Electrical Safety: Safety & Health for Electrical Trades (Student Manual)

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Summary Statement

Student manual on electrical safety with information on recognizing, evaluating and avoiding hazards related to electricity.
January 2002

Overview of the Safety Model

What Must Be Done to Be Safe?

Use the three-stage safety model: recognize, evaluate, and control hazards. To be safe, you must think about your job and plan for hazards. To avoid injury or death, you must understand and recognize hazards. You need to evaluate the situation you are in and assess your risks. You need to control hazards by creating a safe work environment, by using safe work practices, and by reporting hazards to a supervisor or teacher.

If you do not recognize, evaluate, and control hazards, you may be injured or killed by the electricity itself, electrical fires, or falls. If you use the safety model to recognize, evaluate, and control hazards, you are much safer.

Report hazards to your supervisor or teacher.

(1) Recognize hazards

The first part of the safety model is recognizing the hazards around you. Only then can you avoid or control the hazards. It is best to discuss and plan hazard recognition tasks with your co-workers. Sometimes we take risks ourselves, but when we are responsible for others, we are more careful. Sometimes others see hazards that we overlook. Of course, it is possible to be talked out of our concerns by someone who is reckless or dangerous. Don’t take a chance.
Careful planning of safety procedures reduces the risk of injury. Decisions to lock out and tag out circuits and equipment need to be made during this part of the safety model. Plans for action must be made now.

  • Use the safety model to recognize, evaluate, and control hazards.
  • Identify electrical hazards.
  • Don't listen to reckless, dangerous people.

  • OSHA regulations, the NEC, and the National Electrical Safety Code (NESC) provide a wide range of safety information. Although these sources may be difficult to read and understand at first, with practice they can become very useful tools to help you recognize unsafe conditions and practices. Knowledge of OSHA standards is an important part of training for electrical apprentices. See the Appendix for a list of relevant standards.

    Always lock out and tag out circuits.

    (2) Evaluate hazards

    When evaluating hazards, it is best to identify all possible hazards first, then evaluate the risk of injury from each hazard. Do not assume the risk is low until you evaluate the hazard. It is dangerous to overlook hazards. Job sites are especially dangerous because they are always changing. Many people are working at different tasks. Job sites are frequently exposed to bad weather. A reasonable place to work on a bright, sunny day might be very hazardous in the rain. The risks in your work environment need to be evaluated all the time. Then, whatever hazards are present need to be controlled.

    (3) Control hazards

    Once electrical hazards have been recognized and evaluated, they must be controlled. You control electrical hazards in two main ways: (1) create a safe work environment and (2) use safe work practices. Controlling electrical hazards (as well as other hazards) reduces the risk of injury or death.

  • Evaluate your risk
  • Take steps to control hazards: Create a safe workplace. Work safely

  • Use the safety model to recognize, evaluate, and control workplace hazards like those in this picture.

    Summary of Section 4

    The three stages of the safety model are •••

    Stage 1—Recognize hazards

    Stage 2—Evaluate hazards

    Stage 3—Control hazards