Maintaining safety on a construction job site is a daunting task, especially when you consider how many different sources exist for hazards. One of the most prevalent issues on a construction job site is the real existence of an electrocution hazard around every corner. When it comes to electrical hazards, every person on a construction job site needs to be aware of the dangers and know how to avoid them.
Which Electrocution Hazards Are Common On Site?
There is plenty of statistical evidence to back up the notion that being in an electrical trade is dangerous work. From 2008 to 2010, electrocutions accounted for nearly 10 percent of all construction deaths, which translates to 252 lives lost. But when you consider that only 69 of those killed by electrocution on job sites were actual electrical workers, you can start to appreciate how dangerous electrocution on a construction job site really is.
Four Common Electrical Problems On Site
1. Temporary Electrical Services
Construction job sites are dynamic places, and many companies use temporary electrical services at certain parts of the project to keep down the costs of supplying electricity to an area that may not need it. A temporary service is designed for a limited load and if that load is exceeded, then the service becomes an electrocution and fire hazard.
Electrical workers need to help out with construction safety by clearly marking temporary electrical services and indicating the maximum loads those services can handle. Site supervisors also need to be aware of the presence of temporary services and how much those services can safely handle.
2. Live Power Lines
Improperly secured live power lines can come into contact with anything metal and create an electrocution hazard for all workers involved. A line that is not secured could come into contact with the metal cab of a crane and cause significant damage, while also creating a dangerous situation for all workers on the site.
Electrical workers need to secure all live lines and post warning signs to keep other workers away from areas where live lines are being installed. Construction safety thrives on good communication, and warning signs can help to keep all workers away from dangerous electrical lines.
3. Improperly Maintained Or Utilized Power Tools
According to OSHA, one of the more overlooked causes of electrical hazards on construction job sites is the improper use of power tools. Construction power tools need a clean flow of electricity to operate, and many of those tools draw a considerable amount of energy. Frayed wires or damaged plugs can create an opening to the electrical current that could seriously injure a worker.
In some instances, construction safety is compromised when workers use power tools in conditions that the power tools were not designed for. Not every commercial grade power tool is water resistant, and taking the durability of a power tool for granted can create a serious electrical hazard.
4. Inattention To Overhead Power Lines
A significant source of electrocution hazards on construction job sites is crane operators and other workers not watching for overhead power lines. A metal crane arm coming into contact with a live overhead power line can create a hazard that would affect more than just the operator. All workers on a construction site need to be aware of overhead power lines and avoid them at all costs. No worker should ever assume that an overhead power line is dormant, and electrical workers should be vigilant when they notice potentially dangerous activity going on near overhead lines.
Falls from heights remain the most common causes of accidents on construction job sites, but electrical hazards are not that far behind. When workers on a job site take construction safety for granted, they can become sloppy and find themselves in a situation where they could be seriously injured due to electrocution.
Electrocution hazards in construction are not confined to just electrical workers. If proper construction safety rules are not followed, then any worker on a construction job site is capable of being seriously injured from an improperly secured electrical line. It is up to every worker on a job site to take electrocution hazards seriously and do their part to prevent property damage and injuries.