Common electrical related hazards - Electricity - Healthy Working Lives

Electricity

Common hazards, your legal duties and precautions you can take when working with electricity

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Electrical safety at work should be a concern to all organisations.

Use the links below to find information on hazards when working with electricity, how to assess these, precautions you can take and your legal obligations.

  1. Common electrical related hazards
  2. Electrical safety precautions
  3. Electrical safety legislation

1. Common electrical related hazards

Those most at risk of an electrical related injury include 

  • ​maintenance staff
  • those working with electrical plant equipment and machinery
  • people working in harsh environments such as construction and agriculture sites.

Employees should only work on or with electrical equipment if they have suitable training, knowledge, experience and supervision.

Voltages over 50 volts AC or 120 volts DC are considered hazardous. Harm can be caused when exposed to 'live parts' or through conducting objects or materials.

Shocks from equipment can cause severe and permanent injuries. Shocks can also cause indirect injuries, such as falls from

  • ladders
  • scaffolds
  • other work platforms.

Faulty or overloaded equipment can lead to fires which can cause damage, injuries and loss of life.

Common causes of injury

The most common injuries are caused by

  • faulty wiring
  • poor training
  • incorrectly replaced fuses
  • mixing water and electricity
  • use of overloaded or damaged plugs, sockets or cables
  • misuse of equipment or using equipment which is known to be faulty.

Other potential sources can be

  • work in or on excavations
  • working in wet, harsh or confined conditions
  • working on or near overhead lines, for example tipping loads
  • working on or near equipment that's thought to be dead but has a live current.

Electricity can also ignite flammable or explosive atmospheres, for example in spray paint booths or around refuelling areas.

Carry out a risk ass​essment

Where work with electricity cannot be avoided, then the best way to find out about the risks in your organisation, and how to address these, is by discussing issues with staff and carrying out a risk assessment.

Find out how to carry out a risk assessment

Method statement

Where the work being carried out is considered to be complex, you should provide more detail to those involved in the form of a method statement. This includes how the job is to be carried out and the how the risks are managed.

Whilst not a legal requirement, a safety method statement describes, in a logical way, exactly how a job is to be carried out to ensure safety for all involved.

Use our method statement form​