Industrial Workplace Electrical Safety
Industrial and manufacturing workers are often surrounded by hazards in the workplace, some of which are electrical. The safety of workers is always a number one priority, and staying vigilant when looking for potential hazards is of critical importance.
One of the leading causes of workplace fatalities is electric shock.
Hazards in the industrial workplace may include:
- Moving parts
- High or low temperatures
- Exposed wires
- Improper grounding
- Damaged insulation
- Wet conditions
- Inadequate wiring
- Overhead power lines
- Temporary wiring
Electrical hazards can lead to a number of electricity related injuries including:
- Electric shock
- Electrical burns
- Secondary injuries (from being thrown or falling etc.)
Electrical Risk Assessment
Electrical risk assessments should be completed before workers enter the workplace. The aim of the assessment is to identify risks to people while also noting the severity of the injury that could be caused. The assessment will take into account the electrical equipment used in the workplace and how this equipment is maintained.
Maintenance Of Electrical Equipment
A major consideration in regard to electrical safety is the frequency of the electrical maintenance program. Many studies have shown that routine maintenance in an industrial workplace not only ensures that any electrical hazards are found and repaired, the maintenance also ensures the reliability of the equipment. Reliable equipment equates to less downtime, which pays dividends in increased output. There is no downside to an electrical maintenance program.
Electrical Safety Of Industrial Machinery
Each workplace is unique when it comes to industrial electrical machinery, however, the one common element is the importance of workplace safety. Duty holders must take all steps possible to ensure that the working environment is designed with safety first of mind and adequately maintained to provide ongoing safety of workers.
The most common injuries caused by machinery includes:
- Electric shock
- Hearing loss
A number of safety mechanisms are available to assist with electrical safety:
- Safety doors and interlock switches are used to permit access to hazardous machinery. They work by cutting off the electrical current in some circumstances and also providing a locking barrier.
- Emergency stop buttons provide another level of machine safety are widely used to allow machinery to be switched off in the event of injury or incidents.
- Safety Relays are designed to detect faults in machinery. They often can detect both electrical and mechanical faults. When they detect a fault they protect workers by either pausing the machinery, shutting off electricity or initiating an emergency stop.
- Foot switches are often used with larger machinery or where a hand switch is impractical. The switch will deactivate electrical circuits.
- Non-contact safety switches require little maintenance and are well suited to extreme conditions. They usually operate via magnets, inductors or transponders.