How to stay safe doing electrical work

Working with electricity means taking precautions. This applies especially when you’re working with high voltages. No matter your level of experience, you’re dealing with forces that can inflict serious harm. So, how can we minimize the risks?

Wear PPE

The first thing to think about is personal protection equipment. Through the right goggles, gloves, and fire-resistant clothing, you can protect yourself.

Of course, when choosing safety equipment, you’ll want to ensure that you don’t compromise your freedom to move and work. If you find that you can’t move your fingers easily, then the chances are that you haven’t arrived at a long-term solution. In fact, you might actually make your work environment less safe.

While you might focus on electrical dangers, it’s also important to be conscious of other threats. Sawdust and brick dust can pose a challenge, especially if you’re going to be ripping up floorboards and channeling walls. Look into facemasks and respiratory protection.

The correct tools

The screwdrivers and pliers you use should be insulated. This will add an additional layer of protection between your body and conductive materials. Perhaps more important are the tools that allow you to assess and deal with risk. A potentiometer tool, for example, can come in very handy for checking signals. A trimmer tool, on the other hand, is great for adjusting sensitive and small electrical components on circuit boards, without having to actually get close to the board itself.

Knowing where the power source is

If you understand where the power is coming from, you’ll be able to safely shut it off so that you can work on a given electrical circuit. This might mean shutting an appliance off at a wall socket, or a breaker box. This information will also help you to manage the flow of electricity within a given building. Of course, it’s critical that you shut off the power source before working on any electrical circuit. Failure to do so could be disastrous.

Keep your workspace tidy

A significant chunk of workspace accidents involve trips and falls. Getting into the habit of tidying your workspace will reduce your likelihood of suffering a trip or fall. Thus, over time, it’ll make you safer. Keep trailing cables to a minimum, and tidy away equipment that you aren’t using, the moment you’re finished with it.

If you’re not, by disposition, a very tidy person, then now is a great time to start building the habit. Divide your day into small tasks, and set aside a few minutes whenever you’ve finished doing something to reassess your workspace, and stash away the tools and materials you aren’t using. That way, you’ll put yourself at a much lower risk.

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