Working with electricity isn’t easy. It’s not safe, either. Electricians face a substantial amount of danger each day they go to work. Electricians install the electrical wires, circuitry and fixtures needed to provide electricity. They’re also tasked with maintaining these components once they’re in place. Any time you’re working with electricity, even if you consider yourself a savvy master DIYer because you’ve seen a couple home improvement shows, there is a significant degree of danger involved.
Burns, collapsed lungs from arc blasts and involuntary muscle contractions are all threats that are posed by electricity and give electricians, not to mention civilians, reason to be careful when working with electricity and electrical components.
As an increasing number of people are going to require electricity and new alternative energy equipment needs to be installed, there will be an increased need for electricians. The number of electrician jobs is projected to climb by nine percent through 2026, according to the BLS. This makes safety all the more paramount, given more people will be risking their corporal beings to provide us with electricity.
There are a number of small actions that professional electricians take to help mitigate the potential for perilous accidents and minimize the damage when they do occur. Below is a list of seven things electricians can do to maintain safety in the workplace:
Know your rights
As an electrical worker, or any kind of worker, you have the right to a safe workplace. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) exists to protect that right, and laws are in place to protect you. OSHA’s website is full of helpful information to help you bone up on your rights as a worker or learn them if you didn’t know them already. Knowledge is power and will go a long way in keeping you safe on the job.
Be ready for anything
Minimizing a potentially dangerous mishap is all about preparation. When working on an electrical job, it’s important to take into account what kind of project you’re working on and consider what could potentially go wrong. Is there a slight chance such-and-such a situation might come to fruition? Better bring something to handle it if it does. Taking the time to thoroughly conceive of different scenarios that might spring up and planning accordingly will allow you to handle the unexpected when it inevitably happens.
Equip yourself with adequate gear
This goes along with the previous step of preparedness. Wearing sufficient and reliable safety gear is one of the most important parts of staying safe in the workplace. Insulated gloves can help protect your hands from electrical currents. Hard hats help reduce injuries caused by falling debris, such as in a construction setting, as well as from dangling electrical wires. Ocular protection is important as well.
Flame-retardant equipment is another vital aspect of an electrician’s workplace attire, as fires and sparks resulting in fires are not uncommon during everyday labor. OSHA has specific guidelines for what constitutes sufficient personal protective equipment when working with electricity if you’re unsure whether or not yours measures up to par for the industry. Personal protective equipment is your ultimate line of bodily protection in the event that something goes awry.
Test before you touch
The only way to know if a circuit, or any other electrical component, is safe for you to touch is by testing it before you do so. The easiest way to test a component for the strength of the current is by using a device called a multimeter. These are essential devices that can be found in any electrician’s toolbox.
Multimeters produce a reading, typically in volts, of how strong the current flowing through the electrical component is and whether it is weak enough for you to touch or not. Additionally, readings from a multimeter can give you an idea of what the potential issue you’re dealing with is when troubleshooting.
Only use equipment for its intended purpose
Tools exist to perform a certain function or set of functions. Manufacturers craft tools to be used in specific ways and for specific techniques. Misuse can lead to broken equipment or bodily injury. A screwdriver does not perform particularly well as a makeshift multimeter.
Follow proper procedures
Speaking of techniques, one of the reasons electricians employ certain techniques is to maintain their own safety while getting the job done. Electricians enroll in training programs to learn the job and learn it the right way. Mistakes still happen in any job, and as an entry-level electrician you might take some physical lumps, but pain has a way of helping you not make the same mistake twice.
Make sure you’re trained for the job
This final tip builds on the last point. Be confident in your ability to complete the job. If you don’t feel confident enough in your abilities or don’t feel ready to take on a certain task, let your supervisor know and they can help you learn the task in question. An electrician training program can’t prepare you for everything you’ll encounter in real-world experience, but that’s why you’ll receive on-the-job training when you enter the workforce.
These are all ways in which electricians can ensure workplace safety. Has learning about these safety tips piqued your interest in joining the ranks of more than 628,000 electricians in the United States? If so, all you need to do is find a training program that fits your needs.
Plug Yourself into Your New Career
Coyne College is one of Chicago’s top skilled-trade education institutions and is proud to offer two programs for aspiring electrical workers: electrical construction and planning and electrical construction and maintenance.
Coyne College offers both programs during days and nights to help accommodate the busy schedules of its students. Both programs are offered at the Coyne College campus, located in the Chicago Loop at the intersection of State and Madison Streets.
The electrical construction and planning program’s curriculum is more extensive than that of the electrical construction maintenance program and can be completed in as few as 78 weeks. The electrical construction and maintenance program, on the other hand, also prepares you to enter the field but can be finished in 42 to 56 weeks, depending on whether you take day or night classes.
As a student in either of Coyne College’s electrical programs, you will be submerged in classes such as:
- Electrical and Electronic Principles
- Electrical Test and Equipment Safety
- Electrical Construction – Residential
- Electrical Theory and Applications
- And more!
You will learn the ins and outs of the electrician trade in a setting that focuses on your individual success and be taught by Coyne’s highly knowledgeable instructors who have years of real-world experience under their belts.
Following the completion of your associate’s degree or diploma program, you will be ready to enter the electrical workers’ field as an apprentice. As mentioned previously, apprenticeships usually last between four and five years.
Coyne College’s career services department can help students with job placement, including apprenticeships. Coyne College has more than 110 years of experience in helping transform students with dreams into qualified, skilled-trade professionals.
Spark your new career and discovery with everything Coyne College can offer you by visiting.