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

Ordering Information

To receive documents or other information about occupational safety and
health topics, contact the National Institute for Occupational Safety and
Health (NIOSH) at
NIOSH—Publications Dissemination
4676 Columbia Parkway
Cincinnati, OH 45226–1998

Telephone: 1–800–35–NIOSH (1–800–356–4674)
Fax number: 513–533–8573
E-mail: pubstaft@cdc.gov

or visit the NIOSH Web site at www.cdc.gov/niosh

This document is in the public domain and may
be freely copied or reprinted.

Disclaimer: Mention of any company or product
does not constitute endorsement by NIOSH.

DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2002-123


This document was prepared by Thaddeus W. Fowler, Ed.D., and Karen K.
Miles, Ph.D., Education and Information Division (EID) of the National
Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Editorial services were
provided by John W. Diether. Pauline Elliott provided layout and design.

The authors wish to thank John Palassis and Diana Flaherty (NIOSH), Robert
Nester (formerly of NIOSH), and participating teachers and students for their
contributions to the development of this document.


The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) estimates that 200,000 young workers under the age of 18 suffer work-related injuries in the United States each year. Young and new workers have a high risk for work-related injury compared with more experienced workers. Occupational safety and health training remains a fundamental element of hazard control in the work-place, and there is great potential to reduce these incidents through pre-employment training. Effective pre-employment training should include realistic environments and hands-on exercises. However, NIOSH recommends that actual employment in the electrical trades or any of the other construction trades be delayed until individuals reach the minimum age of 18.

This student manual is part of a safety and health curriculum for secondary and post-secondary electrical trades courses. The manual is designed to engage the learner in recognizing, evaluating, and controlling hazards associated with electrical work. It was developed through extensive research with vocational instructors, and we are grateful for their valuable contributions.

Kathleen M. Rest, Ph.D., M.P.A.
Acting Director
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

Table of Contents

Section 1
Electricity is Dangerous
How Is an Electrical Shock Received?
Summary of Section 1
Section 2
Dangers of Electrical Shock
Summary of Section 2
Section 3
Burns Caused by Electricity
Electrical Fires
Summary of Section 3
First Aid Fact Sheet
Section 4
Overview of the Safety Model
What Must Be Done to Be Safe?
Summary of Section 4
Section 5
Safety Model State 1- Recognizing Hazards
How Do You Recognize Hazards?
Inadequate wiring hazards
Exposed electrical parts hazards
Overhead powerline hazards
Defective insulation hazards
Improper groundling hazards
Overload hazards
Wet conditions hazards
Additional hazards
Summary of Section 5
Section 6
Safety Model Stage 2- Evaluating Hazards
How Do You Evauate Your Risk?
Summary of Section 6
Section 7
Safety Model Stage 3- Controlling Hazards: Safe Work Environment
How Do You Control Hazards?
How Do You Create a Safe Work Environment?
Lock out and tag out circuits and equipment
Lock-out/tag-out checklist
Control inadequate wiring hazards
Control hazards of fixed wiring
Control hazards of flexible wiring
Use flexible wiring properly
Use the right extension cord
Control hazards of exposed live electrical parts: isolate energized components
Control hazards of exposure to live electrical wires: use proper insulation
Control hazards of shocking currents
Ground circuits and equipment
Use GFCI's
Bond components to assure grounding path
Control overload current hazards
Summary of Section 7
Section 8
Safety Model State 3- Controlling Hazards: Safe Work Practices
How Do You Work Safely?
Plan your work and plan for safety
Ladder safety fact sheet
Avoid wet working conditions and other dangers
Avoid overhead powerlines
Use proper wiring and connectors
Use and maintain tools properly
Wear correct PPE
PPE fact sheet
Summary of Section 8
Glossary of Terms