Mar 11, 2014

Reducing Massachusetts Worker's Compensation Liability: Electrical Safety

Today, as part of our ongoing series to help reduce Massachusetts worker's compensation liability for employers—and to help protect your employees—we will look into the importance of electrical safety in the workplace. Specifically, electrical malfunctions or misuses can cause costly equipment damage and also be a hazard to your employees—electrical mishaps can result in injury or even death.

These types of accidents increase worker's compensation claims and contribute to temporary and/or permanent losses in manpower. In fact, last year alone, injuries due to contact with electric current cost employers over $1.3 billion.

To help your business ensure a safer work environment and avoid worker's compensation claims, here are three electrical safety measures to always keep in mind and follow:

Worker Safety Precautions

Worker safety is critical to avoiding electrical accidents. To safeguard your facility, make sure you and all workers do the following when working with any electrical supplies:

  • Wear gloves, rubber-soled shoes, and protective eye gear when working around electrical hazard areas
  • Use double-insulated tools, and non-conductive tools where possible
  • Perform regular inspections
  • Remain aware of your surroundings—watch for cords above and below
  • Always use a grounded outlet when plugging in a 3-pronged plug
  • Turn off and unplug devices when not in use

Equipment Inspections

It’s also important that all workers approach electrical equipment with caution, and as such should always:

  • Check cords for wear or damage
  • Check electrical switches and outlets for loose connections
  • Clean tools regularly that are used around electrical gear

Proper Behavior and Rules to Follow

And beyond worker safety expectations, it’s necessary that you, the employer, make the appropriate effort to protect your employees through educational efforts. Be sure to:

  • Post safety signage around the workplace (contact your local Massachusetts OSHA office for posters)
  • Educate managers on proper reporting and Massachusetts workers’ compensation guidelines

As always, follow all manufacturer and OSHA-approved best practices when handling electrical equipment (contact your Massachusetts OSHA branch for guidelines)—but remember that above all, no one should ever attempt to fix electrical shorts or damages without a licensed electrician present.

For more information on reducing your workers’ compensation liability, visit AWANE’s Massachusetts Worker's Compensation page, contact an AWANE representative, or read more on our Safety blog.