Electrical has the power to severely injure or kill people and cause serious damage to property, and even non-fatal shocks can cause severe and permanent injury. Therefore it is essential to ensure measures to control the risks are implemented and that workers know how to recognise potential electrical hazards.
There are many actions you can take to reduce risks from the electrical equipment in your workplace, including:
- Ensure the installation is safe – make sure that new electrical systems are installed to a suitable standard and existing installations are maintained
- Competent workers – The people working on your electrical equipment should have suitable training, skill, and knowledge for the task
- Provide safe equipment – equipment should be in a safe condition when supplied, and regularly maintained to remain safe
- Provide suitable equipment – equipment should be appropriate for the task and working environment
- Reduce the voltage – limit the voltage supply to the lowest needed to get the job done
- Carry out preventative maintenance – decisions on maintenance levels and the frequency of checks should be made in consultation with equipment users, based on the risk of electrical items becoming faulty
- Provide a safety device – Using a residual current device can provide additional safety if using equipment operating at 230 volts or higher, as this can detect some faults in the electrical system and rapidly switches off the supply
Ensuring the correct controls are in place is the responsibility of the employer, however the risks of working around electricity can also be reduced by making sure employees understand the dangers and are aware of potential hazards.
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Most fires are preventable, and those responsible for workplaces must carry out a fire safety risk assessment and keep it up to date in order to reduce the risk as much as is possible. A fire safety risk assessment:
- can be carried out either as part of an overall risk assessment or as a separate process
- should inform which measures need to be put in place to minimise the risk of injury or loss of life in the event of a fire
- should identify what could cause a fire to start and who may be at risk
Important steps following your risk assessment include:
- Keeping sources of ignition and flammable substances apart
- Avoiding accidental fires, eg make sure heaters cannot be knocked over
- Ensuring good housekeeping at all times, eg avoid build-up of rubbish that could burn
- Considering how to detect fires and how to warn people quickly if they start, eg installing smoke alarms and fire alarms or bells
- Having the correct fire-fighting equipment for putting a fire out quickly
- Keeping fire exits and escape routes clearly marked and unobstructed at all times
- Ensuring your workers receive appropriate training on procedures they need to follow, including fire drills
- Reviewing and update your risk assessment regularly
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A fire warden is a competent person appointed by an employer or owner to help ensure adequate fire safety procedures are used and adhered to – the number of fire wardens an organisation will require depends on the size of the area they’ll need to cover and the number of staff in the company, and other factors such as staff absence, shift workers, or the presence of vulnerable occupants.
All fire wardens must be trained to:
- Understand the different types of fire in order to ensure the correct equipment is present
- Understand how fire spreads in order to minimise its impact in the case of discovering a fire
- Produce and understand a full Fire Risk Assessment
- Maintain fire equipment records to ensure everything will work correctly in the event of an emergency
- Assist in evacuations
- Understand how to take charge during emergency situations
Fire wardens play an important role in ensuring fire safety in the workplace, and should be knowledgeable in their duties so that they are always prepared in case of an emergency.
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Slips, Trips and Falls
Slips, trips, and falls are a common cause of workplace injury, regardless of the industry you’re in. However, there are many simple ways to control slips, trip and fall risks and prevent workplace accidents. Some examples include:
- Wearing the correct footwear
- Slip-resistant footwear can help prevent slips where floors cannot be kept clean and dry
- Footwear should be trialled to ensure it is suitable for the environment and is comfortable and fits well on the user
- Stopping floors becoming contaminated
- Place mats at building entrances
- Fix leaks
- Maintain plant and equipment
- Design tasks to minimise spillages
- Plan vehicle and pedestrian routes to avoid contaminated areas
- Using the correct cleaning methods
- Remove spillages as soon as possible
- Ensure smooth floors are dry after cleaning or pedestrian access is blocked
- Choose an effective cleaning method for the type of floor
- Have effective arrangements for both routine cleaning and dealing with spills
- Considering flooring and work environment factors
- Ensure sufficient lighting
- Ensure slopes and steps are clearly visible
- Keep walkways and work areas clear of obstructions
- Check flooring for damage or loose panels and replace as necessary
- Floors that are likely to get wet should be made of a material that won’t become unduly slippery
To get your employees up to speed on how to prevent slip, trip and fall injuries, enrol them in our Slips, Trips & Falls E-Learning course. This course is suitable for employers and workers in all industries. Get 10% off this course with the code ‘maintenance10’!
Electrical Safety, Fire Safety, Fire Wardens and Slips, Trips & Falls training courses are essential tools in ensuring your workplace remains safe. Make sure you don’t miss out on our 10% off deal on these courses, available until the end of September. Simply enter the code ‘maintenance10’ at checkout to save!
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