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How to prevent electrical injuries at work and at home

At CH2M, we’re committed to safety; in fact, working safely is embedded into everything we do.

For 10 months we’re focusing on a different hazard – the Top 10 safety hazards that reflect the most common risks and hazards we face every day in our jobs at CH2M, and we’re sharing the actions we can take to stay safe. This month we’re discussing incidents or injuries involving control of energy.

Energy can come from many sources: electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic, chemical and thermal. With so many energy sources, it’s important to practice lockout/tagout procedures to prevent serious and even fatal injuries from occurring.

Locking and tagging out equipment means more than just turning off the energy source. It means making sure the dangerous flow of energy is isolated from reaching a worker while the equipment is being adjusted or repaired. This is accomplished by placing a lock and tag on the equipment’s energy isolation point and then verifying any residual energy is released by trying to reactivate it. By isolating the energy at its source, locking it out from being reenergized, and placing a tag on it so workers know who is working on it unauthorized use is prevented and assures the safety of those who are repairing or adjusting the equipment.

Now that we know that working with energy comes with serious and significant hazard, here are 10 ways you can prevent electrical injuries at home.

  1. Replace or repair damaged or loose electrical cords.
  2. Avoid running extension cords across doorways or under carpets.
  3. Consider having a qualified electrician install additional circuits or outlets so you don’t have to use extension cords.
  4. In homes with small children, make sure your home has tamper-resistant outlets.
  5. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for plugging an appliance into an outlet.
  6. Avoid overloading outlets. Plug only one high-wattage appliance into each outlet at a time.
  7. Call a qualified electrician if outlets or switches feel warm or you’re experiencing frequent problems with blowing fuses, tripping circuits or flickering or dimming lights.
  8. Place lamps on level surfaces, away from items that can burn easily, and use bulbs that match the lamp’s recommended wattage.
  9. Make sure your home has ground-fault circuit interrupters in the kitchen, bathroom(s), laundry, basement and outside.
  10. Arc-fault circuit interrupters should be installed in your home to protect electrical outlets.

As CH2M focuses our attention on control of energy this month, we invite you to join us. Our goal always is to maintain a safe work environment for our employees, clients and partners. To achieve it, we all need to work together.

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