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What are Basic Electrical Safety Measures Preventing Hazards?

Electricity is a fundamental aspect of nature and a significant source of energy that surrounds us. It is widely used in homes and industries, powering machinery and equipment and performing various tasks. From the most basic function of illuminating the lights in our homes and workplaces to more complex activities, electricity is an essential part of our daily lives. Despite its widespread use, electricity can be hazardous, and even small activities such as changing a light bulb or plugging an appliance can expose individuals to various electrical hazards. Therefore, it is essential to exercise caution and be aware of electrical safety guidelines to avoid accidents and injury.

The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 (EAWR) Says:

The purpose of regulations is to ensure people are safe in the workplace and public spaces. They set minimum standards for designing, selecting, installing, operating, and maintaining electrical equipment. The regulations also require that people who work with electrical equipment know what they’re doing.

According to the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 (EAWR), all systems must be made to prevent danger as much as possible. They must also be looked after to prevent danger as much as possible. Any used equipment must be chosen and installed based on the conditions it will be used in, including how much electrical energy is available. Only people who know how to use the equipment should use it. The equipment must be looked after safely and only by people who know what they’re doing.

Employers are responsible for ensuring their employees and anyone affected by their work are safe. They should do whatever’s practical to keep everyone safe. Employers must make sure their employees know how to work safely and give them any training, information, and supervision they need. These regulations apply to all electrical equipment used at work, whether portable or fixed and include anything connected to the mains electricity supply. However, they don’t apply to low-voltage electrical equipment used in homes. ‘Electrical work’ means installing, adding, changing, or removing an electrical system or part of one.

Preventative Steps and Safe Work

Preventative Steps

There are several ways to protect people from electrical hazards, such as insulation, guarding, grounding, and electrical protective devices. If you work in a laboratory, you can minimise electrical risks by following some basic precautions:

– Check equipment wiring before use and replace damaged or frayed cords immediately.

– Always use safe work practices when working with electrical equipment.

– Know the location of shut-off switches and circuit breaker panels and how to operate them. Use them to turn off equipment in case of fire or electrocution.

– Avoid using extension cords unless necessary and only for short periods. If you need more power outlets, request the installation of a new one.

– If using multi-plug adapters, ensure they have circuit breakers or fuses.

– Keep exposed electrical conductors behind shields, such as those used with electrophoresis devices.

– Minimize water or chemical spills on or near electrical equipment.


Before using any electrical cord, ensure it has enough insulation to prevent direct contact with wires. This is especially important in a laboratory, where corrosive chemicals or solvents can damage the insulation. Always inspect the cords before each use. If cords are damaged, repair or replace them immediately, especially in wet areas such as cold rooms or near water baths.

If you experience mild shocks or abnormal heat generation or see arcing, sparking, or smoking from the equipment, take it out of service immediately. Label the equipment as “Do Not Use” and arrange for equipment repair through the manufacturer or your department support. Remember always to label your equipment and keep your lab space safe!


If you’re working with electric devices in a laboratory, ensure that parts operating at 50 or more are protected from accidental contact. You can use Plexiglas shields to cover any exposed parts and prevent contact.


Only use equipment that has two-prong plugs in the lab. This plug provides a path to ground in case of any internal electrical short circuits, which can protect you from electrical shock.

Circuit Protection Devices

Circuit protection devices are designed to stop the flow of electricity in case of a ground fault, overload, or short circuit in the wiring system. Fuses and circuit breakers can prevent wires and components from overheating, which could cause fire hazards. They disconnect the circuit if it becomes overloaded. This is especially useful for equipment left on for long periods, such as stirrers, vacuum pumps, drying ovens, and other electrical appliances.


When working with flammable materials in a laboratory, using safe electrical equipment that does not produce sparks is important. This means using non-sparking induction or air motors that meet Turkish Standard Electric Safety Code explosion resistance specifications. Some common equipment, like stirrers, various outlet strips, ovens, heat tape, hot plates and heat guns, may not meet these requirements, so it is best to avoid using them.

Safe Work Practices

To reduce the risk of injury or fire when working with electrical equipment, follow these practices:

– Stay away from energised or loaded circuits.

– Make sure sources of electricity and exposed circuits are guarded.

– Disconnect the device from the source before servicing or maintaining it.

– Turn off the power source before servicing or repairing electrical equipment.

– If you must handle equipment plugged in, ensure your hands and contacting parts are dry and wear non-conductive gloves and insulated-soled shoes.

– If it is safe, keep one hand away from all conductive material while working with the other hand. This reduces the risk of accidents if current passes through the chest cavity.

– Minimize the use of electrical equipment in cold rooms due to condensation issues. If it is necessary to use such areas, fix the equipment on a wall or vertical panel.

– If the equipment interacts with water or other liquid chemicals, turn off the power at the main switch or circuit breaker and unplug it.

– If someone comes in contact with live electricity, do not touch the equipment, source, cord, or person. Detach the power source from the circuit breaker or pull out the plug with a leather belt.

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