Most personnel who work directly with electricity have experienced electrical shock while on the job, half of which by more than 220 volts, according to a recent survey conducted by Littelfuse, Inc.
The survey asked almost 600 people who work directly with electricity questions about their knowledge of, experience with, and attitude toward electrical shock hazards. The results were then analyzed to help the industry gain an understanding of why worker injuries and fatalities occur each year from shock despite there being an electrical code in place.
“The survey results indicate that even the most trained employees—those who work directly with electricity—believe it is safe to work on or near equipment up to 500 volts, when in fact it’s not,” said Peter Kim, Vice President and General Manager, Littelfuse Industrial Business Unit. “Too many fatalities occur each year due to electrical shock. Companies need to understand that human-based safety methods are not the most effective measures. Incident prevention requires more than PPE and safety training.”
The survey found that:
- Almost 90 percent of those who said they think 500 volts is a safe equipment to ground to work on or near have been provided with safety training by their company.
- 62 percent of those who said they consider up to 500 volts to be a safe working voltage reported having experienced electrical shock by more than 220 volts while on the job.
- 86 percent of those who said they have experienced electrical shock by more than 220 volts also rated themselves as either “very confident” or “extremely confident” in their ability to recognize an electrical hazard.
- More than two-thirds of the respondents said that workers in their facility perform work on energized equipment.
- Almost a quarter of the respondents said their facility does not send its electrical gloves to a laboratory for testing. Another quarter of the respondents said they were unsure if their facility tests them.
The full report also provides an in-depth discussion of the prevalence of electrical shock fatalities and the misconception that electrical shock fatalities are steadily declining; variables that impact the severity of an electrical shock injury, and the long-term injuries of the body; conditions where shock protection is not required by the National Electric Code but contain shock hazards that jeopardize workers’ safety; and safety by design and special-purpose ground fault circuit interrupters.
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