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Electrical Injuries and Fatalities Essay (Article)

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Updated: Mar 29th, 2019

Electrical injuries are believed to have started within the last two centuries; however, humans have been exposed to electrocution through lightening for a very long time. These injuries are not frequent but they pose devastating effects with high mortality and morbidity on human beings.

Most of them occur at workplaces although most children are exposed at home. Severity of injuries depends entirely on three factors. The factors are magnitude of electric current, duration of contact and the pathway which current follows in ones body (Koumbourlis, 2002).

The aim of this article is to give an implementation plan for ARC Flash Management and a statement of legal aspect of Occupational Safety and Health topic.

ARC flash is caused by an electrical short circuit which can cause fatal injuries to an electrician or anybody around. According to White (2006), to protect employees from electric shock at workplace, the following strategies should be implemented.

As an employer, a leader or a manager, one should develop zero-tolerance policy towards energized work especially in highly mechanized factories. Although some electrical equipments and tasks are not considered to be energized, electrical hazard analysis should be conducted on them.

Some tasks like racking circuit breakers in and out of their cubicles seem to have no hazards, but they involve breaking electrical connections which are risky to electricians. Therefore, they pose a danger of ARC flash hence requiring ARC flash PPL when racking breakers.

Leaders and employers should frequently go to the working areas to see what their employees are usually doing. This will help to develop a checklist for tracking best employees who can perform particular tasks in the workplace (Gregory, 2003).

Employees should not be restricted to a single activity. Therefore, it is necessary to train all of them to perform any task or attend to hazards associated with those tasks. Supervisors should know how they can do some tasks without exposing themselves to some risks.

As a manager, a leader or an employer, one should develop safe working practices and procedures which can guide workers hence minimize risk of electrical injuries and possible fatalities. These practices may include use of electrical work permits, clearance procedures and switch orders which help in developing the correct step to be used when there is an accident.

Periodical safety audits should be performed at workplace to ensure that workers are always ready. Therefore, workers will always keep up with safe work practices and maintain standard procedures.

Whenever procedures and scope of work change, they are accompanied with different hazards. Organization’s management should conduct briefing sessions when there is a new procedure in place. Change of job scope calls for new briefings which are in line with expected hazards (Gregory, 2003).

When safety award programs are being carried out, high level of caution should be exercised so that the laid down procedures are not compromised. In earlier years, Occupational Safety and Health Association cited many occasions where award programs led to discouraged accident reporting which in turn compromised the laid down procedures and guidelines.

Leaders should be acquainted with regulations and the National Fire Protection Association Standard 70E which addresses electrical safety practices at workplaces.

It is also necessary to use IEEE 1584-2002 to guide management and safety team while performing Arch Flash Hazard calculations at work place. This should be done especially on what is considered hazardous (White, 2006).

It is also necessary to document every single activity which is performed at a workplace.

Finally, one should show good faith effort when undertaking all implementation activities. This helps to save one from a lot of pain when trying to have the above mentioned activities done (White, 2006).

Electric current exposes workers and other people who visit workplaces to various occupational hazards. Generally all members of a workforce are at risk of electrical injuries although most of them are not aware of any hazards at workplaces.

This makes them vulnerable. Injuries due to electrical malfunctioning or occurring while one is carrying out activities at workplace may be prevented, punished or compensated through legal procedures. Legally, organizations are required to comply with Occupational, Safety and Health requirements to ensure that their employees are protected.

Implementation of Arc management plan is a continuous and complicated procedure but when approached carefully, electrical injuries and fatalities can be avoided or reduced.

Many people may see the requirements to be too much, but any committed leader works extra hard to ensure that his workers are protected from electrical hazards. Training workers on various work related practices which safeguard their safety is a key activity. This should be done not only in their specific tasks, but also related tasks.

Various procedures and guidelines have been provided by regulatory bodies and manufactures of electric gadgets used at workplaces. If these procedures and guidelines are followed to the later, electrical injuries will be minimized.

Occupational safety and Health requirements provide a clear legal engagement for employers to prevent, punish and compensate their workers who are involved in electrical injuries at workplace. All employers, work leaders and supervisors ought to comply with such requirements to improve working conditions for their employees.

In conclusion electric injuries and fatalities can be prevented or managed by implementing Arc Flash Management plan. Legal requirements of Occupational, health and Safety help to prevent or mitigate effects of electric accidents at workplaces.

References

Gregory, G. (2003). Preventing Arc Flash Incidents in the Workplace. EC&M, 3.

Koumbourlis. A.C. (2002). Electrical injuries. Crit Care Med, 30(11), 424-430.

White, J. (2006). NFPA 70E: What Does it Mean to You? EHS Today, The magazine for Environment, Health and Safety Leaders. Web.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "Electrical Injuries and Fatalities." March 29, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/electrical-injuries-and-fatalities/.

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