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Two ways to ensure electricity doesn't pose a risk to your employees

by , 05 September 2013
Electricity can kill. Each year, employers report many electric shock accidents to the Department of Labour and the Compensation Commissioner. The good news is you can easily avoid these accidents with careful planning and simple precautions. Use these two steps to ensure electricity isn't a danger to your employees.

It's important you take steps to control the risks from your use of electricity at work. This'll help you avoid costly penalties for failing to keep your employees safe.

But how do you do this?

Use these two steps to implement safe work procedures for electricity

Step #1: Assess the risk

Before you start, the first thing you must do is ensure your business has a certificate of compliance (COC).With this you'll know whether your current electrical installation was tested and whether it complies, says the Health&Safety Advisor.

This will form part of your risk assessment. You also need to ensure an accredited electrical company, registered with the Electrical Contracting Board of South Africa issues your COC.

After this, carry out a risk assessment to identify the hazards and decide how to minimise or prevent them.

Here's what you must keep in mind when you carry out your risk your risk assessment:

  • Identify the hazards
  • Decide who might be harmed, and how
  • Evaluate the risks as a result of the hazards and decide whether your existing measures are enough or if more should be taken
  • If you have five or more employees, record any significant findings. For example, a variation in your earth leakage tests or a change in the work your employees have performed
  • Review your assessment every three months or as soon as there's a change to your electrical installation and revise it if necessary.

Step #2: Reduce the risk

Once you've completed the risk assessment:

  • Use your findings to reduce unacceptable risks from the electrical equipment in your place of work.
  • Reduce these risks and implement control measures.

Remember, 'you're not allowed to work with equipment you've identified as a hazard if you haven't implemented the control measures. The Department of Labour could issue a prohibition notice for that process, should this be the case,' cautions the Health&Safety Advisor.

It's that simple. Use these steps to ensure electricity doesn't pose a risk to your employees.


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