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Staying safe around electricity

Working with or around electricity can be dangerous if safety procedures and protocols are not in place.


Per OSHA standards, make sure you lock out and tag out any equipment on which you are performing any preventive maintenance or plan to service. Lockout is the process of removing the source of electrical power and installing a lock, which prevents the power from being turned ON. A tagout is when you place a danger tag on the source of electrical power, which indicates that the equipment cannot be operated until the danger tag is removed.

Clothing and Personal Protective Equipment

Clothing should fit snugly and conform to the following specifications:

  1. Thick-soled work shoes, which protect against sharp objects such as nails. Make sure the soles are oil resistant if the shoes will be subject to oils and grease.

  2. Rubber boots for damp locations.

  3. A hat, cap, or approved safety helmet (hard hat).

Fire Safety

Keep rags containing oil, gasoline, alcohol, shellac, paint, varnish, or lacquer in covered metal containers. Keep debris in a designated area away from the building. Sound an alarm if a fire occurs and alert all workers on the job and then call the fire department. Be ready to direct firefighters to the fire. Inform them of any special problems or conditions that exist, such as downed electrical wires or leaks in gas lines.

Fire Extinguishers

Always read the instructions before using a fire extinguisher. You want to also make sure you use the correct fire extinguisher for the class of fire.

Additional Considerations

For any electrician employed at a plant or similar kind of work environment, the following protocols should be followed:


All personnel should be familiar with all extinguisher types and sizes available in a plant or work area. Personnel should periodically practice a dry run and discharge each type of extinguisher.

Extinguisher Maintenance Tips

Inspect extinguishers at least once a month and/or consider contracting for such a service. Do not try to make repairs to extinguishers.

Hazardous Locations

Any hazardous location requires the maximum in safety and adherence to local, state, and federal guidelines and laws, as well as in-plant safety rules. Hazardous locations are indicated by Class, Division, and Group and are covered in Article 500 of The Electrical Code National Code.

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