Electrical hazards impact workplaces in nearly every industry. May is Electrical Safety Month, making it a good time to review these common workplace hazards. For example, while wall outlets are common in every workplace, even the small amount of electricity they contain has enough power to cause equipment damage and severe electrocutions. You also need to consider how overhead power lines, handheld equipment, and wet conditions can expose you to electrical hazards.

Any contact with exposed circuitry or energized appliances can interfere with the normal electrical signals in your body and lead to shocks and burns. And, if a shock occurs while you’re on an elevated surface, muscle contractions or a startled reaction can lead to a dangerous fall.

Keep these simple tips in mind to stay safe around electricity in the workplace:

  • Check electrical cords for damage before you plug them in. Even slightly damaged cords can cause electrocutions and fires.
  • Check the wattage of appliances before plugging them into outlets to avoid overloads.
  • Disconnect appliances from outlets by pulling on the plastic plug and not the cord.
  • Don’t use outlets that feel warm, as it could be a sign of faulty wiring. Instead, have the outlet checked by a certified electrician.
  • Never use extension cords as permanent wiring.
  • Place appliances that generate light or heat away from any flammable materials.
  • Only use equipment that’s been tested by a nationally recognized testing laboratory program.

This information is a great topic for your next safety or general staff meeting. Reminding employees about the everyday hazards in the workplace helps them behave more safely.