General Electrical Safety Guidelines

It takes very little electric current to kill, less than one-tenth of an ampere. With good contact, 115 volts is sufficient voltage to cause death. There have been fatal electric shocks where voltage as low as 60 to 70 volts was involved. To avoid such hazards, follow these best practices:

  • No electrical work should be performed "hot" (energized) when it can be done "cold" (de-energized).
  • Switches, fuses, circuit breakers, and other control devices in areas where explosives or other flammable liquids or gases exist shall be the type specifically designed for use in these areas.
  • All electrical equipment should be periodically inspected by qualified personnel.
  • All electrical tools and equipment should be properly grounded or be of the double-insulated type.
  • Spliced or damaged electrical cords shall not be used until properly repaired. Electrical cords on power tools and extension cords shall have heavy-duty rubber insulation.
  • Never use electrical equipment when standing in or near water. In places such as bathrooms, kitchens, laundries, and out-of-doors, where a person having wet hands or standing on a wet surface is likely to touch objects that may be energized, a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFI) shall be installed in the circuit to prevent electrical shock. Portable ground-fault circuit interrupters are available in the Physical Plant Tool Room for use in wet environments.
  • All electrical enclosures such as switches, receptacles, junction boxes, must be provided with tight fitting covers or plates.
  • All employees who regularly work on or around energized electrical equipment or lines should be regularly trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
  • The wearing of rings or other jewelry is not recommended if working around electrical equipment.
  • All disconnecting switches and circuit breakers should be labeled to indicate their use or equipment served.
  • All unused openings (including conduit knockouts) in electrical enclosures and fittings should be closed with appropriate covers, plugs or plates.
  • Employees are prohibited from working alone on energized lines or equipment over 600 volts.
  • All exposed electrical wires should be considered "hot" or "live" (energized) until checked by the electrical department.
  • Electrical repairs or electrical installations shall be made only by the electrical department.
  • Standing on metal ladders near high voltage electrical power can result in death or serious injury.