You probably know that electrocution is one of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA’s) “Fatal Four” in the construction field. That means that a large percentage of jobsite accidents are caused by electrical hazards, often leading to OSHA citations. Learning about electrical hazards can help keep your jobsite and workers safe.
An Orlando construction attorney goes over some common electrical hazards found on construction sites in this two-part article. The first three are covered in this section, and the remainder is covered in part two.
1. Lack of GFCI
Two-slot receptacles are often found in older buildings or houses. These are not safe because they have no equipment ground slot.
A ground fault is when electricity is leaking somewhere, such as a power tool with a damaged cord. Use ground-fault circuit interrupters, commonly called GFCI, for protection. These devices are designed to detect low-level ground faults, preventing injury or death. GFCIs come as wall receptacles and circuit breakers as part of an electrical panel. The wall receptacles are easily identifiable by the “test” and “reset” buttons in the center.
2. Ungrounded Tools
Ungrounded tools can become extremely dangerous. Modern tools have a ground prong and are double insulated. Some jobs only have wall receptacles with two-slots, tempting some workers to break off the grounding prong on their power tools. Workers should not use electric tools that are not grounded or double insulated.
3. Unknown Utilities
Before starting work, check for utilities on the jobsite. When working on an existing building, check if there are electrical or plumbing plans. You can also do a visual check of the property to look for cables, pipes, and conduits.
Call 811 to find out about underground utilities before you dig, even if it’s less than a foot deep. Running into unknown utilities during construction can lead to delays, fines, or injuries.
Prevention of electrical hazards is always preferable, however, accidents can happen. If an accident happens on your jobsite, reliable representation is important.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.