When attempting to improve the overall safety of your facility, one of the best places to start is the electrical wiring and equipment located in your building. These systems can be extremely hazardous to the facility if not set up properly.
In order to improve safety of your wiring and other electrical equipment, you’ll want to review the standards set forth in the OSHA guidelines. These standards are under section 1910.305, and cover a wide range of different situations regarding the electrical equipment.
One big reason why it is such a good idea to work on improving the safety in this area is because it is consistently one of the top sections that OSHA issues citations from. Since so many facilities struggle in this area, it should be a focus for improvement.
What is covered?
This section covers quite a few different topics related to electrical wiring and equipment. The following are the main sections that are listed:
Wiring Methods – This section covers the way things are wired, listing the specifics on how you should be running the lines to ensure they are safe.
Cabinets, Boxes & Fittings – You’ll learn about how conductors need to enter these items, including how to protect them from abrasion and other hazards.
Electrical Switches – knowing how electrical switches are to be used safely is covered in this section. This also touches on how to label each switch so it is clear what it is for.
Enclosures for Damp or Wet Locations – This segment covers the importance of keeping moisture and water away from electrical devices. This is important for minimizing the risk of shock or short circuits.
Conductors for General Wiring – Knowing what conductors to use, and when is important for any type of wiring within your facility.
Flexible Cords & Cables – Using flexible cords and cables is a great way to get power where it needs to go, but there are some risks associated with them so make sure to review this section closely.
Portable Cables over 600 Volts – Portable cables can be especially dangerous since people may not expect to see them. Higher voltage cables can put people at serious risk.
Fixture Wires – Wiring fixtures properly will prevent accidents and help to ensure the equipment has a supply of clean electricity at all times.
Equipment for General Use – Running electricity to commonly used items like lamps, receptacles and other electrical items is important, even though people don’t typically come in direct contact with the electrical wiring of these items.
Going through and getting a good understanding of each of these areas will help ensure your facility is operating as safe as possible when it comes to the electrical systems. Part of the standards apply to how these types of systems are to be installed, but that is really just one small portion of the overall safety requirements.
Electrical Hazard Communication
One of the most important parts of this set of standards is related to hazard communication for electrical systems. This essentially means that all facilities need to make sure everyone in the facility is aware of any risks when they are working with or near electrical wiring or systems.
The maintenance personal are some of the most obvious people who work directly with the electrical systems, so they should be given training on how to spot potential hazards while they are working.
Other people, however, should also be made aware of when there is a potential hazard. This can easily be done by using visual alerts such as signs, labels and other alerts.
Labeling Electrical Wires & Systems
Whenever putting up new electrical wires or systems, you’ll want to make sure they are properly labeled. This typically means putting a label on the wiring itself, as well as the final outlet or switch where it is connected. Clearly marking the wires with what they are being used for, how much voltage is present, and any other pertinent safety information can help to reduce the risks of people getting injured.
The easiest way to create these custom labels is to have a LabelTac printer on site so you can print off the exact labels that you need. With this printer on site you won’t have to waste time ordering custom labels, or worrying about when they will arrive.
Creating Safety Signs
Another great way to improve the hazard communication of your facility is to create custom safety signs that can be used to alert people to potential dangers. These signs are most often used for temporary hazards, such as when someone is using an extension cord.
These types of risks are often the most dangerous because people don’t know to watch out for them, unless there is some sort of sign in place. Creating custom signs is simple when you have a large LabelTac printer available. These printers can make oversized labels, which can be placed in an area either for a short period of time, or as long as they are needed.
In addition to the convenience, you’ll also save money by using an in-house printer rather than ordering custom labels from a third party company. In almost all cases it is far cheaper to create your own labels than it would be to order them, even with the upfront costs associated with purchasing an industrial label printer.
Immediate & Long Term Safety
When working on improving the electrical safety of your facility, it is important to come up with solutions that will provide immediate benefits, such as labeling the wiring and placing signs in areas where there are risks. These are often quick fixes that you can implement within days or weeks of identifying the improvement opportunities, which is why they can be so rewarding.
In addition, however, you will want to make plans on how you can continuously maintain and advance the overall safety of your wiring and electrical systems. This can take some planning, and effort, but when you take the time to learn the OSHA 1910.305 standards, you will be able to benefit the facility as a whole.