Electrical Hazards On Construction Sites And How To Prevent Them

May 7, 2023
By N. Nicholas, ASP
Electrical Hazards On Construction Sites And Prevention

If you’re managing a construction site and are concerned about electrical safety, you’re in the right place!

In this guide, we’ll talk about the electrical hazards that can pose a risk on construction sites, and most importantly, how to prevent them.

Electrical safety is a very critical part of any construction project, and taking the necessary precautions can save lives and prevent serious injuries.

We’ll cover some real-life examples of electrical hazards and the preventative measures you can take to stay safe.

So, let’s dive in!

Note: You can also checkout this video about OSHA guidelines to prevent these electrical hazards:

Types Of Electrical Hazards On Construction Sites

These hazards come in many forms and can cause severe injuries, disabilities, and even fatalities.

These are the most common types of electrical hazards you might face on a construction site.

Electrical Shock And Electrocution

Exposure to live electrical wires can cause electrical shock, which can lead to injury or death. This hazard is especially common when working with power tools, equipment, or extension cords.

Arc Flashes And Explosions

When electricity jumps from one conductor to another or from a conductor to the ground, it can create an arc flash. These flashes are incredibly hot and can cause severe burns, explosions, and even death.

Electrical Fires

Faulty wiring or overloaded circuits can cause electrical fires, which can spread quickly and cause significant damage. These fires can be challenging to put out and can pose a risk to workers and the surrounding area.

Electromagnetic Fields

Electrical currents can create electromagnetic fields, which can be hazardous when exposed to high levels of radiation over a long period. Workers who operate or work near transformers, generators, or high-voltage power lines are at risk.

Electric Shock Drowning

When electrical current passes through water, it can cause electric shock drowning. This hazard is especially common near swimming pools or marinas that have electrical equipment in or near the water.

Examples of Electrical Hazards On Construction Sites

Let’s look at some real-life examples of electrical hazards that are very common on construction sites.

Damaged Extension Cords

Extension cords are commonly used on construction sites, and they are often subject to wear and tear. Over time, the insulation on extension cords can become damaged or worn away, exposing live wires.

Workers may inadvertently touch these wires or trip over the cords, leading to electric shock or electrocution.

Overloaded Circuits

Construction sites typically have a high demand for electricity, and circuits can quickly become overloaded.

This can cause electrical fires or create a risk of electrocution. Workers should always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using power tools or equipment and avoid using multiple high-powered tools on a single circuit.

Inadequate Grounding

All electrical equipment should be grounded to prevent electrical shocks. However, sometimes this grounding is inadequate or missing altogether.

This can lead to electrical shock or electrocution if a worker comes into contact with the equipment.

Contact with Power Lines

Working near power lines can be extremely dangerous. Workers who are not aware of the location of power lines can accidentally come into contact with them, leading to electrical shock or electrocution.

Workers should always maintain a safe distance from power lines and be aware of their location at all times.

Lack of Personal Protective Equipment

Proper personal protective equipment (PPE) is critical for workers who are exposed to electrical hazards.

PPE includes items such as insulated gloves, safety glasses, and hard hats. Failing to wear appropriate PPE can increase the risk of injury or death in the event of an electrical hazard.

How To Prevent Electrical Hazards

Here are some preventative measures you can take to avoid electrical hazards that could cause serious injuries on construction sites.

Conduct Regular Inspections

Regular inspections of electrical equipment, wiring, and power tools can help identify potential hazards before they become a problem.

Make sure to check for damaged cords or wiring, overloaded circuits, and inadequate grounding.

Follow Manufacturer’s Instructions

Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using electrical equipment or power tools. Avoid modifying or altering equipment in any way that could compromise its safety.

Consistent Proper Training

All workers should be properly trained in electrical safety procedures and the proper use of electrical equipment.

This can include training on how to identify and avoid hazards, proper use of PPE, and how to respond in the event of an emergency.

Keep A Safe Distance From Power Lines

It’s important to maintain a safe distance from power lines at all times. Be aware of the location of power lines and ensure that all equipment is at least 10 feet away from them.

Use Proper Personal Protective Equipment

Proper PPE is critical in protecting workers from electrical hazards. Make sure to wear insulated gloves, safety glasses, and hard hats when working with electricity or electrical equipment.

Hire only Licensed Electricians

Any electrical work on a construction site should be done by a licensed electrician with a track record of following safety protocol. This maximizes the probability that the work is done safely and up to code.

Remember, electrical hazards are a serious matter and should never be taken lightly. Always be aware of your surroundings and take the necessary precautions to avoid potential hazards.

Consistent Training Prevents Electrical Hazards On Construction Sites

By identifying the types of hazards and taking preventative measures, you can greatly reduce the risk of injury or even death.

But it’s not always easy to ensure that everyone on the job site is properly trained and aware of these safety procedures. That’s where Safelyio comes in.

Our toolbox talk app offers an easy and convenient way to train employees on electrical safety toolbox talks and other important safety topics.

With Safelyio, you can easily create and schedule safety talks days, weeks and months in advance. You can track employee participation and ensure that everyone on the job site is up-to-date on the latest safety procedures.

Doing this not only saves your company time, but it also boosts safety and helps create a culture of safety awareness.

By making safety a top priority, you can help protect your employees and ensure a successful project.

See How Easy It Is To Automate Safety Talks Weeks & Months in Advance Saving Hours All While Boosting Safety

Lets show you how Safelyio can help.

More Safety Content