Let’s not beat around the bush: electricity is dangerous, and it only takes one spark to start a fire.
As part of your duty of care to your employees and workers, it’s crucial that you take all steps possible to protect individuals from the dangers posed by electricity.
That means physical barriers, emergency shutoff systems, circuit breakers and regular inspections to identify cases of:
- Faulty outlets and appliances
- Old and outdated wiring
- Overheating of lighting and appliances
- Frayed cords
- Overloading electrical outlets
And of course, it also includes workplace danger signs.
Just like chemicals need to be identified with hazchem signs and emergency information panels, so too do electrical hazards!
Working safely with electricity: 4 steps workplaces like yours need to take
1) Identify hazards
As with all cases, working safely with electricity starts by identifying the hazards present at your workplace.
While electricity is dangerous no matter the size of your organisation, the exact electrical hazards can vary from site-to-site.
For example, a small office may have to worry about overloaded circuits and excessive usage of power boards, which can increase the risk of overloading and up the risk of electrical fire.
By contrast, factories often maintain high-capacity electrical circuits and have dedicated onsite power transformers.
When looking at electrical hazards at your workplace, it’s especially important that you pay attention to factors such as:
- Cramped spaces – this can make it difficult for workers to avoid electric shocks
- Outdoors electrical equipment – exposure the elements increases the risk of damage
- Wet surroundings – water + electricity is a bad idea, no matter the size of your business
- Hostile environment – UV, heat, vibration, sharp objects, hazardous chemicals… all of these can interfere with electrical equipment
2) Assess the risks
Okay, so you’ve identified the electrical hazards onsite. The next step? Figuring out the risk present.
In particular, you’ll want to take a deep dive into the types of electrical equipment in use at your workplace, and assess the likelihood of employees being exposed to hazards associated with them.
For example, using an extension cord may not be that dangerous normally – however, if said extension cord is being used outdoors, your risk increases thanks to exposure to the elements.
Other things to look out for include:
- Type of equipment
- Environmental conditions
- Likelihood of damage
- Amount of exposure to electrical parts
- Manufacturer’s guidelines
Even if you assess your overall risk to be low, it still pays to take precautions, just in case!
And speaking of precautions…
3) Risk management
While it isn’t always possible to completely eliminate risks, it’s certainly possible to reduce them. In fact, there are many ways to make your team safer around electricity.
This goes beyond physical barriers and training to protect your workers from electricity. It also includes:
- Current risk controls
- Frequency of inspections
- Procedures for reporting risks
- Safety switches and isolation transformers
To reduce risk, Australian standard AS/ANZ 3760-2010 mandates that all equipment is regularly inspected by a qualified sparkie
In addition to inspecting machinery itself for electrical faults, you’ll also want them to go over your circuit breakers and fuses, and determine whether or not they’re appropriate.
Another way to reduce risk is to use battery-powered equipment instead of mains-powered wherever possible.
Finally, ensure that all of these risk reduction exercises are codified in policy, with strict procedures ensuring that they’re followed at all times.
You can remind workers and guests of this by…
4) Putting up workplace safety signs
We’re hazchem sign specialists – you didn’t think we’d talk about electrical safety without mentioning signage, did you?
As with all workplace hazards, signage is a crucial part of your safety equation:
- High voltage signs
- Voltage rating signs
- Electrical hazard signs
- Electrical room signages
- Overhead power lines
- Electrical tags
- Electrical equipment signs
In addition to generic safety signs warning of electrical hazards around electrical equipment, you’ll also want to kit your workplace out with reminding workers of policy regarding electrical appliances.
Your procedures and emergency response should get their own sign, outlining the proper reaction as well as emergency contacts.
Custom safety signs are a great choice for this.
Our team can create custom signs for your electrical safety policies and safety procedures. Simply tell us the details, and we’ll fill in the rest, creating a custom sign that’s tailored for your workplace.
The custom signs we can create can include all sorts of information, including:
- Proper procedure when using electrical equipment
- Mandatory safety precautions
- Oversight and supervision requirements
- Emergency response
- Equipment maintenance schedules
If you ask us, a paper printout won’t cut it – safety signage needs to be highly visible and durable. For that, only a custom safety sign will do the trick!
Hazchem signs, EIPs, electrical safety signs – if you need workplace safety signs, we’ve got it!
We here at Signsmart are passionate about safety, and are big proponents for the importance of workplace safety signs.
Our team ensures that you get the right signs and labels you need to keep your workplace safe, and provide all kinds of signs including:
- Hazchem & EIP signs
- Dangerous signs & labels
- Site safety panels
- First aid signs
- Mandatory signs
- Business & corporate
And as mentioned above, we can even customise your safety signs, stickers, and labels – you get to choose the colour, size and message, allowing you to enjoy a truly custom solution.