Industrial worksites — like factories, power plants and warehouses — are often dangerous environments for workers. Large equipment and heavy objects, among other threats, pose severe safety risks.

While managers can take various steps to improve warehouse safety, accidents still happen — especially when supervisors overlook specific elements that can contribute to an unsafe working environment.

Electrical maintenance is an ideal way to reduce accidents and prevent injuries from electrocution and incidents like electrical fires.

How Electrical Maintenance Can Help — or Hinder — Industrial Safety

Electrical tools and equipment are essential to the functioning of any industrial site. If not properly maintained, they can pose serious safety threats to all workers on location. Contact with an electrical current can cause severe injuries on its own, and may also lead to other accidents — like falls and struck-by incidents.

According to data from the Electrical Safety Foundation International, there were 160 electrical fatalities in 2018 — an 18% increase over the year before and 3% of all labor fatalities across the economy that year. 2018 also saw the most electrical fatalities since 2011. Despite improved technology and increased interest in worksite safety, electricity and electrical equipment still pose safety issues for industrial workers.

Failing electrical equipment can quickly become dangerous. Faulty wires can cause fires. Damaged and punctured wire insulation can cause electrical conductors to contact tools, other equipment and workers' bodies.

If maintenance isn't a priority, natural wear and tear can easily lead to unsafe working conditions.

Improving a Worksite's Electrical Maintenance Strategy

Identifying and preventing common risks is the best way to improve a site's electrical safety. Moving electrical equipment from place to place, for example, can pose significant safety risks. B

oth the process of relocating the equipment and the new location for the item can create severe problems without the right approach. Taking steps to ensure safety during the generator move, and that its target destination is suitable for safe operations, will help improve electrical safety and potentially reduce electrical maintenance needs. For example, it's good practice to move a generator using a truck that can safely transport and center the load.

Adequate maintenance safety practices can also help. Regular and as-needed maintenance checks will help ensure equipment is in good working condition — and help technicians catch early signs of wear or failure. It can help you avoid both accidents and electrical issues that can lead to severe damage to other equipment, or even a fire. 

Providing employees with the right safety gear for working with and maintaining electrical equipment — typically personal protective equipment (PPE) in the form of rubber gloves, rubber boots and safety visors or glasses — will also help prevent accidents. Insulating protective equipment, like rubber hoods, hoses and insulated blankets, can provide some additional safety, and may be especially useful in certain situations.

It's also possible to improve your worksite's approach to electrical maintenance with new technology. Wireless sensors and IoT devices, which can send back real-time information on equipment operations, can help site staff track machine performance. Over time, this information can help them quickly identify signs that may indicate damage or potential machine failure.

As a result, they'll be able to respond to issues the second they become apparent. It can help your maintenance technicians repair equipment before it fails or becomes dangerous, even without a scheduled maintenance check.

Electrical Maintenance Can Keep Workers Safe

Electricity is necessary for an industrial worksite, but poses major safety risks if workers don't take maintenance seriously. Correct electrical safety practices — like PPE, new maintenance strategies and safe movement of equipment — can all help keep workers safe around electricity.