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May is National Electrical Safety Month, but electrical safety in the workplace deserves daily attention.
Electrocutions occurring between 1982 and 1994 were studied by the National Institute of Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH) in 1998. The NIOSH researchers, Kisner & Casini, analyzed 224 electrocutions which resulted in 244 workplace fatalities. These fatalities accounted for approximately 7% of all workplace deaths. The information they learned provides valuable lessons for everyone that works with or around electricity.
Utility line workers (linemen) typically receive extensive training in electrical safety, yet they had the highest number of fatal injuries. 55% of linemen fatalities were caused by failure to use required Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as gloves, sleeves, mats, or blankets. Laborers, who generally receive little or no electrical training had the next highest fatality rate.
NIOSH identified five case scenarios describing the 244 fatalities: 1) Direct worker contact with an energized power line (28%); 2) Direct worker contact with energized equipment (21%); 3) Boomed vehicle contact with an energized power line (18%); 4) Improperly installed or damaged equipment (17%); and 5) Conductive equipment contact with an energized power line (16%).
Here is a partial checklist of basic safe electrical practices to help prevent occupational electrocution. Customize this checklist with your company's own safety procedures.
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