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High Voltage Electrical Systems: How to Handle them Safely and Professionally

06/05/2019

High Voltage Electrical Systems: How to Handle them Safely and Professionally

The term high voltage usually refers to any amount of electrical energy powerful enough to harm a living organism and cause significant property damage. There’s no exact definition of high voltage but according to the National Electrical Code (NEC), it can be a voltage that’s over 600 volts. This can be based on two factors: the danger of electric shock and the possibility of causing a spark in the air. Equipment and conductors that transmit or use high voltage power require particular safety procedures.

High voltage is used in cathode ray tubes, in electrical power distribution, in high power amplifier vacuum tubes, in photomultiplier tubes, to demonstrate arcing, to generate X-rays and particle beams, for ignition, and other industrial, scientific, and military systems.

Dangers of High Voltage Electricity

The risks of electrical hazards are greater in facilities where operations rely on high voltage electrical systems. Accidental contact with high voltage energy may result in catastrophic injury or death. Exposure to high voltage causes instant shock to neurons and muscles in the body. In some cases, the body may throw itself a distance if the shock is strong enough. Being thrown a considerable distance or falling from a great height can cause significant physical injuries. If the voltage is applied across wet human skin, it can cause electrocution, which can result in heart failure and tissue damage.

The human body provides a path for current flow and when the high voltage energy passes through the chest area, it can cause a very strong heart attack. The chances of surviving high voltage electrocution are very low. Other injuries can include burns. Accidental contact with high current can generate an arc, which can totally cook a living tissue.

Such burns can be especially hazardous if a person’s airway is affected. High voltage currents travel at the speed of light and give you little chance to react. As such, it’s unlikely to come out alive in the event of accidental contact or failure in the system.

Apart from bodily injuries, an arc can damage electrical cabinets, wiring, and systems. A short circuit or interruption of high voltage current can instantly shut down an entire work floor. High-energy arcs can melt steel, start a fire or cause violent explosions. If such things happen in your facility, working anywhere near the power source or building can be extremely dangerous. As such, your facility may need to be shut down until the situation is corrected.

Formal Training to Improve Workplace Safety

In the U.S., electrical accidents cause approximately 4,700 injuries. At least one death resulting from working with or around electricity is reported every day. Electricity is a serious hazard, especially when you work with high voltage electrical systems. When you need to keep your employees, customers, and business safe from fires, electrocution, shocks, arc flash, and explosions, there’s no substitute for training.

OSHA requires businesses to offer employees formal training on safety practices and handling procedures when working with or around high voltage systems. This training is recommended for qualified workers who operate, maintain and repair high voltage electrical systems.

With formal training, your employees will learn compliance with legislation, the need for adequate safety measures, identification of electrical hazards, effective use of PPE, proper handling of energized equipment and live parts, protection and lockout procedure, and so on.

Formal training not only protects your workers from experiencing severe and fatal injuries but also saves your business from the associated costs and liabilities. If a catastrophic or fatal accident occurs, your business will lose an important member of the team and use a lot of money in compensation. Investing in safety training would pay off in the longer term.

Electricity does not discriminate, and while the danger of careless handling of electrical appliances and systems has always been mentioned, many people do not pay attention. Training your employees from time to time about the hazard of electricity and the aftermaths of wrongful handling makes them want to be more careful, improving your facility’s safety and cut down on costly OSHA lawsuits and fines. Formal training also instills employees’ confidence and motivates them to maintain a safe work environment.

Do You Need to Train Workers?

Safety training needs to be a top priority for employees who work with or around high voltage electrical systems. But if they received training a while back or you yourself are not educated on proper safety practices and handling procedures, it can be challenging to keep your facility safe. This is why you should consider enrolling your team in the Electrical Safety Seminar For Power Generation, Transmission And Distribution at NTT Training. Service personnel, safety directors, and office administrators will benefit from this training. To complete your registration or learn more about the training, contact our representatives today.

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