Last century, Men Without Hats had a hit song called “Safety Dance.” One line is “And I can act like an imbecile.” Sure, you can act like an imbecile when you dance. But if you do that when you’re working with electricity, you could lose more than your hat.
Here are a few safety rules the pros follow (which is why it’s a good idea to hire them). If you feel confident enough to tackle a project that involves electricity, it would probably be a good idea if you follow them too. You know, for safety and all that “not dying” stuff. Not dying is good.
Don’t touch energized electrical circuits.
Okay, that’s pretty obvious. It’s kind of like telling a rock climber to “not fall.” But, the thing is, touching live wires could kill you. So why not, you know, remind you. On that same note…
Assume all electrical devices are live.
And to make sure they’re not, always, always, always disconnect the power source before servicing or repairing electrical equipment. That means unplugging the appliance, removing the fuse, or flipping the switch at the electric panel.
Use safety gear and safe equipment.
The handles of your tools and equipment should not conduct electricity. Actually, you want to avoid anything that conducts electricity when working with electrical equipment. Don’t use metallic pencils or rulers and don’t wear rings or metal watchbands.
When it’s necessary to handle equipment that’s plugged in, be sure your hands are dry. Wear nonconductive gloves, protective clothes, and shoes with insulated soles. When you’re working with electrical equipment, never wear loose clothing or ties.
Use safe work practices
Whenever you can, work with only one hand and keep your other hand away from anything that could conduct electricity. If both hands are near the electricity, you increase the chance of forming a “loop” and that could allow current to pass through your chest.
Avoid putting electrical equipment where condensation is likely, like in cold rooms. If you have to have equipment in rooms like that, mount it vertically so condensation doesn’t accumulate. If liquid spills onto your equipment, don’t clean it up until AFTER you shut off the power or unplug the equipment. Don’t handle electrical equipment if you’re wet or perspiring or standing on a wet floor.
If you feel a tingle when you touch any equipment, disconnect it and fix it. Make sure all electric contacts and conductors are properly covered so no one can accidentally touch them. If you have to touch electrical equipment, use the back of your hand. If you get shocked, your muscles will contract, but at least you won’t be holding the equipment.
Don’t store flammable liquids near electrical equipment.
Another obvious one. In fact, you should pay extra attention to all kinds of fire hazards. Which brings us to our next tip:
Wear Flame Resistant clothing for an added layer of safety
Flame Resistant (FR) clothing is a great way to protect yourself from sparks and other electrical fire hazards. You probably won’t necessarily purchase or use this clothing unless you’re doing some serious work. If you do wind up buying FR clothing, however. You should use it right. Avoid making the following mistakes with your FR clothing:
- If you’re wearing FR clothing but cover it with a coat that’s not FR, you’re not really protected. If you work in the cold a lot, go ahead and invest in FR outerwear.
- Don’t wear polyester or synthetic t-shirts under FR clothing. Sure, they help with moisture but they’re not flame resistant. If a fire happens, they can actually melt to your skin.
- Don’t roll up your sleeves. Covering yourself with FR clothing but leaving your arms exposed doesn’t make much sense.
- Same with unbuttoning your shirt. Exposing your skin defeats the purpose of wearing FR clothing.
- Finally, tuck in the tail of your shirt. If it’s not properly tucked in, heat and flames can travel under the bottom of it and cause greater injury. They have FR clothing with long shirttails to prevent this from happening.
So: these are some safety tips the pros use to avoid fires, shocks and death. You don’t have to be a pro to work safely, however. Follow these (literal) pro tips to avoid problems whenever you’re working with electrical equipment. If you don’t think you can, hire the pros at Early Bird. We’ve been trained to prioritize your S (s-s-s) A (a-a-a) F (f-f-f) E (e-e-e) T (t-t-t) Y (y-y-y).