Safety is the primary concern on any construction site, above and beyond any metrics for job completion. As such, it is crucial that project managers provide adequate Personal Protective Equipment to protect every member of personnel on a given site, whether bricklayer or electrician. But electrical work can seem like a dark art to many, and even with the carrying out of a risk assessment some may not be sure exactly what PPE can make electrical work safe. Here is a brief list of five key items to ensure any electrician receives or has access to on-site.
Insulated gloves are a crucial part of any electrician’s arsenal when it comes to PPE. Often, electricians may have no choice but to engage in live, exposed wires while testing or installing equipment. Insulated gloves provide a non-conductive barrier between the wire and the electrician’s hand, making it less likely that the electrician will form a short circuit to ground and suffer a dangerous electric shock. Another common way electricians reduce the likelihood of an electric shock is to place one hand in their pocket, ensuring they don’t create a bridge between two voltages.
In the unfortunate event that an electrician does suffer an electric shock, their muscles are likely to spasm and contract – which could potentially cause them to stay connected to the source of electricity. If you attempt a rescue without removing the source, you too could become electrocuted. Rescue rods are non-conductive poles which you can use to safely detach someone from a source of electricity, or to push away said source of electricity, without also receiving a potentially lethal shock.
Much like insulated gloves, insulated boots can provide an extra layer of protection from inadvertent electrical shorts. Good-quality insulated boots tend to include a steel toe-cap for reinforcement and protection on any given job-site, with a rubber surround and sole to prevent conductive connection to ground. This way, if an electrician were to touch a live wire bare-handed, they would not be a conduit for current to ground.
Eye and Face Protection
Eye goggles and facial PPE are widely available and inexpensive, but confer a number of safety benefits in more ways than protection from simple construction hazards. Electrical items, if faulty or handled incorrectly, can be extremely dangerous; components can melt, smoke or even explode. Dust masks are a great way to prevent inhalation of dangerous materials, while goggles can protect your eyes from toxic smoke and flying components.
Hard Hat and head gear
Last but not least, the humble hard-hat is a must-wear for any electrician on a job site. Active construction sites represent the same risks, no matter what your discipline, and as such a hard hat can protect electricians from falling objects of materials. Electricians also often work at height, and the hard hat can prevent serious injury from collision with a hard surface, or with the floor as a result of a nasty fall.