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By Thaddeus W. Fowler, Ed.D. and Karen K. Miles, Ph.D.

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Extra resources for Electrical Safety: Safety and Health for Electrical Trades Student Manual

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To work on or near live parts, you must do the following: ❑ Have a written live-work permit for the work to be done. ❑ Wear the right PPE to protect against electric shock and arc flash. Never wear clothing made from synthetic materials, such as acetate, nylon, polyester, polypropylene, or rayon – alone or combined with cotton. Such clothing is dangerous because it can burn and melt into your skin. The PPE that’s needed depends on the type of electric work being done. The minimum PPE required would be an untreated natural fiber long-sleeve shirt and long pants plus safety glasses with side shields.

OSHA requires employers to provide a work environment free of safety and health hazards. The NEC and NFPA 70E require that GFCIs be used in these highrisk situations: ❑ Electricity is used near water. ❑ The user of electrical equipment is grounded (by touching grounded material). ❑ Circuits are providing power to portable tools or outdoor receptacles. ❑ Temporary wiring or extension cords are used. Specifically, GFCIs must be installed in bathrooms, garages, outdoor areas, crawl spaces, unfinished basements, kitchens, and near wet bars.

Many electric motors only operate safely in a narrow range of voltages and will not work properly at voltages different than the voltage listed on the nameplate. Even though light bulbs operate (somewhat dimmer) at lowered voltages, do not assume electric motors will work correctly at less-than-required voltages. Also, when electric motors start or operate under load, they require more current. The larger the gauge of the wire, the longer a cord can be without causing a voltage drop that could damage tools and equipment.

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