Protect Against Electrical Shock by Avoiding Electricity Altogether
If someone is working with electricity near you, try to keep as much distance as possible.
Stay away from the temp pole and breaker boxes when they are being installed. Electricians are specially trained to handle electrical hazards; you are not. In most cases there is no reason for you to be near live electrical parts, so keep away from those hazards.
Even the Smallest Openings to Energized Equipment Can Hurt You
If you ever have to work near live parts in a junction box or near circuit breakers, be sure all the openings are covered and the knock outs are in place. Knock out plugs should cover all conduit and breaker openings, and there should be covers on all breaker and junction boxes.
If there isn't a cover and you need to work near the live parts, let your supervisor know so they can be guarded for your safety.
Also, keep an eye out for exposed parts when the electrician is doing his job and during the drywalling stages of construction. Don't forget: Something as simple as an uncovered receptacle can lead to injuries.
Leave the Ground Prong On
The third prong (or ground prong) on an extension cord is designed to protect you. Clipping off the ground prong means that a tool or extension cord can no longer be grounded and this could result in injury.
If you find that a cord or tool has had the prong clipped, you need to tell your supervisor so it can be repaired or replaced. Most importantly, remember not to use a broken cord.
Be Sure Your Tools are Double Insulated
It should say so right on the side of the tool. Double insulated tools don't need a ground prong to protect you, but you may need an adapter so they will fit your extension cord. A two-prong plug does not necessarily mean it is double insulated, so be sure to check on the tool. Tools also need to be protected from water and other elements that could cause electrical hazards.
House Wiring Needs to Be Protected Correctly
The electrician will have installed the wiring properly so it won't get cut. But if you do accidentally cut a wire or notice a damaged wire in the house, let your supervisor know right away. Don’t try to repair the break. The electrician will be notified and repair it. Following this procedure will help protect you, the other workers and the home buyers.
Make electrical safety one of your first goals for a safe jobsite.
For more information, contact Robert Matuga, director, Labor, Safety & Health Services at 800-368-5242 x8507.
NAHB Toolbox Safety Talks, available through BuilderBooks.com, are designed to supplement your employee safety training program and help you identify those areas where you may need to develop additional safety training for your employees.
Each individual talk is intended to be used as a brief, job site training session of approximately 15 minutes. Each talk includes questions that encourage employees to share their experiences about working safely or accidents that they may have been involved in. Hearing others talk about what has happened to them will make the reality of injuries more apparent, and the safety message much clearer.
The complete Toolbox Safety Talks series and other safety training and OSHA information are available through BuilderBooks.com or by calling 800-223-2665. NAHB Toolbox Safety Talks are available in English and English-Spanish editions.