5 Tips for Outdoor Electrical Safety
Outdoor electrical safety measures outdoor are as paramount as indoor. There are more electricity-related risks while working outside than inside.
The weather conditions and utility equipment can turn out to be the prime risk factors if we do not adhere to safety measures. Hence, it is important to know possible hazards around the work-site and safe operation of the related equipment.
Electrical accidents can be fatal, cause property damage and severe injuries to the personnel. The following are the five electrical safety tips that must be followed whenever working outdoors.
5 Tips for Outdoor Electrical Safety
1.) Equipment safety:
Follow the mentioned guidelines before and after using the electrical equipment:
- Read the instruction guide of the tool or equipment to know its safe handling.
- Plugin the cord into a 3-conductor circuit to add safety with a neutral-to-ground connection.
- Do not use extension cords designated for indoor purposes outside. Pick only outdoor extension cords that come with a label “For outside use only”.
- Check that the extension cords should possess a higher amp rating than the electrical product underuse.
- Use Flat cord power strip for equipment safety as it offers enhanced surge protection.
- Extension cords used must be approved and tested by nationally recognized testing laboratories.
- The equipment should not be left unattended because there can be chances of misuse by children or un-qualified adults.
Also, keep a regular check on every equipment. Repair if found damaged or broken. Make sure not to use power tools around flammable liquids like gasoline etc. Avoid using electrical equipment in wet areas and always keep tools clean and dry.
2.) Stay safe near overhead power lines
- Inspect the working area and look if there is an overhead power line.
- While trimming trees or working on the roofs keep a distance of at least 10 feet from overhead power lines.
- Carry the ladder or long equipment in the horizontal direction to avoid bumping them into the overhead power lines.
- In case of any downed power line, inform the related authorities.
- Use wooden ladders while working in areas with overhead power lines. Metallic ladders are more prone to electrical accidents in such areas.
- Install satellite dishes away from power lines.
Do not do any activity which can damage the insulators on the overhead power lines. Insulators are the means of keeping electricity from traveling down the poles. Power lines with broken insulators can harm anyone coming in contact with the poles.
Plant low trees that should not reach the height of power lines. Contact your electricity provider to provide a list of safe plants for the area—prune trees such that they are 1 meter away from power lines.
3.) Digging grounds
Before digging the grounds, collect information about the field whether there is any underground powerline or not. Start digging only after collecting the related and complete information.
Learn about landscaping, clearance, and other guidelines before digging the ground. Contact the local authorities before digging to find the locations of underground pipes and cables.
4.) Outdoor outlets:
Install Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs). These interrupters cut the power automatically in case of any contact of the plugged item with water or electricity leakage. Portable GFCIs are also available for outdoor purposes.
Outdoor outlets should be covered or kept in weather-proof boxes. Protect the outdoor outlets by covering them when not in use. Keep outdoor lighting, outlets, etc. away from dry leaves or other debris to prevent electric fires.
Accidents related to generators are another cause of fatality when working outdoors. From 1999 to 2012, 97% of 931 deaths were reported due to carbon monoxide from generators. And 24% of death cases due to CO happened due to improper placement of generators.
Hence, avoid placing generators inside an attached garage or shed. Keep a regular check on smoke detectors and CO detectors for generators.
Before working outdoors, make sure the safety devices are installed and handy. Use safety goggles, ear protectors, dustproof masks, and safe, dry gloves and clothes.
Make sure to wear rubber slippers. Keep children away from all the potentially risky areas. Use Flat cord power strips for multiple safe plugins. Fuels should be stored in approved containers only and away from heat sources.
For swimming pools
According to a report by The Consumer Product Safety Commission, 60 electrocutions and around 50 serious electric shocks have taken place around the swimming pools and spa since the year 1990.
Avoid electric shocks by regular electrician inspections and upgrading the electric tools. Place electrical devices and cord at least 10 feet away from the swimming pool. It is better to use battery-operated equipment near pools whenever possible.
Keep outdoor receptacles covered and dry to avoid electrical accidents near pools. All the equipment used in pools should be grounded. Avoid using swimming polls during a thunderstorm.
Electricity is the most useful and powerful tool but can be a potential hazard when handled without caution. With proper safety measures, it is possible to avoid electrical mishappenings. Adopting the habit of following electrical safety measures outdoors can reduce electric accident rates significantly.
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