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National Electrical Safety Month

May 31, 2024 | Blog

May is National Electrical Safety Month and ESFI (Electrical Safety Foundation International) provides not only eye-opening statistics, but also helpful tips on preventing electrical injuries. Each year, they focus on a specific topic as well, with 2024 highlighting lithium-ion battery safety for e-mobility devices such as bikes and scooters.


Electrical Safety at Home


A quick review of home safety basics with all household members (yes, especially those teenagers who already know everything) can prevent devastating electrical fires in your home.

  • Inspect cords to all appliances, from refrigerators to handheld blenders and curling irons, prior to each use. Discontinue use of any appliance if a cord is damaged or heats up during use.
  • Ensure all grounded 3-prong plugs have the ground in place. Never remove a ground to use a 2-prong outlet.
  • Always uncoil extension cords prior to use. Never plug one extension cord into another one.
  • Plug portable heating devices directly into a wall outlet; never use an extension cord.
  • Keep electrical cords away from moisture, including outdoor extension cords.
  • If a circuit breaker or GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) is triggered, do not reset without decreasing the electrical load on the circuit by unplugging one or more devices.
  • Never use an outlet that sparks or has visible damage.
  • Always unplug electrical devices as soon as charging is complete to avoid overheating.
  • Only charge devices on hard surfaces such as a counter or desktop, never on bedding, paper, or other highly-flammable surfaces.
  • If you have young children at home, use approved safety devices to block access to outlets.
  • Never trim trees or other vegetation that is close to overhead lines. Contact your local electrical utility for assistance.
  • Call 911 to report any downed lines immediately. Do not walk near downed lines following a storm as wet surfaces can conduct electricity far from the source.
  • Call 811 before you dig to ensure there are no buried lines in your yard that should be avoided.


Electrical Safety in the Workplace


ESFI’s sobering statistics include the fact that over ⅔ of electrical fatalities in the workplace involve workers in non-electrical occupations. The majority of fatalities came from overhead power line contact. Second were incidents where workers were exposed to energized parts.

To prevent contact with overhead lines:

  • Always look up. Use one or more spotters if you’re unable to clearly visualize the area on your own.
  • Carry equipment horizontally to avoid overhead contact.
  • Know the OSHA-recommended clearance distance for various overhead voltages. Some high-voltage lines require a 45’ safe distance buffer.
  • Post appropriate signage at job sites concerning clearance needs and locations of overhead lines.
  • Have daily safety briefings to maintain focus on electrical safety hazards on job sites as they may change based on activities and project progress.
  • Ensure power cords are protected and run safely to each location, following the appropriate federal or state OSHA regulations governing the job site.
  • Use appropriate electrical-safety PPE and equipment such as non-conductive ladders for each task being performed.
  • De-engergize lines and equipment whenever possible during tasks with electrical exposure to safeguard workers from incidental contact.


Safety First


Electricity revolutionized the way our world works, and we have become incredibly dependent on 24/7 access. While electrical safety continues to improve, human error and lack of understanding of risks can have devastating impacts. Frequent reminders and safety checks of electrical equipment, including circuit breakers, cords, plugs, and outlets can prevent injuries and fatalities.


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