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What is Electrical Safety

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Safety is the number one job for every individual, including employee and employer in the workplace. Security is particularly important for those who install and service electrical system. It is quite disheartening if a loved one dies or suffers irreparable damage from electrical hazards. No matter the parameters put in place for safety, it is still the worker’s responsibility to prevent and protect themselves from electrical hazards. Electrical hazard has always been recognized, but many people suffer from loss and damages annually.

According to statistics, 95% of electricians have been shocked or injured during the job. Electrocution is one of the leading cases in occupational hazards. There is an obligation to protect people, especially electricians, from the danger of electricity. When there is a problem with the electrical system, it is subjected to thermal and magnetic force. These two forces can lead to damage to the system and the equipment. Most times, it is usually accompanied by explosions, fire outbreaks, and other hazards. Some of these hazards may lead to people’s death around the area or even personnel working with the system. Also, it can shut down a plant.

With all this life-threatening hazard involves in the electric system, there is a need to educate people and personnel on safety to prevent future threats. To better understand electrical safety, there is a need to understand electricity itself. Electricity is defined as the free movement of electrons in an electrical circiut., and the electrical current is measured in amperes.

What is an electrical hazard?

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An electrical hazard is a situation where a worker or individual comes in contact with an energized electric equipment or conductor. This may lead to the sustenance of injury or possible death, which may result from shock, arc flash, and thermal burn.

Types of electrical hazard

The different type of hazard that may result from an electrical accident

  1. Electrocution: can be tragic has it leads to the death of an individual
  2. Electric burns: this can be very severe, depending on the level of exposure. It usually affects the hands and feet, the entry points of the current into the body.
  3. Shock: this occurs when an individual comes in contact with a live wire or equipment that is not grounded.
  4. Secondary injuries: it means indirect injuries sustained from electrical accidents. For instance, it was being thrown off the ladder.
  5. Spark ignition source
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Causes of Electrical Hazard

There are different causes of electric hazard, but the three major ones are listed below

  • Unsafe equipment or improper installation
  • Dangerous work practice, for example, not wearing a glove
  • Unsafe environment

Electrical Faults

The electrical power system is a complex and integrated system that involves the generation, distribution, transmission of electrical current. This are processes that are bound to develop faults due to some factors. An electrical fault can be defined as an abnormal condition that may result from equipment failure, environmental conditions, and human errors.  In other words, it can be defined as an abnormal condition of the electrical system, which damages the electrical equipment and interrupts the normal flow of electric currents. This fault leads to a reduction in insulation strength between phase conductors and earth.

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Classification of Electrical Faults

Knowing the type of electrical faults gives the idea of what you are dealing with if you encounter any of them. Fault detection and analysis provide a picture of the possible solution to any of these faults and how they can lead to an electrical hazard. Flaws lead to the deviation of voltages and current from the standard states. Electrical faults can be categorized into two:

  1. Open Circuit fault
  2. Close circuit fault

Open circuit Fault: available fault usually results from the failure of one or two conductors. It is also known as the series fault because it takes place in series with the line. The open-circuit fault is further divided into three:

  • One conductor open fault
  • Two conductors open fault
  • Three conductors open fault

Short Circuit fault: this is the most common and dangerous type of electrical fault, also known as shunt fault. This occurs when short-circuit current flows through the circuit and leads to damage of the insulation between phases. Short circuit fault can further be categorized into two

  • Symmetrical fault
  • Unsymmetrical fault

Symmetrical fault:  this type of defect is not shared, and when it occurs, it results in severe damage to the electrical system equipment. Symmetrical faults occur mostly at terminal generators. It may arise due to resistances of the arc between the conductors; it is also a fault which involves all three phases. The symmetrical fault is further classified into two:

Three-phase to ground Fault: this type of fault occurs due to the breakdown of insulation between all the three steps. It rarely happens, but when it does can be severe.

Three-phase short-circuited: it occurs due to the breakdown of insulation between all the three phases. The occurrence rate is about 2-3% in a power system. It is the most severe fault that involves large currents.

Unsymmetrical fault: this type of fault is prevalent, and they are less severe than a symmetrical fault. It occurs due to current differing in magnitude and phases; an unbalance the system. They are majorly classified into three:

The line to ground Fault:  this is the most frequent fault in the electrical power system. it occurs due to insulation breakdown between the line and the earth

Line-to-Line fault: it occurs due to heavy wind; it occurs when two conductors are short-circuited. The heavy wind may cause the two conductors to touch each other, leading to a short circuit.

Double Line-to-Line Ground Fault: it occurs when there is a breakdown of insulation between two phases and simultaneously an analysis of insulation between the third.

How to Prevent Electrical Hazards

This is general practice and precautions to prevent electrical hazards

  1. Practice safe working ethics when dealing with electrical equipment’s
  2. Exposed electrical conductors should be placed behind a shield
  3. Always avoid water or chemical spill on electrical equipment.
  4. Limit the use of extension cords
  5. Always inspect the wiring of equipment and, if damaged, replace it before use.

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