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Workplace electrical hazards: signs you need to display

by Rob Haywood
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Electricty in the workplace : the hidden dangers

The Sign Shed keeps employees, contractors and visitors safe from harm across tens of thousands of UK workplaces every year with our range of UK signs. We're often approached by new employers wanting guidance on how to a) detect electrical hazards in the workplace, and b) make sure that everyone is aware of them.

It's a hugely important issue. In 2014-2015, 15% of total reported injuries that were categorised as fatal to the RIDDOR reporting systems involved electricity.

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Types of injuries caused



The main types of accident and injury caused by electricity in the work place are:

• Electric shock
• Burns from contacts with live parts
• An explosion by an electricial device 
• Static electricity igniting flammable vapours or dusts
• Exposure to arcing
• Faulty electrical equipments or installations catching fire.

 

Which laws cover workplace electrical hazards?



There are four main laws you need to comply with. The main law covering electrical hazards at work is the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. That requires you, as an employer, to make sure that everyone is provided with a safe working environment. 

Further laws include the Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 which demands that all employers put in adequate equipment and facilities so that employees get immediate help if they're injured or become ill at work. This is also the law that requires to have a first aider. 

Additionally, there is the Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996, the regulations of which setting out the conditions under which safety signs need to be displayed. 

The latest important act covering electrical hazards is the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations. This requires you to carry out risk assessments on the health and safety of all staff whatever you require them to do and wherever you require them to do it.

Always look out for electrical hazards

Carry out assessments of all potential electrical hazards. Find out who could be injured by them, what the actual risk is of that happening and how you are controlling that risk.

Keep a thorough maintenance log of all your electrical equipment and any hazards that might result from them. If there's something that's not right, like a faulty plug socket, burn marks - suggesting overheating, or the plug wire has been repaired with tape, remove the equipment immediately.

Make sure the person carrying out repairs and installing replacements is competent to do so, whether that's a member of your staff or an outside contractor.

How can I best inform employees, contractors and visitors about workplace electrical hazards?

The Sign Shed's team is here to help by supplying a wide range of signs to prevent injury, including electrical warning signs, which are fully compliant with the law. The warning notices contain the familiar yellow triangular graphic complete with black borders and text. They can also be personalised, if you have more information required for employees and visitors alike. 

 

by Rob Haywood

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