We cannot hear, see or smell electricity. Therefore, nothing warns us of its dangers. There are five safety rules, so qualified electricians can work safely on electrical systems. They ensure that an electrical system is de-energized and protect electricians at work.
Here the five safety rules are briefly and quickly explained for your everyday work. Also, we point you to where you can get electrical safety signs and printers for bulk safety tags print.
5 Safety Rules To Prevent Electrical Dangers
Security Rule 1: Unlock
The first priority is always to switch off the electrical system on all sides and all poles. This is necessary because voltage can reach the work site from several sides – for example, via measuring lines or two-way circuits.
Always do the unlocking yourself so that you have the greatest possible security. If this is not possible, get a confirmation in writing or orally that the system has been activated.
Safety Rule 2: Secure Against Being Switched On Again
Immediately after disconnecting, secure the system against being switched on again. The best protection here is a padlock on the circuit breaker, which only you can unlock again. Other methods are adhesive foils, a prohibition sign, or electrical danger signs.
With electrical danger signs, you should make sure that it is clearly assigned to the circuit and cannot fall. In addition, always rely on another protective measure. Taking removable fuses with you is best, and using a locking element instead is best.
Safety Rule 3: Determine the Absence of Voltage
Voltage can still be present even after it has been switched off and secured against being switched on again, for example, if a backup power supply starts up or because you have mixed up a line. Therefore, you must determine that the system is free of voltage. This may only be carried out by a qualified electrician or a person trained in electrical engineering using suitable equipment.
Always use a two-pole voltage tester for this. Check the voltage tester before use and determine that there is no voltage on all poles, i.e., on each conductor. The voltage tester shows you that a line is voltage-free via an optical or acoustic signal.
Also, observe application restrictions or other information in the operating instructions or on the type plate of the voltage tester. If a device isn’t approved for outdoor use, it’s not safe there either – and can put you in serious danger.
Safety Rule 4: Earth and Short Circuit
The fourth safety rule, “Earth and short-circuit”, should always be carried out in this order. So first, connect the system to the earthing system or earth electrode, then short-circuit it.
- In the case of high-voltage systems, earthing and short-circuiting take place at the point of work and the switch-off point.
- Grounding and short-circuiting are not necessary for low-voltage systems with a nominal voltage of up to 1,000 volts if you have observed safety rules 1 to 3.
- Exceptions are overhead lines: Here, earthing and short-circuiting must take place at the work site.
Safety Rule 5: Cover or Fence Off Adjacent Live Parts
Even if you have carried out safety rules 1 to 4, there is still a risk of touching live parts near your work site when working – either directly or with a ladder, tools, or similar. To protect yourself against it, you must cover or fence off these parts.
If you decide on a cover, you have to make sure that it cannot slip. When protected by distance, the work area must be clearly marked, for example, by a cordon with a warning notice.
Also, protect your body, for example, with a helmet with face protection or highly insulated gloves.
Even Disregarding a Safety Rule Can Lead to an Accident!
The five safety rules should become second nature to electricians because they can save lives. Disregarding a single safety rule can lead to an electrical accident that can be fatal.
A trade association found out that violations of the five safety rules are responsible for 45% of electrical accidents. First and foremost is the lack of activation. This is followed by violations of the safety rules “determining the absence of voltage,” “covering or fence off neighboring live parts,” “securing against being switched on again,” and “grounding and short-circuiting.”
These rules must be noted correctly in any industry or workplace. And most companies invest in wayfinding guides to help inform users about the environment, especially the electrical department. Thus, large companies that’ll use several safety tags should invest in printers to print all required labels and guides.