiring can lead to disasters such as fires or electrocution due to current overload in the power source.
7. Clean Your Work Area
You’re probably wondering what cleaning has to do with safety. Well, not all customers may be aware of electrical safety standards. You may notice that during some of your on-call jobs that the work area is flooded with flammable items such as books, paper, clothing, etc. With electrical work, there can be surprises like a spark suddenly jumping unnoticed. So, to be on the safer side, you must ask your customers to clear any flammable items from around the work area before you get into action.
8. Work In Pairs
This is extremely important when dealing with highly-dangerous electrical projects. Having a partner around not only helps to minimize the load. It also ensures that there’s help on the site in case there is a major problem or an accident.
As an electrician, it is important to follow electrical safety standards for your safety as well as of those around you. As you continue your journey as an electrician, you’ll get better acquainted with electrical safety protocols. Of course, the job of an electrician is a risky one. But, now that you’ve chosen your career path, it makes sense for you to be on top of things for your safety.