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Electrical Safety

  • Electrical Safety: What are those little white knobs?

    Normally I’m a person willing to try almost anything once. Growing up was no different. We grew up in a in a big old farmhouse in Wisconsin, with a neighboring dairy farm. The Pasture was hemmed in by an electrically charged wire to keep the cows from visiting other neighbors. Of course we found out the hard way while chasing an errant baseball into the field. You bet we got a charge out of it. Later Dad, while trying to keep a straight face, warned us that those little white knobs were called insulators and were a signal the fence was an electric fence. We did have a little fun with our city friends after that however. Now, let me get back to dad. We grew up in an age where you gave it your best shot at repairing almost everything. You glazed your own windows, repaired rubber boots in time for winter, restrung your own ball glove, and taped up the baseball when the cover started to come off, and Mom yarned socks with a light bulb and a yarning needle. This blog is about Electrical safety, but I’ve got to tell you that pennies back then were used for more than bubble gum. Our fuse box was full of them. I remember dad was repairing the water heater in the basement one Saturday afternoon, when inexplicably there was a loud bang, the lights went out, and my brothers and I were introduced to a fair amount of new vocabulary as dad picked himself up off the floor. Bath night had to be put on hold. I decided then that electricity is something I didn’t want to mess with. I think that was a good decision as now I’m able to look back on those events and be able to tell the stories while reminding my own boys about electrical safety.

    I’m told that electricity is not that complicated. The results of electricity are far reaching and without it the world in which we live would be vastly different. We can see the results, and we can also see the results of its dangers. OSHA reports that of the top ten most frequently sited OSHA standards violated in 2013, three of them were electrical related;

    *Electrical, wiring methods, components and equipment, general industry (29 CFR 1910.305) *Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout) general industry (29 CFR 1910.147) *Electrical systems design, general requirements, general industry (29 CFR 1910.303)

    OSHA further reports that in Construction Safety, which is handled by a different category from general industry, that in 2013 of the 775 total deaths, 9% were from electrocutions. https://www.osha.gov/oshstats/commonstats.html

    As we continue to progress in a world of discovery, scientists are finding new ways to generate electricity; Sun, water, wind, nuclear, etc. Of course this creates new problems for those charged with not only delivering it to us safely and efficiently, but also for professionals who make a living at installing it and safe guarding its users. Did I say professionals? Yes this is one of those miracles of nature where I would highly recommend allowing a professionally licensed electrician to do the work. They have been trained to do it and can share their knowledge of electrical safety, because not all electricity warns us with little white knobs.

  • Technician Electrocuted

    It did seem like life’s little irony when a Verizon technician died due to electrocution in late 2011. Last March, the company was fined the maximum possible penalty for workplace deaths, after failing to comply to safety standards despite multiple reminders from the authorities. Read more about the victim’s tragic fate and the citations filed against Verizon in Hannah Miet’s article for the New York Times.

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