Preventing Electrical Hazards

electrical hazardsElectricity has long been recognized as a serious workplace hazard. OSHA’s electrical standards are designed to protect employees exposed to dangers such as electric shock and electrocution.

Normal and regular use of electrical equipment can cause wear and tear that results in insulation breaks, short-circuits and exposed wires.  Without ground-fault protection, a ground-fault can send current through a worker’s body, resulting in serious injuries and fatalities.  Even when the power system is properly grounded, electrical equipment can instantly change from safe to hazardous because of extreme conditions and rough treatment. To reduce electrical hazards:

  • Use ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) on all 120-volt, single-phase, 15- and 20-ampere receptacles, or have an assured equipment grounding conductor program (AEGCP).
  • Ground all power supply systems, electrical circuits and electrical equipment.
  • Frequently inspect electrical systems to insure that the path to ground is continuous.
  • Do not remove ground prongs from cord- and plug-connected equipment or extension cords.
  • Use double-insulated tools and equipment, distinctively marked, and ground all exposed metal parts of equipment.
  • Visually inspect all electrical equipment before use. Remove from service any equipment with frayed cords, missing ground prongs, cracked tool casings, etc.
  • Avoid standing in wet areas when using portable electrical power tools.

Visit OSHA’s Electrical webpage for more information on standards, hazard recognition and possible solutions.

The OSHA Training Center is offering OSHA 3095 – Electrical Standards at its Dublin, California, location on March 30-April 2 and October 5-8, 2015.

About the OSHA Training Center

The OSHA Training Center at Chabot-Las Positas Community College District offers high quality Occupational Safety & Health Administration standards-based training for construction, maritime and general industry at its Center in Dublin, California, as well as locations throughout California, Arizona, Nevada, Hawaii and Guam. Programs offered include OSHA safety standards, Outreach Trainer courses, Cal/OSHA standards curriculum, environmental courses and customized on-site safety training. For more information, including a complete course schedule, visit the OSHA Training Center website or call (866) 936-OSHA (6742).


  1. Great article Cari! It sounds like all you need to do is have a basic understanding of electricity and then from there it is pretty easy to stay safe when dealing with problems like that. I have always been really interested with electricity, it’s an invisible energy that makes light and cooks food. My lights constantly go out in my house, try as I might I can’t get them to work. I am thinking about calling an electrician. Do they have to have some sort of certification that I should check for before I hire one, or is it all learned on the job?

    • Hi Chase,
      Electricity is never simple, it can be deadly. I suggest contacting a professional electrician with a valid contractors license to do any electrical work/repairs.

  2. It’s interesting that this article recommends removing any equipment from service that has frayed cords. I actually have a piece of equipment with a cord that has started fraying a bit. Someone wrapped electrical tape around the section, and it seems to be working just fine. Do we still need to remove it from service, or is it going to be okay since we used electrical tape?

  3. Thanks so much for this post and for your responses to these comments. I have a close friend who suffered brain damage when an exposed wire fell on his head in the workplace. It was a tough situation for him and his family, but he’s lucky to be alive. Even the most mundane, innocent-looking situation has the potential to result in tragedy. Better to be over-prepared than be left wanting. Thanks again.

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