10 Things You Should Do To Achieve Electrical Safety, Philippines

10 golden rules of electrical safety

10 Things You Should Do To Achieve Electrical Safety

Incidents from Electric Hazards are fatal and can lead to death. A simple mistake such as poor hazard identification, or failure to wear proper personal protective equipment (PPE) can take a person's life. Since electricity is around us, potential electric hazards are everywhere. 

Around the world, the month of May is declared Electrical Safety Month to promote awareness. In this article are the 10 golden rules of electrical safety applicable at home and at our workplace.

10 Golden Rules of Electrical Safety

  1. Comply with all applicable industry technical standards in the design, installation, and operation of electrical systems. The most common technical standard available in the Philippines is the Philippine Electrical Code (PEC). It has two primary objective. First, to maintain a high quality of materials and services for electrical installation. And second, to safeguard life and property from any hazards associated with electricity.
  2. Treat all electrical systems as energized. If there is work on any part of an electrical system, isolate it from the power source and install appropriate tags. The most common practice to strongly support this rule is the lock-out-tag-out- and test-out, or LOTOTO. The first step of the LOTOTO process is to lock the isolation point to prevent accidentally energizing the circuit while work is being done. Followed by placing a tag as a clear identification that a circuit is being worked on. And finally, even after the isolation point is locked and tagged, you make a confirmation test. Through a multimeter, ensure that the circuit is free from Hazardous Electrical Energy.
  3. Ensure that electrical equipment is properly guarded and appropriately grounded. A very good example of an electrical machine guard is the railings around transformers. A simple structure to avoid accidental touching of energized components. And for grounding, its main purpose is to protect machines and people from a sudden surge of electricity. Electrical faults produce high levels of energy that can destroy equipment, and are very fatal to humans. The ground creates a low resistive path to earth to safely dissipate fault currents.
  4. Install protective devices that are properly rated, set, and coordinated to automatically isolate faulted parts. The most common protective device to support this rule is the household circuit breaker. A well-designed electrical system includes a rated circuit breaker to isolate faults on a faulted circuit.
  5. Consult and engage the services of PRC-licensed electrical practitioners (PEE, REE, RME). Certified electrical professionals trained to perform electrical works are the most qualified to perform inspections, installations, and servicing on an electrical circuit. You should never trust your safety on someone who is not certified.
  6. Ensure that all electrical equipment are correctly labeled, conductors are properly color-coded, electrical diagrams are always available and safety signages are highly visible. Labels can help us easily identify a piece of equipment or a branch circuit. During servicing, labels are helpful and reduce the risk of human error. Errors like shutting off running equipment, and fatalities after touching an energized circuit, can be prevented.
  7. Regularly monitor loading of electrical system components to ensure they are within their rated capacities. Upgrade immediately, if necessary. This is a common scenario where a facility or a household increases its load over time. Overloading is a very common cause of building fire. And one way to prevent this is to check if components of an electrical system are still within their rated capacities.
  8. Periodically inspect and maintain electrical systems and equipment. Electrical systems and equipment need routine maintenance, like a simple visual inspection, or conducting an insulation resistance test. A thorough visual inspection looks for abnormalities in the system, while an insulation resistance test verifies the condition of your insulation.
  9. Wear appropriate PPE and use proper tools when conducting electrical works. PPEs are considered the last line of defense for a worker in reference to the hierarchy of safety controls. This means - when hazards are not fully eliminated but work is still necessary on a circuit or equipment, the hazards should be mitigated by using proper PPE. The most common PPEs across all industries are Hard Hats, Safety glasses, Safety Shoes, Hearing Protection, and Working Gloves (arc rated for electrical works). It’s also important to use proper tools when working. Improper tools will make a job more difficult and will bring an extra hazard to the worker and equipment. A behavior to best illustrate as an example is the use of a wrench as a hammer.
  10. Provide a disconnecting means for local and manual isolation of electrical equipment during emergencies. Local isolation provides you immediate access to cut power to a piece of running equipment when trouble is observed. But another importance of this is it prevents accidental energization of a working circuit. The local isolation serves as a secondary isolation point where it’s visible to a worker. In the event that someone accidentally energizes the circuit through the main control panel, the worker is still isolated because of the second isolation locally.

Those are the 10 Golden Rules of Electrical Safety that are very useful at any facility, and even at home. Faithfully following these standards will give you a safe working environment, and will keep you away from any terrible accidents. On top of following these rules, it’s always best to consult a licensed professional to inspect, maintain and repair your electrical equipment or circuit, at home or at work.

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