Electrical safety and reliability play an essential role in today’s technological environment. With evolving technologies, asset management & risk mitigation for electrical and electronic systems in various environments is becoming more complex. These complex systems are susceptible to electromagnetic interference and prone to electrical faults resulting in accidents, service disruptions, and escalated costs in operations and maintenance.
Safe & reliable electrical systems can be achieved with proper design and application of equipment, correct installation, appropriate maintenance for the life of the equipment, and good operating practices.
Electricity gives us the power to operate equipment, but it can be dangerous if uncontrolled. When working closely with electricity and electrical parts, numerous safety concerns should be considered. The most common electrical hazards are shock, burns, and fire.
Electrical Safety Protective Methods
Grounding is the safety valve of any electrical network that provides a low resistance path for the current flow to the earth. It diverts the high voltages in the event of a fault to protect humans and equipment from electrical hazards. Hence, Effective Earthing (Grounding) and Bonding systems are essential for attaining safe and reliable electrical operations. While working with equipment, grounding furnishes a second path for the current that, in turn, safeguards the equipment operator.
Circuit Protection Devices
These devices protect the personnel and equipment in the event of any electrical fault by limiting or stopping the flow of current through the wiring system. These protection devices include circuit breakers, fuses, ground fault circuit interrupters, arc quenching devices, etc. These devices automatically shut off or de-energize the circuit when any fault occurs in the system.
Use of Protective Equipment
Employees working in areas with potential electrical hazards must use protective equipment appropriate for the parts of the body to be protected. Protective equipment must be maintained in a safe, reliable condition and be periodically inspected or tested. For example, nonconductive head protection must be worn wherever there is a danger of head injury from electrical shock or burns due to contact with exposed energized parts. Protective equipment for the eyes must be worn where there is a danger of eye and/or face injury from electric arcs and flashes or flying objects resulting from electrical systems.
Alerting techniques must be used to warn and protect employees from electrical shock hazards, burns, or failure of electric equipment parts. Safety signs, symbols, and accident prevention tags must be used wherever necessary to warn employees about electrical hazards that may endanger them. Barricades should be used with safety signs to prevent or limit employee access to work areas. Personnel should be stationed to warn and protect employees where signs and barricades do not provide sufficient warning and protection