Prevent Injuries From Electrical Wires And Equipment

OSHA estimates that nearly 350 worker deaths every year are due to electrical hazards. Severe weather can increase the risk of injuries and electrocution due to the conductivity of water and the prevalence of downed overhead wires during storms. It is essential that those working with electrical equipment or near wires use extreme caution. With that in mind, here are some tips to stay safe working in or around electricity:

  • If you are driving and a fallen overhead wire comes in contact with your vehicle, remain inside and continue driving away from the downed line. If there is flooding and/or the engine stalls and you cannot go farther, do not exit the vehicle. Contact emergency services and/or the appropriate utility company. If there are others in the area, instruct them not to touch the vehicle or wire.
  • Never touch a fallen power line -- all overhead wires, downed or otherwise, contain voltages that are potentially deadly.
  • Do not operate electrical equipment while standing in water.
  • Do not attempt to repair electrical equipment if not properly trained and/or authorized to do so. If equipment becomes wet, have a qualified individual inspect equipment prior to operating it.
  • Be sure to routinely check electrical cords and equipment to be sure they are in proper working condition. Use a GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) to ensure electrical current remains contained in the appropriate channels and does not "jump" or flow through water or a person.
  • Be sure to survey work areas for overhead wires prior to starting any work and be sure to give any wires in the area a clearance of 10 feet or more to avoid injuries from contact.