Installing electrical systems in high-risk zones can be challenging. These areas may have overhead and buried power lines and heavy electrical loads in many cases. Because of this, persons working in these places need to wear protective clothing, such as safety boots, to avoid electrocution and other dangers.
More than that, proper orientation and continuous training are necessary to layout the electrical systems in hazard-prone areas. Suppose you’re planning to work in high-risk zones, such as drilling and pipefitting, anytime soon.
In that case, continue reading this article because it’ll help you learn ways to work safely and suitably in the positions mentioned in the oil and gas job boom info and other ads. So, read on!
1. Ground All Power Supply and Equipment
Grounding your electrical equipment is vital to prevent current from passing through a worker’s body. Generally, the electricity comes from broken or faulty lines, but it may also come directly from the equipment if it isn’t grounded. To avoid this, you may need to ground all of your equipment.
In some cases, grounded but defective equipment can be hazardous. Because of this, you may need to dispose of the faulty equipment or fix it as soon as you can. Avoid removing the ground prongs in your equipment’s plug for safety reasons. You may also opt for double-insulated equipment to reduce the risks of grounding and electricity.
2. Identify and Label The Hazards
Risk assessment helps in identifying the risky portions of your workspace. You can start with the areas where power lines are hanging or buried. After that, you may inspect the sockets, lines, and extensions. You may also include the slippery spaces and areas with leaks.
After the assessment, you may label the different hazards. In preparing the labels, you may consider the following colors based on varying levels of risks:
- Red: for danger
- Yellow: for caution
- Orange: for warning
- Green: for safety
- Blue: for information
3. Use Only Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Approved Equipment
To ensure that all of your equipment is in excellent working condition, you may consider buying and using the OSHA-approved equipment. Generally, these are displayed through stickers or markings bearing the agency’s name. Buying OSHA-approved equipment not only saves you the trouble of having substandard and defective equipment but also ensures that your workplace is likely to pass OSHA standards.
4. Clean and Maintain The Equipment Regularly
Using well-cleaned and maintained equipment reduces the risks of accidents in workplaces, especially in high-risk zones. In addition, it also minimizes downtime and avoids frequent equipment service, reducing maintenance expenses. Furthermore, it helps workers to continue working without hassle.
To maintain your equipment correctly, you may practice the following:
- Check the equipment for signs of damage
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions
- Test lubricants regularly. Add, if needed
- Use appropriate equipment
- Inspect the equipment for wear and tear, especially in exposed wires
- Schedule maintenance checkups
- Record the equipment’s history of issues, including the commonly fixed sections and replaceable parts
5. Use Appropriate Cords
Different voltage requires various types of power cords. In choosing the wire you need you may consider the following:
- Wire Gauge
This refers to the carrying capacity or the amperage running through the wire.
- Wire Length
In many cases, the longer the wire, the more voltage it can hold. In addition, long lines can counteract voltage drop better than the shorter ones, increasing the amperage capacity.
The more flexible the wire is, the better it can be reshaped or bent in irregularly shaped spaces. For more ideas, you may refer to the following levels of wire flexibility:
- Solid Core: less flexible in lower gauge wire but more flexible in higher gauge types.
- Coarsely-stranded Wire: has average flexibility and can be reshaped
- Finely-stranded Wire: highly flexible
6. Turn Off The Power Source If You’re Working
Before working on exposed wires and live electrical parts, you need to de-energize them. You could turn off an area-specific power source if you’re working in a smaller space. However, you may consider turning off the main supply if you’re working on lines in larger areas. This way, you could freely and safely work in high-risk areas without exposing yourself to electrical hazards.
7. Install Physical Barriers
You may apply a lockout and tagout policy to the areas and lines with the highest risks for a safer practice. This policy is a system where physical restraints are installed around power supplies. You may add warning and cautionary signs to alert workers on the possible hazards they may have contact with.
- Use Non-Conductive Tools
8. Use Non-Conductive Tools
Whether installing, fixing a wire, or cleaning the area, an electrical engineer should always use non-conductive tools and accessories to ensure safety. This equipment generally has plastic or rubber handles and covers to prevent electrical risks. Apart from these, many non-conductive tools come in extendable tubular, sling-on, and snap-on features that allow long-distance tasks.
9. Inspect The Area Before And After Electrical Installation
Examining the high-risk zones before and after installing wires and other peripherals guarantees that hazards are minimized during work to maximize safety. You may craft an inspection plan similar to preventative maintenance for a more thorough and detailed process and inspection.
The plan may include a checklist that contains possible and common hazards you need to address instantly. In addition, you may also consider preparing a safety manual to have a collective guidance that contains policies and procedures.
10. Post Warning Signs
Labels are vital in providing information about the risks in the high-risk zones and guiding direction to safe access points. In this concern, you may refer to the same color-coded safety labels mentioned above.
As the cliché in every workplace says, safety first. To ensure this, you may need to apply certain safety practices, including the tips mentioned in this article. While these can’t guarantee that no more issues may occur in the future, they will lessen the problems that may recur.
For more proven hacks on engineering electrical systems in high-risk zones, you may read online regarding seasoned electricians and their custom-fit practices. In considering the tips, always start from your workplace. Consider its structure, the space and wires you’d be working on, and the utmost safety of every workplace in that area.