Regular or periodic electrical maintenance work is recommended for most residential, commercial and industrial facilities. There are a variety of reasons for this: to make sure that electrical equipment is well-maintained, and that repairs or upgrades are made whenever necessary. Periodic maintenance also enables you to catch any electrical issues or problems early, before the problem worsens and later on requires even more time, energy, and expense to fix. Most of the work that electricians do involve electrical maintenance work, whether one provides general electrical services, or delivers more specialized work. In all areas of electrical work, regular preventive maintenance is important.
But even with run-of-the-mill electrical maintenance work, an electrician still deals with risks and hazards while in the performance of their work. There are, of course, more physical dangers, such as falling from a height, getting trapped in a confined space, or the risk of having heavy objects fall on you. But there will always be the risk of electricity-related accidents, whether it is receiving an electrical shock, getting burned, or being electrocuted. Below are a few ways to minimize risks during electrical maintenance work:
- Carry out a risk assessment
Before testing any electrical equipment, a thorough risk assessment must be conducted. In a risk assessment, you can identify voltage, charge, or current levels, as well as the nature of the environment. You also consider the possible hazards that are present, and the potential harm it may cause. If there are any precautions necessary in the situation you are in, do them quickly and efficiently. It may involve evacuating people from a room or building, turning off the power supply to a building or a certain area, calling emergency medical personnel if necessary, and equipping yourself with proper safety gear and equipment to be able to do the work while minimizing the risk to yourself as you do.
- Managing electrical testing
If, according to your risk assessment, you can proceed with the testing of your electrical equipment and devices, then proceed carefully and cautiously. Be careful and exercise a greater amount of care in areas or with equipment which you have identified to carry great risk.
But even if you are carrying out electrical testing in low-risk situations, be aware that electricity-related accidents are still possible, and still potentially dangerous. Part of your responsibility involves giving relevant advice and information to the people who are present, or those who are living or working in the same place. Identify electrical risk hazards that will be there while you are working, and make sure they understand what they can and cannot do while electrical testing measures are being conducted. The purpose then is to ensure people’s safety.
Have a space dedicated to electrical testing, even if only temporary. During the process of your work, keep people away from the area, and make sure that this is strictly observed until you finish your work and all the scattered electrical equipment has been cleaned up. Not only will a constant flow of people in your work area be dangerous, but it will also adversely affect the performance of your services because of the distraction it may cause.
- When performing electrical testing, make sure the power is off
While doing electrical testing, or while doing maintenance and repair work on various electrical equipment and devices, always make sure that the power is turned off in the relevant area. When possible, conduct your work in a non-hazardous area, preferably places where there is no water present.
Finally, make sure that you are working safely. Wear the appropriate clothes, have a hard hat if working at a construction site and observe all the precautions of working with electricity.