10 ways to hurt yourself on electrical systems


Perhaps you've been an electrician for a while. Or maybe you're just starting out. No matter how much experience you have, it's always good to spend a few minutes thinking about how to end the day in the same shape as you started it—without any injuries.

The 10 pieces of advice we present here have been updated slightly so the references are to the newest version of NFPA 70E.

Here's a quick list of the 10 ways:

  1. Thinking that it's "only 120 volts" or 208 volts or 480 volts or…
  2. Working on energized systems or equipment when it can be de-energized
  3. Not wearing PPE
  4. Going to sleep during safety training
  5. Using outdated or defective test equipment to troubleshoot
  6. Not wearing the right PPE
  7. Trusting someone else for your safety
  8. Not performing required maintenance of power system equipment
  9. Not carrying your gloves with you
  10. Not working an Energized Electrical Work Permit system

There's always something else that could be included in this list, but 10 gets you thinking. We go through life making small mistake after small mistake and nothing happens, until we happen to get the wrong alignment of small mistakes and we now have an accident. Once the accident starts, we have no control over it, so the best thing to do is to avoid the small mistakes and tighten up the way we work.

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