The Electrical Safety Foundation International has dedicated May as National Electrical Safety Month to spread awareness of potential hazards and promote safe practices in the home and workplace. At DENS, we understand electrical safety’s critical role in daily lab operations and are committed to fostering safe practices both internally and with our clients.
The Importance of Electrical Safety
Every workplace, regardless of industry, faces electrical hazards. But hazards are especially prevalent in Life Sciences environments. Many experiments require the use of flammable, volatile, or otherwise hazardous chemicals and substances. Faulty electrical equipment, inadequate grounding, or poorly designed electrical systems can cause sparks, fires, or electrocution, posing a significant risk to researchers, lab technicians, and other personnel working in these environments.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, almost 3 in 5 workplace injuries were caused by direct exposure to electricity in 2020. The most common electrical hazards include:
- Electrical shock – Occurs when electrical equipment is not grounded correctly and results in an electrical current passing through the body, causing burns, muscle contractions, or possibly death.
- Arc flash – Arises when an electrical current jumps between two points, causing severe burns, vision loss, and hearing damage.
- Fires and explosions – Happens when equipment is overloaded or not correctly maintained and can cause significant property damage and injuries or fatalities.
- Chemical spills – Certain chemicals can create a conductive path for electricity, increasing the risk of electrical shock or fires.
Faulty electrical equipment or wiring can also cause power outages or equipment malfunctions, which can disrupt important research and result in costly downtime. A safe electrical system minimizes the risk of electrical accidents by ensuring that electrical equipment is installed correctly, grounded, and maintained.
Benefits of Electrical Safety
Along with keeping occupants safe and operations running smoothly, there are many benefits to staying in compliance and prioritizing electrical safety:
- Dependability – Ensuring that electrical equipment is properly installed and maintained minimizes hazards and risk of equipment failure.
- Efficiency – Sustaining a safe electrical system can improve energy efficiency and reduce energy waste.
- Sustainability – Faulty wiring or equipment can cause unnecessary energy waste and contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. Keeping electrical systems running smoothly can help reduce your business’s environmental footprint.
- Cost Savings – Investing in a safe electrical system and maintaining equipment can save long-term costs by preventing costly repairs, energy waste, and downtime.
A safe electrical system can also reduce the risk of electrical accidents and help you avoid costly legal fees, medical expenses, and workers' compensation claims.
Implementing a CMMS can streamline the maintenance of this system by managing repair dates, monitoring activities, and optimizing equipment use.
Other ways to minimize risk include:
- Reviewing electrical safety protocols and procedures to ensure that they are up-to-date and in compliance
- Identifying potential hazards
- Conducting regular safety training
- Creating a plan of action in case of electrical fire or explosion
How DENS Can Help
National Electrical Safety Month is an important reminder of the potential dangers associated with electricity and the significance of maintaining a safe electrical system. By following best practices for hazard prevention, businesses can create a culture of safety and prevent harmful risks.
Keeping all employees and building occupants safe is DENS’ number-one priority, and a secure electrical system is essential to this objective. Our in-house, licensed electricians perform installations, maintenance, and repair to exacting standards and work to instill a culture of safety at every client site.
For more information about our electrical services, visit our MEP services page.