Don't be Shocked...

Due to the dynamic, rugged nature of construction work, normal use of electrical equipment at our work sites causes wear and tear that results in insulation breaks, short-circuits, and exposed wires. If there is no ground-fault protection, these issues can cause a ground-fault that sends current through the worker's body, resulting in electrical burns, explosions, fire, or death. A large percentage of electrical accidents are caused from using improperly grounded temporary electrical systems or damaged power tools and extension cords on the job site.

The greatest potential for electrocutions comes from the tools we use. At Wachs, we strive to provide engineering controls for each potential electrical hazard. While in the field we verify and document a working grounding grid or use a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI). In our shops at Belmont and Jackson we have permanent, tested-to-code grounding systems. 

When utilized correctly, Wachs procedure of confirmed verification of grounding systems, or use of a GFCI, greatly reduce the chance of shock from a ground fault.

 A ground-fault circuit interrupter detects and abnormal current flow to ground and opens the circuit, preventing a hazardous situation.

A ground-fault circuit interrupter detects and abnormal current flow to ground and opens the circuit, preventing a hazardous situation.

In the field, or on a temporary job site, where an established grid often doesn't exist, it makes sense to use Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI). Not only will their use will save time, it could also save a worker being shocked. 

GFCI’s are available in a short extension cord configuration and are a simple means to achieve protection from electrical shock hazards. However, keep in mind that GFCI’s are not foolproof, and under wet conditions are not always effective.

Wachs has established procedures that ensure we are not only compliant with OSHA laws and our clients’ requirements, but also provide a safe and productive working environment. When dealing with GFCI and/or extension cords we suggest that you review Section 17 in the Wachs Safety Manual, Assured Grounding Procedure.

 
Use ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCI).
Use double-insulated tools and equipment.
Use tools and equipment according to the instructions included in their listing, labeling or certification.
Visually inspect all electrical equipment before use. Remove from service and tag out any equipment with frayed cords, missing ground prongs, cracked tool casings, etc.
— How to avoid Injury and Incident
 

Check out this week's edition of Wachs Weekly for more!