If not used properly, electricity can cause electrical shock and burns to you and your employees. It can also create fires and explosions that destroy property. All electrical installations should be performed by licensed electricians to the standards of the National Electric Code. The following information may help your organization address some common electrical hazards.
Exposed wiring is one of the most common electrical hazards, and in many cases it is the easiest to correct. Areas to check for exposed wiring include:
Electrical Distribution Panels
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends taking the following actions:
Extension cords are used in almost every organization to temporarily power items such as fans, power tools and lighting fixtures. Consider the following when using extension cords:
Inspect all extension, tool and appliance cords on a regular basis for damaged insulation, exposed wiring and damaged plugs. Cords with missing ground prongs should be repaired or replaced as soon as possible to maintain proper grounding.
Additionally, three-prong to two-prong adapters should not be used to connect a three-wire, grounded electrical device to a non-grounded circuit. If you use two-prong extension cords in your facility, they should be removed and replaced with grounded three-prong extension cords as soon as possible.
Power Strips and Surge Protectors
Power strips and surge protectors are commonly used to provide electricity to multiple pieces of equipment from one electrical outlet. While very handy, these devices can be serious electrical hazards if not used properly. If power strips or surge protectors are present in your facility, follow the guidelines:
Lockout / Tagout Program
When working with electricity, it is important to understand the principles of a proper lockout/tagout program. Lockout/tagout is a system to prevent the release of energy or operation of machinery or equipment. The system also warns other employees that equipment is being worked on.
According to OSHA regulations, lockout/tagout should be used whenever an employee is required to remove or bypass a guard or other safety device or is required to place any part of his or her body in the "point of operation" of the machine or where an associated danger zone exists during the machine's operating cycle. Lockout and tagout should always be performed together. While a lockout-only system is generally effective, a tagout-only system does not provide the maximum protection for employees and contractors.
Basics of Arc flash
Arc flash is a term used to describe an electrical explosion caused by an arcing fault. The electrical explosion results in a thermal, pressure and sound wave that can cause extensive equipment damage, severe injury and death.
A recent claim involved an arc flash incident on a high school campus. The arc flash occurred at a 100-amp, 480 volt fused disconnect switch during troubleshooting activities. Personnel were injured, the campus lost power for the day and equipment repair costs totaled approximately $140,000. If appropriate safety and maintenance practices had been followed, this incident may have been avoided.
What is an Arcing Fault?
An arcing fault is caused by the breakdown of insulating material (usually air in low voltage systems) between energized components and the ground. Arc fault current is usually low. Therefore, protective devices, such as fuses and circuit breakers, take a protracted period of time to open to stop the fault. The arcing fault continues until the arc flash occurs.
Electrocution vs. Arc Flash
Arc flash is not the same as electrocution. Electrocution occurs when a person comes in contact with an energized component. Electrocution can cause significant injuries and death, but typically will not cause extensive equipment damage. Since there is a significant amount of awareness concerning electrocution, people are careful to follow all safety procedures and use safety equipment when around energized equipment. Arc flash is a recently recognized electrical hazard. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 70E, fifth edition, was one of the first standards to specifically address arc flash hazards. It was published in 1995.
Industry awareness of arc flash hazards, arc flash mitigation techniques and safety standards are continuing to evolve.
Arc Flash Factors
It is important to recognize that arc flash can happen on low voltage and high voltage systems. The following factors determine the extent of the hazard:
These factors should be evaluated in an arc flash study. The results of an arc flash study aid in the establishment of flash protection boundaries, selection of personal protective equipment (PPE) and selection of arc flash hazard labels.
Back injuries are the most common workplace injury, second only to the common cold as the most frequent excuse for missing work. While there’s still no cure for the common cold, there are ways to avoid back injuries.
Facts about back injuries
To help prevent back injuries, you must understand what causes them. Contrary to popular belief, anyone can be at risk for back injury, not only workers who lift heavy objects. Your physical health has a lot to do with protection against back injury.
Don't back down on fitness
The harder you work, the less likely you will be to have a back injury. Take the following into consideration:
Watch your every move
The best way to avoid back injury is to pay attention any time you lift, carry, reach or push. While everyone has a favorite lifting technique, some basic rules apply:
The push is on
Always push, do not pull, your load. One foot should be behind the other with your weight balanced between them. Keep your spine straight and use your leg muscles to move the load. If you have to pull, be careful. You can strain your neck, shoulder or back.
Ergonomics to the rescue
Ergonomic experts try to find the easiest way to do work to help relieve stress on your body, especially your back. Small improvements can greatly reduce your chances of back injury. For example, if you bend over to retrieve a part from a bin, place the bin at a higher level. This way, you do not have to bend so much. Try to reduce or avoid repetitive motions. Muscle fatigue can lead to overexertion, which is responsible for one-fourth of all work injuries. Take a break or temporarily change tasks to regain strength.
Be careful while carrying
Before you start carrying a load, plan the lift. Consider the task, the load, your individual capability, and the environment. Plan where you will walk. The path should be clear of obstacles so that you don’t slip or fall. If equipment such as a dolly is available, use it. Take extra care on platforms, ramps and loading docks. If you can’t see in front of you, get help. When you carry a load, remember to balance it. Try to divide smaller loads into two and carry them at your sides, one in each hand. Ask for help if you have to carry a heavy load. Never carry a load backward; it can throw off your balance.
Keep supplies you use regularly at an easy-to reach height. If you need to reach for an item, use a ladder or a step stool. To lift something from the floor to above waist level, carefully lift the load halfway, then change your grip to lift the item higher.
The ability to leverage current events is a dream scenario for modern day cybercriminals. These criminals use events, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, to fuel their malicious intent. With the global pandemic comes the desire to stay updated with the most current information. However, it can be difficult for Internet users to navigate this information and separate fact from fiction. It is also difficult to ensure that links and resources are reliable. The reality is that malicious activity comes through just about every communication channel: email, social media, text and phone messages, and of course, misleading and malicious websites.
Here are some common examples of what you need to be on the lookout for in the months to come:
Recommendations: Phishing remains a prominent attack vector for almost all cyber threat actors. Your cybersecurity best practices will always be your first line of defense against phishing. Here are some recommendations you can take to shield yourself from these threats:
Basic First-Aid Kit Checklist
In order to administer effective first aid, it is important to maintain adequate supplies in each first aid kit. First aid kits can be purchased pre- stocked with the necessary supplies, or one can be
made by including various first aid items:
Get Medical Attention for All Injuries
It is very important for you to get immediate treatment for every work-related injury, regardless of how small you may think it is. Many cases have been reported where a small, unimportant injury, such as a splinter or puncture wound, quickly led to an infection, threatening the health of the employee. Even the smallest scratch is large enough for dangerous germs to enter the body. Therefore, immediately examine and treat every work-related injury. What is first aid? It is simply those things you can do for the victim before medical help arrives. The most important procedures are outlined in this bulletin.
Move the Injured Person only when Absolutely Necessary
Never move the victim unless there is a risk of fire, explosion, or another unsafe condition. The major concern with moving a victim is making the injury worse, which is especially true with spinal cord injuries. If you must move the victim, try to drag him or her by the clothing around the neck or shoulder area. If possible, drag the victim onto a blanket or large cloth and then drag the blanket.
Control Bleeding with Pressure
Bleeding is the most visible result of an injury. Each of us has between five and six quarts of blood in our body. Most people can lose a small amount of blood with no risks, but if a quart or more is quickly lost, it could lead to shock and/or death. One of the best ways to treat bleeding is to place a clean cloth on the wound and apply pressure with the palm of your hand until the bleeding stops. You should also elevate the wound above the victim’s heart, if possible, to slow down the bleeding at the wound site.
Once the bleeding stops, do not try to remove the cloth that is against the open wound as it could disturb the blood clotting and restart the bleeding. If the bleeding is very serious, apply pressure to the nearest major pressure point, located either on the inside of the upper arm between the shoulder and elbow, or in the groin area where the leg joins the body. Direct pressure is better than a pressure point because direct pressure stops blood circulation only at the wound.
Only use the pressure points if elevation and direct pressure haven’t controlled the bleeding. Never use a tourniquet (a device, such as a bandage twisted tight with a stick) to control the flow of blood except in response to an extreme emergency, such as a severed arm or leg. Tourniquets can damage nerves and blood vessels and can cause the victim to lose an arm or leg.
Treat Physical Shock Quickly
Shock can threaten the life of the victim if an injury is not treated quickly. Shock occurs when the body’s important functions are threatened by not getting enough blood, or when the major organs and tissues don’t receive enough oxygen. Some of the symptoms of shock are:
Persons in shock require immediate medical treatment, but until medical help arrives, all you can do is prevent the shock from getting worse. You can maintain an open airway for breathing, control any obvious bleeding and elevate the legs about 12 inches unless the injury makes it impossible. You can also prevent the loss of body heat by covering the victim (over and under) with blankets or clothing. Do not give the victim anything to eat or drink because this may cause vomiting. Generally, keep the victim lying flat on their back. A victim who is unconscious or bleeding from the mouth should lie on one side so breathing is easier. Stay with the victim until medical help arrives.
Perform the Heimlich Maneuver on Choking Victims
Ask the victim to cough, speak, or breathe. If the victim can do none of these things, stand behind the victim and locate the bottom rib with your hand. Move your hand across the abdomen to the area above the navel, then make a fist and place your thumb side on the stomach. Place your other hand over your fist and press into the victim’s stomach with a quick upward thrust until the object is dislodged. – Video
Flush Burns Immediately with Water
There are many different types of burns. They can be thermal burns, chemical burns, electrical burns, or contact burns. For thermal, chemical, or contact burns, the first step is to run cold water over the burn for a minimum of 30 minutes. If the burn is small enough, keep it completely under cool water. Flushing the burn takes priority over calling for help. Flush the burn first. If the victim’s clothing is stuck to the burn, don’t try to remove it. Remove clothing that is not stuck to the burn by cutting or tearing it. Cover the burn with a clean, cotton material. If you do not have clean, cotton material, do not cover the burn with anything. Do not scrub the burn or apply any soap, ointment, or home remedies.
Also, don’t give the burn victim anything to drink or eat, but keep the victim covered with a blanket to maintain a normal body temperature until medical help arrives. If the victim has received an electrical burn, don’t touch the victim unless they are clear of the power source. If the victim is still in contact with the power source, electricity will travel through the victim’s body and electrify you when you touch the victim. Once the victim is clear of the power source, your priority is to check their breathing for any airway obstruction and check their circulation.
Administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) if necessary - Video. Once the victim is stable, begin to run cold water over the burns for a minimum of 30 minutes. Don’t move the victim, scrub the burns or apply any soap, ointment, or home remedies. After flushing the burn, apply a clean, cotton cloth to the burn. If a cotton cloth is not available, don’t use anything. Keep the victim warm and still and try to maintain a normal body temperature until medical help arrives.
Use Cool Treatment for Heat Exhaustion or Stroke
Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are two different illnesses, although they are commonly confused as the same condition. Heat exhaustion can occur anywhere there is poor air circulation, such as around an open furnace or heavy machinery, or even if the person poorly adjusts to very warm temperatures. The human body reacts to heat by increasing the heart rate and strengthening blood circulation.
Simple heat exhaustion can occur due to loss of body fluids and salts. The symptoms are usually excessive fatigue, dizziness and disorientation, normal skin temperature with a damp and clammy feeling. To treat heat exhaustion, move the victim to a cool place and encourage drinking of cool water and rest. Heat stroke is a much more serious illness and occurs when the body’s sweat glands have shut down. Some symptoms of heat stroke are:
A heat stroke victim will die quickly, so don’t wait for medical help to arrive — assist them immediately. First move the victim to a cool place out of the sun and begin pouring cool water over the victim’s body. Fan the victim to provide good air circulation until medical help arrives.
Respond Appropriately to the form of Poisoning
The first thing to do in the event of poisoning is get the victim away from the poison. Then provide treatment appropriate to the form of the poisoning. If the victim is conscious, call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222. If unconscious, immediately call 911. If the poison is in solid form, such as pills, remove it from the victim’s mouth using a clean cloth wrapped around your finger. If the poison is a gas, you may need a respirator to protect yourself.
After checking the area first for your safety, remove the victim from the area and take them to fresh air. If the poison is corrosive to the skin, remove the clothing from the affected area and flush the skin with water for 30 minutes. Take the poison container or label with you when you call for medical help because you will need to be able to answer questions about the poison. Try to stay calm and follow the instructions you are given. If the poison is in contact with the eyes, flush the victim’s eyes with clean water for a minimum of 15 minutes.
Report all Work-Related Injuries to Your Supervisor
As with getting medical attention for all work-related injuries, it is equally important that you report all work-related injuries to your supervisor. It is critical that the employer check into the causes of every work-related injury, regardless how minor, to find out exactly how it happened. There may be unsafe procedures or unsafe equipment that should be corrected.