Electrical Testing – Managing Risk & Identifying Hazards
Date: 24 August 2016
When it comes to electrical testing in the workplace it is important to consider managing risk & identifying hazards wherever it is that you are conducting a risk assessment.
Part of that assessment would be determining what could happen if someone is exposed to a hazard or danger, and the consequence of that, and the likelihood of it happening.
A risk assessment is unnecessary if ways of controlling the dangers are already known. However, for work on energised electrical equipment, the Work, Health & Safety (WHS) regulations require that such an assessment be carried out.
Managing risk is crucial as it can help you determine: the likelihood of an electrical risk; whether existing measures are sufficient; what action you need to consider or take to avoid an electrical risk; and how soon the action needs to occur.
To assess the risk associated with electrical hazards, you need to think about: the potential impact of the hazard; how severe it might be, for example, could direct contact cause electrocution, fire or explosion causing serious burns or death?
You also need to ascertain how many people could be exposed to the hazards and whether it could cause harm? Similarly, you need to determine if it could happen at any time or would it be very unusual for it to happen?
Other factors that may affect the hazard outcomes include: the conditions under which the electrical equipment is used, for example wet conditions, confined spaces, and work practices and procedures, for instance, the skill and experience of relevant workers.
It is also important to be aware of the vast possibilities of hazards from electrical equipment or installations which may arise from scenarios like: the design, construction, installation, protection, maintenance and testing of electrical equipment or electrical installations; is the electrical equipment being used outdoors or in an area where there is a risk to health and safety from fire or explosion.
Equally important is checking if the electrical articles could be affected by a hostile operating environment such as mechanical damage, moisture, heat, rust or dust.
The hazards are too numerous to list here, but you will soon learn many of the common sense ones such as whether the electrical equipment being used is moved around a lot such as electrical leads and how old the equipment is.
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