Electrical equipment in the office: do’s and don’ts

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.

New outlet up close screwdriver.The typical office features a collection of wires, outlets, cables and other electrical equipment. Although ever-present and used on a daily basis, electrical equipment requires constant awareness of its associated hazards, as well as training on appropriate use, storage and maintenance, the Indiana Department of Labor reminds employers and workers in its Indiana Labor Insider newsletter.

“Improper use of electrical equipment can create overheated equipment, which can lead to fires, shock and electrocution,” warns IDOL, which provides some do’s and don’ts regarding certain electrical equipment.

Extension cords
DON’T use an extension cord as a permanent source of energy and never connect multiple extension cords, also known as “daisy chaining.”
DON’T run flexible extension cords under carpet or through doorways or walls. They’re not a substitute for permanent wiring and shouldn’t be attached to walls/floors with staples or clips.
DO make sure flexible extension cords have the current capacity for the load current – “12-gauge wire cords are recommended.”
DO protect all cords with special covers when subject to foot traffic. “Bright colors and high-visibility elements are helpful.”
DO make sure extension cords have appropriate insulation and/or covers to protect against damage, which could lead to an increased risk of fire and shock injuries.

Power strips
DON’T use power strips as a permanent power source and refrain from daisy chaining them.
DON’T use a power strip that doesn’t have overcurrent protection. Those that have electrical spike protection for digital equipment may be used as a permanent power source – but not daisy chained to an extension cord.
DO use wall outlets for equipment that is left on permanently, leaving the use of power strips for short-term projects only.

Flexible electrical cords
DON’T run flexible electrical cords under carpet or other combustible covers. “This is a serious fire hazard from the potential of overheated cords. Additionally, these cords could be damaged by heavy or sharp objects resting on them, moving across them, or dropped on them.”

 use receptacles equipped with ground fault circuit interrupters in restrooms and roof outlets – they’re required within 6 feet of a sink or wet process on a worksite. “This protects the worker from the risk of shock and electrocution.”

McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

“Faces of Fire”: New NFPA campaign promotes awareness of electrical safety

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.


Photo: National Fire Protection Association

Quincy, MA – A new safety campaign from the National Fire Protection Association tells the stories of people who were injured in electrical incidents both on the job and at home.

Launched in partnership with the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors, the Faces of Fire/Electrical video series campaign initially featured utility workers Dave Schury and Sam Matagi, who were seriously injured in separate electrical incidents.

Schury sustained second- and third-degree burns over 30% of his body when a 12,000-volt piece of equipment was short-circuited by a rat and caused an explosion. He spent more than two weeks in a hospital burn unit recovering from his injuries. Matagi, a power lineman, lost both of his hands after nearly 15,000 volts of electricity surged through his body when a scrap of cut wire he was holding contacted a live wire.

According to NFPA, 1,651 U.S. workers died as a result of electrical injuries from 2007 to 2016. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that 1,900 nonfatal occupational injuries related to electricity exposure were recorded in 2019.

“Exposure to electricity poses a real injury risk to workers and the public,” Lorraine Carli, vice president of outreach and advocacy at NFPA, said in a press release. “The Faces of Fire/Electrical campaign helps better educate people about the true dangers of electricity and ways to prevent related tragedies from happening.”

McCraren Compliance assists employers in protecting their workers, starting with a comprehensive Work-site Analysis, Hazard Prevention, Controls, and Safety & Health Training.

Please contact us today at 888-758-4757 to learn how we can provide mine safety training and consulting for your business.

Stay safe when using portable generators

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.

Portable generators can be found in many workplaces. Among the risks users face, according to OSHA, are shocks and electrocution from improper use of power or unintentionally energizing other electrical systems, and fires from improperly refueling the generator or not storing fuel correctly.

A major (and potentially deadly) hazard is exposure to carbon monoxide – a colorless, odorless, toxic gas that’s produced from a portable generator’s exhaust. Signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include dizziness, headaches, nausea/vomiting, tiredness, confusion and loss of consciousness. If a worker is showing any of these symptoms, get him or her to fresh air and seek medical attention.

“Do not reenter the area until it is determined to be safe by trained and properly equipped personnel,” OSHA cautions.

Help workers avoid carbon monoxide poisoning while working with portable generators by following these tips:

  • Inspect generators for loose or damaged fuel lines.
  • Keep generators dry.
  • Maintain and operate generators according to manufacturers’ instructions.
  • Don’t use portable generators indoors or in an enclosed space such as a basement or garage.
  • Don’t place generators near doors, windows or ventilation shafts where carbon monoxide can enter and build up.
  • Make sure generators have 3 to 4 feet of clearance on all sides and above to ensure adequate ventilation.

McCraren Compliance assists employers in protecting their workers, starting with a comprehensive Work-site Analysis, Hazard Prevention, Controls, and Safety & Health Training.

Please contact us today at 888-758-4757 to learn how we can provide mine safety training and consulting for your business.

Electrical safety group creates infographic for people working from home


Photo: Electrical Safety Foundation International

Arlington, VA — Aiming to promote electrical safety among people who are working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Electrical Safety Foundation International has published an infographic.

According to ESFI, more than 35,000 residential fires occur annually, resulting in more than 1,100 injuries, 500 deaths and $1.4 billion in property damage.

“Transitioning from working in an office to now working from home may present new electrical safety concerns in your home that have not existed before,” ESFI President Brett Brenner said in a press release.

The foundation’s recommendations include:

  • Don’t overload outlets.
  • Unplug appliances that are not in use to save energy and mitigate the risk of shock and fire.
  • Regularly inspect electrical and extension cords for damage. Use extension cords only on a temporary basis.
  • Never run cords under rugs, carpets, doors or windows. Make sure cords don’t become tripping hazards.
  • Keep papers and other possibly combustible items at least 3 feet away from space heaters and heat sources. Don’t plug space heaters or fans into an extension cord or power strip.
  • Use proper wattage for lamps and lighting.
  • Test your home’s smoke alarms monthly, change their batteries annually and replace units every 10 years.