Information on the common hazards around electricity in the workplace

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.

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 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.

Object reference not set to an instance of an object.