8 Electrical Safety Tips

As we celebrate our 100th year in business in 2015, we embark on another century of commitment to our policyholders. Our mission is to protect the livelihoods of our policyholders, and, as the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. In keeping with that theme, we’ll celebrate our 100th year in business with 100 important tips to help identify, evaluate and prevent dangers that could result in financial loss or injury in a year-long “Safe with Society” blog series.

Working with electricity can be dangerous. Engineers, electricians, maintenance personnel, and others work with electricity directly, including minor electrical repairs to work on cable harnesses and circuit assemblies. Office workers, retail, hospitality, contractor, restaurant, and other employees work with electricity indirectly and may also be exposed to electrical hazards.

Normal wear on extension cords can loosen or expose wires. Cords that are not 3-wire type, are not designed for hard usage, or that have been modified increase your risk of contacting electric current and receiving an electric shock.

Follow these tips when using devices powered by electricity:

  1. Do not modify electrical cords or use them incorrectly.
  2. Use factory-assembled, UL-Listed cord sets and only 3-wire extension cords.
  3. Use extension cords only for light-duty, temporary use (two weeks maximum). Plan to hard-wire items that will be powered on a long-term basis.
  4. Remove cords from receptacles by pulling on the plugs, not the cords.
  5. Visually inspect all electrical cords before use.
  6. Remove from service any cords that are frayed, cut, missing ground prongs, or have exposed wiring.
  7. Do not run extension cords from one floor level to the next or through doorways where doors can be closed onto cords.
  8. Use only GFCI outlets in wet areas, near sinks or tubs, or where there is a potential for liquids and electric devices to be used.

Click here for a helpful handout on electrical safety to share with your employees.

Our risk control team is available to help facilitate your safety and health efforts. Learn more about this collaborative and consultative partnership, as well as the exclusive safety resources developed to keep your workplace safe and profitable.

 

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44 thoughts on “8 Electrical Safety Tips

  1. Justin Knox

    Thank you for the help. I had to hire an electrician to repair some damage from a minor electrical fire in my house and it was a major wake up call for me. I like your idea to visually inspect all chords before using them. That’s such a simple reminder, but could really help prevent a serious accident down the road.

    Reply
  2. Bhor

    Safety tips and info are always helpful and much-needed. My opinion is that even professionals need to read the beginner safety tips. Just because they usually do electrical work everyday and are getting used to “knowing everything”. It’s really helpful to remind everyone, even experts, that this is electricity after all. And it’s deadly. So everyone must stay safe and be careful.

    Reply
  3. Nash Rich

    I have a lot of music stuff and those of you have a lot of electronic instruments and stuff know that you have to have very specific power supplies for all of them. Well, it turns out I was using the wrong one for one of my keyboards and it got fried. So I can agree that you should use electrical cords correctly. Now I have to have a funeral for my trusty keyboard.

    Reply
  4. Bob Lowe

    These are some great tips. I think it is a great idea to use GFCI outlets wherever wet areas are. They act as a breaker and shut off when sometime bad happens. It could potentially safe someone form being accidentally electrocuted. Of course it is important that someone like a qualified electrician install them.

    Reply
  5. Kyle Wayne

    This was a helpful post about electrical safety. I learned a lot about preventing shock and potential fire dangers. I am wary of handling the repair myself, so I will look for a qualified professional to help bring my system back to safe standards.

    Reply
  6. Lillian Moore

    I love the level of safety that you guys suggest. The idea to not modify the electrical cords is probably the best idea for me, since I am a constant clutz. My husband is always trying to fix our electrical problems himself, I am not sure if that is the wisest thing to do. Do you think that electrical issues are a safe thing to fix on your own or should you always use a professional? Either way thank you for this article, it really helped me see all the possible dangers that could come from electricity if you’re not careful.

    Reply
  7. James Bergman

    Safety tips are always a good thing to talk about. Mostly because people often forget or ignore them. I know that I often struggle with pulling cords out by the plug and not the cord. It is easy to forget safety instructions, and pays to get reminders every now and again. So, thanks for your post.

    Reply
  8. Brooke McAvoy

    I appreciate such specific and applicable safety tips! However, when you say not to modify electrical cords, do you mean not to use those little devices that make more places in an outlet? I’m asking because I happen to have a couple of these and I use them every day. If this is unsafe I can probably figure something else out, though I’d be open to suggestions. Thank you!

    Reply
  9. Jade Brunet

    I want my family to understand that safety is a priority in our home. Thank you for this information of what to do when using devices powered with electricity. It is a good idea to visually inspect cords before use. Another thing to do would be to contact an electrician for answers to questions or concerns.

    Reply
  10. Jasper Whiteside

    I thought it would be super frustrating if I ever had an electrical job that I couldn’t finish because I didn’t know enough about the tools and parts and techniques to complete the job safely. I can see the sense with what you say about modifying electrical cords. I am super relieved to find out that there are tools out there designed to get the job done and keep me safe!

    Reply
  11. Noah Jones

    Thank you for sharing this tips. it is important for everyone to understand the safety with electricity. Also, regularly check your electric equipment to reduces the risk of electrical failure.

    Reply
  12. Troy Blackburn

    That’s interesting what you said about how even just normal wear on extension cords can cause them to loosen and expose wires within. I’ve heard that more than 25% of house fires are started from some kind of appliance that is not maintained. I’ll have to take a look around my house now and make sure that all is in order with my own appliances!

    Reply
  13. Reginald Pennyworth

    I didn’t know that you should only use extension cords for light duty and temporary use. I am currently remodeling my home and doing a lot of the electrical on my own. Maybe one day, with the help from your blog, I will be a self-made electrician.

    Reply
  14. John Ferrell

    I like that you mentioned that working with electricity can be dangerous. If I needed to get my electrical done then I would want to hire a professional. I think that if you are working with anything electrical then safety should come first.

    Reply
  15. Tiffany Locke

    Removing any cords that are frayed, cut, missing ground prongs, or have exposed wiring is excellent advice. Electricity can be quit dangerous, even though it helps provide us with so many useful things. I would imagine that getting help from a professional is a good way to make sure that all your electrical cords are in good working condition and will keep you safe.

    Reply
  16. Jade Brunet

    My sister would love to have garage lights on her house and knows she needs the help of an electrician to install them. It is good to know that working with electricity can be dangerous and that electricians work directly with electricity and can handle circuit assemblies. Interviewing several electricians before hiring would be a good way of finding if the person is really capable of these things.

    Reply
  17. Marcus Coons

    Thank you for talking about how it is important to make sure you do not modify your electrical cords to avoid accidents. It makes sense that taking the time to understand how your plugs work can help you avoid electrical failures on your home. Personally, I would want to make sure I consult with an electrician to make sure all my outlets are working properly so my cords do not short.

    Reply
  18. Max

    My wife and I need some electrical work done in our basement as we’re getting some remodeling done. I’m glad that you talked about some safety tips when it comes to electricity, and how you don’t want to run chords from one level of the home to the other. This is part of the reason that we want some new electrical work done, so that we don’t have a chord running up the stairs anymore for our TV to work! Thanks for the tip!

    Reply
  19. Derek Dewitt

    My wife and I are wiring up some lights in the basement but we want to make sure we do it safely. I like that you suggest not running cords from one floor to another because the wire can get caught in doors. We’ve frayed a lot of cables doing this in the past so we’ll be sure to avoid this. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  20. Jeremy Thompson

    I like how you mentioned that some extensions cords are made only to be used for a maximum of two weeks, so it wouldn’t be wise to hard-wire items that are to be used for long-term into these light-duty extension cords. This is very helpful to learn since I would hate to cause a fire in our new home due to extension cords and the likes. I’ll be sure to have our home’s electrical repairs done early by a professional if needed. Thanks!

    Reply
  21. Jordan Curry

    I found it very interesting when you mentioned that AC power is really dangerous but DC power not so much. I wonder why that is? If I ever have a problem with my boat I always consult a professional about the circuit path or a breakage but it was interesting to read and learn about how it works. Thanks for the awesome info!

    Reply
  22. Penelope Smith

    This is some really good information about electrical safety. It is good to know that it would be smart to visually inspect all of your cords. It does seem like a good thing to do when you need to if you want to prevent electrical fires. Having an electrician check your wiring every now and then would be really smart.

    Reply
  23. ramakrishnan

    The tips given on safety measures while working with electrical devices are very important. It should be followed properly to avoid accidents. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  24. Sutton Turner

    I like how you said to visually inspect all electrical cords before use. I am thinking of calling an electrical repair company because one of my wires looks stripped. Thanks for the tips on electrical safety.

    Reply
  25. Michael Lee

    Electrical repairs are something that I do not mess with. I remember in college, we had an outlet that we not getting power to it and my roommate decided to try and fix it after I had tried multiple times. He was doing something with it and the next moment it shot fire our at him and blew a fuse. We learned that we should go flip the breaker before we try any repairs.

    Reply
  26. Electrician Kendall

    It is essential that you never attempt to fix an electrical issue when the power is still on. Contact a professional in case of a persistent electrical issue, or if you feel the repair is more than you can handle.

    Reply
  27. C.C. Hunt

    Someone might look at these and say, “Hey, most of these are common sense.” Yes, but as anyone who’s worked as an EMT, nurse, etc. will tell you, there are a surprising number of electrical accidents based on careless acts. These tips are good for anyone to go over and even keep posted on a fridge.

    Reply
  28. Sawyer Davidson

    When I was younger, my dad always yelled at me when I broke “Remove cords from receptacles by pulling on the plugs, not the cords.” Turns out he was right! Now I can yell at the kids around me when they break this cardinal rule. Every rule here is important and I am glad I refreshed my safety memories here.

    Reply
  29. REED Electrical

    Thanks for sharing these electrical safety tips! Most of the time, in our house, extension cords are the most abused electrical power cable as my kids just plugs everything in there. I will be surely taking precaution now, thanks for the advice!

    Reply
  30. Boris Arriola

    Thanks for the valuable information.

    I like to fix every minor issue in my home. Whenever I get any problem, firstly I try to figure out actually what happened there. If I find something common, I try to fix it myself. After completing several tasks over the last few years, I consider myself a mid-level DIY expert.

    But electrical works are always critical and I never want to touch anything that relates to electrical issues. Without giving a second thought, I ask for a professional electrician. I don’t care whether it is a major or minor problem. Because it can destroy all of the electrical statuses of home. I try to avoid the risk of my family members.

    Those mentioned tips are essential for new mechanics as well as experienced professionals. A little mistake can be dangerous for future life.

    Honestly, I’ve got the basic idea and learned the foundation rules. I’m going to read more articles on this site to add electrical knowledge in my DIY skills.

    Reply
  31. Laurel Larsen

    I liked your tip to watch for extension cords that have exposed wires. My uncle’s house is being remodeled and I’ve noticed a few extension cords that seem exposed. I think I’ll just tell him he should hire a professional to come help get all the electrical stuff squared away.

    Reply
  32. Cindy

    I prefer these thoughts. It always drives me insane to not be able to notice or locate things so any kind of hack that makes life easier is awesome.

    Reply

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