electrical safety

Faculty, staff, and students need to have an awareness of electrical safety in order to support a safe learning and working environment. Notify Physical Plant of any noticeable electrical hazards; this can protect others from a potential electric shock, fire or explosion.

The UVM written Electrical Safety Program has been developed to help individuals recognize and avoid electrical hazards.  The goal is to reduce and manage the risk of electrical arc flash hazard, shock, equipment damage, and fire.

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters

  • 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.

Common Electrical Safety Issues

  • 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.

If you observe something that you believe might be an electrical hazard, please contact:


To request training on water intusion response, please contact your supervisor and the Occupational Health and Safety Office at ohso@uvm.edu or call 802.656.SAFE (7233).

Energy Saving Tips

  • Turn off unnecessary lighting and electronic equipment.
  • Place large office copiers and laser printers in "energy-saving" mode after completing scan or print jobs, if available.
  • Unplug all electrical devices not in use for an extended period of time; Many electronic devices have "phantom” or “ghost" power even after you turn off the switch
  • Close laboratory fume hood sashes when hoods are not in use.
  • In summer, pull shades and blinds closed to help reduce "heat gain"  during hot daytime hours.
  • For all window or portable air conditioning units, keep the fan on LOW and the temperature set point at 78 degrees; ALWAYS turn off before leaving for extended periods of time during the day and for home in the evenings and weekends