Principal Electrical Hazards Commonly Encountered
Electrical power has become the symbol of modern civilization and is now regarded as the index of advancement for the society. Being a very neat and clean form of energy, easily regulated, transformed, transmitted and used, it still remains a major source of safety hazards to people, animals, birds and even property.
When we talk of hazards, there are many of them associated with electricity. The purpose is not to frighten the people but to make them aware and careful in handling electrical energy with due care control and safety. Electrical safety training plays a major role to overcome electrical hazards.
The principal hazards associated with electricity are:
- Electrical fires and explosions;
- Electrical burns;
- Electrical shock;
- Secondary hazards
Electrical fires and explosions
Many of fires have their causes related to malfunction of wiring or either a piece of electrical equipment or both. Electrical safety training becomes need of the hour, apart from due care. Some of the common causes of fire in electrical installations are overheating of equipment and cables, ignition of combustible substances by static electrical discharges, short circuits, ignition of flammable gases and vapours.
Electric burns and shock
Convulsive reaction to the flow of electric current, by the human body is electric shock. Shock can be produced by lightning, low or high voltage. Severity of injury from electric shock depends upon the size of the electric current passing through the body and its duration of flow.
The following chart summarizes the results of effect of electric current through human body:
A person could suffer from flash burn as a result of arc formation if he/she is standing very close to a high-voltage conductor. If proper electrical safety tips are not followed electric arc faults can cause temporary blindness leading to other secondary hazards.
Electrostatic discharge have even caused huge damages and loss of life.
Those additional hazards which occur as a result of an electrical hazard are defined as secondary hazards. For example, a worker working on a scaffold, if gets an electric shock might lead him to fall from height.
Some of the high risks associated with the use of electricity, include:-
- Working with badly maintained electrical equipment
- Using electrical equipment in adverse environments like wet, flammable atmosphere etc.
- Coming in contact with live overhead power lines and during excavation work coming in contact with underground charged cables.
From the aforesaid para, it can be well concluded that electrical safety hazards pose a major danger even for common user of electricity, if commensurate counter measures are neglected.
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