Safe Use of Extension Cords

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Extension cords can be found in many types of workplaces, from offices and warehouses to retail stores and construction jobsites.

Unfortunately, they’re often commonly misused. Let’s go over some do’s and don’ts of extension cord safety from the Texas Department of Insurance Division of Workers’ Compensation.

Do:

  • Inspect an extension cord for physical damage before use.
  • Check that the cord matches the wattage rating on the appliance or tool you’re using.
  • Make sure all cords have been approved by an independent testing laboratory such as UL.
  • Fully insert the extension cord into the outlet.
  • Keep cords away from water.
  • Use ground-fault circuit interrupter protection when using extension cords in wet or damp environments.
  • Unplug extension cords when not in use.
  • Consider installing overhead pendants to reduce trip hazards.

Don’t:

  • Use an indoor extension cord outdoors.
  • Overload cords with more than the proper electrical load.
  • Run extension cords through doorways, holes in ceilings, walls or floors.
  • Daisy chain, or connect, multiple power strips together.
  • Move, bend or modify any of the extension cord plug’s metal parts.
  • Force a plug into an outlet.
  • Drive over an extension cord.
  • Attach extension cords to the wall with nails or staples.

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.

Control Hazardous Energy: 6 Steps

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Photo: OSHA

A mainstay on OSHA’s Top 10 list of most cited violations is the standard on lockout/tagout (1910.147).

Simply put, “lockout/tagout is a safety procedure used to make sure equipment and machines are properly shut off and not able to start during maintenance or repair work,” the Texas Department of Insurance says. “This is known as controlling hazardous energy.”

Help prevent the unexpected release of stored energy with these six steps from TDI:

  1. Prepare. An authorized employee, defined by OSHA as “a person who locks out or tags out machines or equipment in order to perform servicing or maintenance on that machine or equipment,” must identify and control all potential forms of hazardous energy.
  2. Shut down. Turn off the equipment using the proper procedures. Inform all employees who use the equipment about the shutdown.
  3. Isolation. Isolate equipment from energy sources. This may mean turning off power at a breaker.
  4. Lock and tag. Apply a lockout device to keep equipment in an energy-isolating position. Then, place a tag on the device with the authorized employee’s name who performed the lockout.
  5. Check for stored energy. Hazardous energy can remain in the equipment even after the energy source has been disconnected and the machine has been locked out.
  6. Verify isolation. Check again to ensure the equipment is isolated and deenergized before service or maintenance begins.

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 hazards in construction: OSHA and others to host webinar

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Electrical hazards in construction: OSHA

Photo property of OSHA

Protecting construction workers from electrical hazards is the topic of a March 22 webinar hosted by OSHA and a trio of organizations.

Scheduled for 2 p.m. Eastern, the 90-minute webinar will be moderated by Kevin Cannon, director of safety and health services at the Associated General Contractors of America. Panelists are:

  • Nicholas DeJesse, OSHA regional administrator
  • Rocky Rowlett, vice president of safety at Faith Technologies
  • Scott Sears, director of safety and loss control at Walker Engineering
  • Jessica Bunting, research to practice director at CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training

“Two experienced electrical contractors will discuss workplace safety risks faced by their employees and how they keep their workers safe,” a Department of Labor press release states. “Related research and evidence-based solutions for addressing safety hazards will be provided by a Center to Protect Workers’ Rights representative.” Electrical hazards in construction: OSHA

Time will be reserved for a Q&A session.


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. Electrical hazards in construction: OSHA

Electrical fatalities and injuries in the workplace

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication
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Photo: Electrical Safety Foundation International

 

Arlington, VA — In 2020, 126 U.S. workers suffered fatal electrical injuries, a 24% decrease from the previous year, but nonfatal electrical injuries involving days away from work increased 17% over that same span, according to a recent data analysis by the Electrical Safety Foundation International.

Examining data from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, ESFI found that 44% of the electrical fatalities involved workers in construction and extraction, while 20% involved those in installation, maintenance and repair. Among the 2,220 nonfatal electrical injuries involving DAFW – reported amid a 10% decrease in hours worked in 2020 – the most impacted occupations were installation, maintenance and repair (31%); service (25%); and construction and extraction (21%).

Other findings:

  • The number of electrical fatalities in the workplace marked the fewest since the data was first compiled in 2003.
  • 40% of the deaths and 13% of the injuries involved Hispanic or Latino workers.
  • 63% of the injuries occurred among workers employed by their organization for at least one year.
  • The rate of work-related electrical fatalities was highest for the mining (0.8 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers) and construction industries (0.6 per 100,000 FTEs). For all industries, that rate was 0.09 per 100,000 FTEs.
  • Overall, 5.3% of all electrical incidents reported were fatal.
  • Contact with or exposure to an electric current accounted for 2.6% of the fatalities.

“By studying how and why workers are getting hurt, ESFI can create new materials to help educate all workers, whether they work regularly with electricity or not, to stay safe on the worksite to prevent these avoidable incidents,” the nonprofit organization says in a press release.

In 2019, ESFI released a series of resources with recommendations intended to help workers in nonelectrical jobs stay safe around electrical hazards.


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.

Ladders and overhead power lines

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication
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From 1992 to 2005, at least 154 workers were killed after a metal ladder they were using came in contact with an overhead power line, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data cited in a recent NIOSH review.

“As part of the site safety program and orientation,” NIOSH says, “make supervisors and workers aware of power line distances from work areas, including ladder length and ladder staging areas. Use site diagrams to communicate this information and ground-level signs or taped markers to remind workers of overhead power line locations.”

To help prevent injuries and fatalities, NIOSH recommends workers:

  • Look up. You need to know the location of overhead power lines before starting any job. “Always assume all overhead lines are energized and dangerous,” the agency says.
  • Don’t use metal ladders when working around or near overhead power lines.
  • Carry a ladder horizontally and in a lowered position when moving it. If a ladder is too long for one person to carry, ask for help.
  • Follow the 1:4 rule: “For every 4 feet between the ground and the upper point where a ladder is resting, set the feet of the ladder out 1 foot horizontally. For example, if the ladder is resting on the edge of a roof 16 feet above the ground, the bottom of the ladder should be 4 feet out from that edge.”
  • Don’t touch or go near a person or ladder that has come in contact with an overhead power line.

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.

Temporary power safety

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Temporary Power Safety is important in many industries - McCraren

Contact with electricity is one of the leading causes of fatalities in construction, according to OSHA.

Temporary power is allowed only for construction; remodeling; maintenance; repair; demolition of buildings, structures or equipment; or similar activities.

To ensure proper safety procedures are met when working with or around temporary power, temporary wiring should be designed and installed by a qualified electrician according to National Fire Protection Association 70E requirements. The qualified electrician can ensure the temporary power has the capacity to supply all connected loads. Other temporary power safety tips from the Electrical Safety Foundation International:

  • Temporary power equipment on a worksite should be protected from vehicle traffic, accessible only to authorized persons and suitable for the environmental conditions that may be present.
  • Establish a time frame of when temporary power will be removed or switched over to permanent power.
  • Inspect cords and wiring for damage or alterations, and remove any that aren’t in good working condition.
  • Make sure equipment, receptacles, and flexible cords and cables are properly grounded.
  • Ground fault circuit interrupter protection is required for all 125-volt, 15-, 20- and 30-ampere receptacle outlets. Listed cord sets or devices incorporating listed GFCI protection for portable use are permitted. Other receptacle outlets should be GFCI protected.
  • Test GFCIs monthly.

Once a project is complete, ESFI says that temporary power must be removed.


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.

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.”

Receptacles
DO
 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.

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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.
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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

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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.