Office Electrical Safety: Best Practices for Avoiding Electrical Hazards

National Electrical Safety Month is observed each year in May in an effort to raise awareness about how to stay safe around electronics and reduce electronic-related accidents. Electronic hazards are likely not at the forefront of your mind when considering your safety. However, it is crucial to always be aware of your surroundings when working in an environment with electronic devices.

At Doherty Staffing Solutions, we take our workforce employees’ well-being seriously and want to prioritize workplace safety practices both in and out of the work environment. Our company encourages all staffing employees and workforce members to practice caution around electronics, and we want to raise awareness about the seriousness of this issue. This article covers the dangers of electronic hazards, common electrical hazards at work, and tips and best practices for preventing electronic accidents.

The Danger of Electronic Hazards

Electronics can be dangerous if you are not careful and causes hundreds of accidents per year. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, on average, there are over 400 electrocutions each year, with 180 of these related to consumer products. The potential damage caused by electronics is not only limited to electrocutions. Other physical consequences may include burns, shock, injuries from explosions, or even something as simple as tripping over a cord. In addition to the consequences to your health, electrical fires cause billions of dollars in property damage each year. In fact, according to the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, economic losses due to electrical fires results in over three billion dollars in property damage annually. Because of these risks, it is critical to understand where hazards may be encountered, particularly in the workplace, as they are more likely to be fatal.

Within the workplace, electrical hazards cause approximately one fatality a day. When it comes to workplace accidents specifically, these are usually caused by faulty equipment, unsafe installation, or the misuse of electronic equipment. Some of the most commonly encountered workplace hazards can be found in the list below.

Common electrical hazards found in work environments:

  • Contact with power lines
  • Damaged tools/equipment
  • Inadequate wiring and overloaded circuits
  • Exposed electrical parts
  • Improper use of extension and flexible cords
  • Improper grounding
  • Wet conditions
  • Damaged insulation

Recognizing these hazards can help you to keep yourself and others safe in the workplace. If you notice any of these hazards, they should be reported and resolved as quickly as possible to prevent any accidents from occurring.

Prevention is Key

Prevention is vital when it comes to electrical hazards. The following tips share helpful practices to protect against incidents from occurring.

Tips to protect against electrical incidents at the office: 

  • Prevent electrical equipment from contacting wet areas
  • Use caution when unplugging cords
  • Ensure proper installation and organization of electrical cords
  • Understand your switchboard
  • Keep an eye out for electrical lines
  • Install warning signs in cases of high-voltage areas
  • Don’t DIY electrical issues
  • Call for help in cases of emergency

General warning signs of electrical malfunction include frayed or exposed cords, outlets that are not working correctly, a burning odor, overheated electronics, overloaded power strips, or flickering lights/screens. Generally, any electronic equipment you use at work or home that is malfunctioning or worn should be replaced promptly.

Taking Action

Each year, the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness around electrical safety at work and at home, launches a new electrical safety campaign. This year, they are focusing on the emergence of electrical transportation technology with their campaign “Electrification: E-Mobility.” With this technology, there is a higher demand for energy and electricity, so being knowledgeable about the best safety practices in this area has become very relevant. To learn more about topics such as lithium-ion battery safety, there are resources available on their website.

Companies can help to take action by educating employees about workplace safety and using their brand platforms to raise awareness, effectively impacting other local businesses and their surrounding communities.­­ Doherty Staffing Solutions wants to ensure the best safety standards for our staffing employees and workforce members,  so we take electrical safety very seriously. We have a great Safety Team on staff and encourage businesses and individuals alike to employ best practices for electrical safety.