Faculty, staff & students must have an awareness of electrical safety hazards that may be present in their areas to protect themselves from accidentally receiving an electric shock, being electrocuted or even causing a fire or explosion.
Additional training, maintenance and servicing requirements may be required for lab equipment that is hard-wired. Be sure to understand how to Control Hazardous Energy to prevent the unexpected energization or start-up of machines, equipment, or systems can cause death or serious injury.
The Department of Risk Management & Safety, the Physical Plant Department and the UE Safety Committee have worked together to compile a webpage offering safety talks on basic issues, such as general electrical safety.
Battery Safety ???
Exposure to hazardous energy happens from the unexpected energization or start-up of machines, equipment, or systems can cause death or serious injury. Hazardous energy includes:
- electrical energy
- thermal energy,
- mechanical energy,
- hydraulic energy,
- pneumatic energy,
- chemical energy, and
- ionizing and non-ionizing radiation energy.
All faculty, staff and students are required to be trained and in compliance with the OSHA standard for locking and tagging out hazardous energy. This standard applies to equipment that must be maintained or serviced in some way and is permanently wired. This standard does not apply to electrically-powered machines that can be completely disconnected by unplugging a cord – if the cord is under the exclusive control of the person doing the maintenance or repairs.
UVM Physical Plant department has developed UVM’s best resource for guiding departments through having both a written program and written procedures. A hazard analysis is first required to confirm the presence of hazardous energy. If hazardous energy is confirmed, the appropriate lockout procedure must be documented and used.
- Cords should not be used in place of permanent wiring. If you plan to use an extension cord for an extended period of time, contact UVM Physical Plant Dept to install a permanent outlet.
- Discard unsafe extension cords. An unsafe cord is one where the outer insulation is cracked or broken. The grounding pin must also be fully intact.
- Only licensed electricians are authorized to replace plugs, or splice cords.
- Extension cords need to be protected from heavy pedestrian traffic to prevent slips, trips and falls.
- Power strips should not be permanently mounted to a wall or any other structure, even if the power strip has specific mounting fittings.
- Power strips or extension cords should not be connected to each other. Doing this can overload the circuit creating a potential fire hazard.
- GFCIs are designed to protect people from an electric shock. A GFCI works by detecting a current drop from the hot to the neutral wiring in a circuit. The GFCI detects energy that is escaping the circuit.
- GFCIs should be installed wherever a water hazard is present.
- GFCIs can be at the breaker, the outlet, incorporated with the plug of the appliance/piece of equipment, or part of a short extension cord.
- Be careful when using any electrical equipment in or around water.
- Do not block electrical panels. OSHA requires a 36-inch clearance in front of all electrical panels.
- Discard any piece of equipment that gives you even the slightest shock. If the resistance through your body is lowered (e.g. standing in water or touching metal), even the slightest shock can be deadly.
- Junction boxes and electrical panels need to have proper metal covers in place to conceal all wiring. Hard wiring should never be exposed or accessible to those who are not electricians.