Being Safe at Home is just as important as when you're at work.
Are you renovating your house? Maybe you are helping your neighbor troubleshoot an outlet that doesn't work. Although OSHA electrical safety standards do not apply when you're away from the job you should exercise the same safe work practices when working around the house. Being Safe at Home is just as important as when you're at work. Electricity doesn't know where you are nor does it care. It will injure or even kill you in any location. Think of it like this over 40% of all workplace electrocutions come from contact with voltages at or lower than 250 volts these are the same levels you'll find in your home. Because most dwellings in the U.S. are not equipped with three-phase electrical systems we don't have to worry about serious arc flash injuries but every home has a shock hazard that can kill you. Taking the same precautions at home that we use at work will keep us safe while installing a ceiling fan or replacing that faulty outlet.
Here are a few safety tips
- Always shut the power off at the breaker. Don't rely on light switches to isolate power.
- If you can't lockout the circuit, communicate to other members in the house to stay away from the breaker panel. Post a sign, lock doors, or place tape over the circuit breaker.
- Use a direct contact voltmeter to verify the absence of voltage before touching conductors with your bare hands.
- Check your meter on a working outlet before and after you verify the absence of voltage - this ensures your meter is functioning properly.
- Use fiberglass or wooden ladders when performing electrical work.
- Ensure your cords are plugged into GFCIs when working outside or in wet areas
- You can buy portable GFCI's from your local big-box DIY store if your garage or outside outlet is not properly equipped with a permanently mounted unit.
Consult a licensed electrician
According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International, an estimated 360,900 residential building fires are reported to United States fire departments each year and caused an estimated 2,495 deaths, 13,250 injuries and $7 billion in property losses. The leading cause of the largest fires was an electrical malfunction.
Don't attempt projects that are beyond your capabilities. Being fatally shocked or burning your house down is not worth it. Call in the professionals when needed!
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