Safety in the Workplace: Lessons from Canterbury City Scaffolding’s Incident

No matter the size of your business, managing health and safety is a key business practice, especially when it comes to dealing with electrical hazards. A harsh reminder of the consequences of neglecting these hazards comes from a recent incident involving Canterbury City Scaffolding Ltd, where a worker suffered a severe electric shock from an 11,000-volt power line running across the site while lifting a six-metre scaffold tube to erect a temporary roof structure. The employee fell over 5 metres breaking his leg, as well as suffering severe electrical burns leaving him with life-changing injuries in both hands. This led to the business receiving significant fines and the Director facing a suspended prison sentence. 

This tragic event demonstrates the critical need for awareness in your workplace and whilst working out on a site and why your business must adhere to strict safety practices around electrical hazards at work. In this blog, we will outline the different electrical hazards you should be aware of.

Understanding Electrical Hazards

Electrical hazards in the workplace can come in various forms, and their impact can range from minor injuries to fatal accidents. Here are six common electrical hazards that you should watch out for:

Exposed Electrical Parts – Exposed wires and components can pose a direct threat of electrocution, especially in areas with higher moisture levels.

Improper Grounding – Grounding electrical equipment is essential for safety, if equipment isn’t grounded then it can lead to the buildup of electrical charges resulting in unexpected shocks.

Overloading Circuits – Overloading electrical outlets is a common issue that can lead to overheating and potential fires or electrical damage.

Damaged Tools and Equipment – Using damaged electrical tools and equipment, for example, malfunctioning machinery, can increase the risk of electrical shock.

Wet Conditions – Working with electrical equipment in wet conditions increases the risk of electrocution. Extra caution and protective measures are essential in these environments.

Overhead Power Cables – Overhead power cables pose a risk for those people working at height and control measures must be enforced and adhered to by all persons if working close to overhead power cables. 

Mitigating Electrical Hazards

To prevent accidents and ensure a safe working environment for your employees, your business must adopt comprehensive safety measures:

Regular Risk Assessments: Conduct a risk assessment of the workplace to identify and manage potential electrical hazards. It is important that these are updated at regular intervals. 

Proper Training and Awareness: Ensure that all employees have the correct level of training and are aware of the risks associated with electrical equipment.

Use of Protective Equipment: Provide and regulate the use of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) such as insulated gloves and mats.

Maintenance and Inspections: Inspect and maintain electrical equipment regularly and put in place systems that ensure they are in good working condition.

Safe Work Practices: Implement safe work practices, such as using tools with insulated handles, and ensuring that all your electrical installations comply with the correct safety standards.

Emergency Preparedness: Having a clear procedure for dealing with electrical emergencies, including proper first aid and emergency response training, can dramatically decrease the risks of electrical hazards.

Couple of workers in safety equipment

The Role of Vigilance and Responsibility

The incident at Canterbury City Scaffolding Ltd is a reminder of the consequences of neglecting electrical safety in the workplace. It’s a call to action for businesses to be proactive in identifying and mitigating the risks of electrical hazards. By ensuring planning, regular training, proper equipment maintenance, and adherence to safety protocols, your business can significantly reduce the risk of electrical accidents and create a safer work environment for everyone.

If you’re concerned about electrical safety in your workplace, Optimum Safety has a team of professionals who can help with anything related to health and safety. To talk to us about your needs, get in touch with us here.

Published On: 11th March 2024 / Categories: Health and Safety / Tags: , , , , , , /

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