What is Electricity?

DEFINITION-A form of energy resulting from the existence of charged particles (such as electrons or protons), either statically as an accumulation of charge or dynamically as a current

Basically, there are two kinds of electricity - static (stationary) and dynamic (moving). 

Dynamic Electricity (the main form) is characterized by the flow of electrons through a conductor.

A conductor is a material that contains many free electrons and is capable of carrying an electric current. Metals such as Gold, silver, aluminum and copper and are all good conductors and generally water can also be a conductor.

Fair conductors include the human body, earth, and concrete.

In the workplace skilled employees, trained in electrical safety procedures, should make sure they understand and follow ALL safety precautions. 

Those not trained to recognize and avoid electrical safety procedures, should avoid contact with ALL electrical equipment & systems.

ELECTRICAL HAZARDS TO ALWAYS BE AWARE OF

  • SHOCK. Electric shock occurs when the human body becomes part of the path through which current flows.
  • The direct result can be electrocution.
  • The indirect result can be injury resulting from a fall or movement into machinery because of a shock
  • BURNS. Burns can result when a person touches electrical wiring or equipment that is energized.
  • ARC-BLAST. Arc-blasts occur from high- amperage currents arcing through the air. This can be caused by accidental contact with energized components or equipment failure. (Such as a dropped tool)
  • EXPLOSIONS. Explosions occur when electricity provides a source of ignition for an explosive mixture in the atmosphere.
  • FIRES. Electricity is one of the most common causes of fires both in the home and in the workplace. 
  • Defective or misused electrical equipment is a major cause.

EFFECTS OF ELECTRICITY ON THE HUMAN BODY

Electricity can create conditions almost certain to result in bodily harm, property damage, or both. It is important for workers to understand the hazards involved when they are working around electrical power tools, maintaining electrical equipment, or installing equipment for electrical operation.
 
The effects of electric shock on the human body depend on several factors. 
The major factors are: Current and Voltage, Resistance, Path through body, and Duration of shock.
 
  • Current flow greater than the "let-go" threshold of an individual may cause a person to collapse, become unconscious and can result in death. The current flow would most often have to continue for longer than five seconds
  • Current flow through the chest, neck, head or major nerve centers controlling respiration may result in a failure of the respiratory system.
  • The most dangerous condition can occur when fairly small amounts of current flow through the heart area.

Protective Devices

  • Fuses
  • Circuit Breakers
  • Ground-Fault 
  • Circuit-interrupters
  • Wiring Checks
  • Testers

Employer Obligation:

  1. Electrical equipment shall be free from recognized hazards that are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to employees
  2. Sufficient access and working space around all electrical equipment, provided & maintained to provide ready and safe operation and maintenance
  3. Live parts of electric equipment operating at 50 volts or more should be guarded from accidental contact by approved cabinets.

Entrances to rooms and other guarded locations containing exposed live parts shall be marked with conspicuous warning signs forbidding unqualified persons to enter.