We should all know the hazards of electricity before we even begin to think about using it. Unfortunately, while a lot of people understand the danger of this energy source, many do not know how in fact electricity energizes our electronics, vehicles and appliances. This in itself is a main cause of accidental electric shocks and deaths around the world. So, to fully understand the dangers, it’s important to educate yourself on how electricity works.
In a laboratory setting, the potential for electrical accidents is extremely high. Due to the nature of chemicals involved, equipment that utilize power and other potential risks, electrical safety checks in laboratories are absolutely necessary. Understanding that without this in demand source of energy, a laboratory would fail to function, is reason enough to learn how to use electricity safely.
Without going into all the technical jargon that applies to electrical safety and applications, there are some critical things that can be performed prior to using electrical devices in a laboratory. One of the most common issues in any electrical setting is faulty wiring. Before using, it’s highly recommended to check the wiring for cracks or breaks in the insulation. If found, it’s important to replace these damaged wires. A quick fix with duct tape will not solve the problem! Additionally laboratories should not overload circuits and limit the use of extension cords. Failure to do so is an electrical shock or fire waiting to happen!
Laboratory electrical safety checks should also be performed on electrical outlets. Outlets should be checked annually and should have a proper grounding system. A two prong outlet is not a grounded outlet. Grounded outlets are required to have a third wire (green) that is grounded to the junction box and run back to the electrical panel. Failure to have properly grounded outlets in laboratories is another fire or shock in the making.
These are just a couple of reasons electrical safety checks are recommended for laboratories. The dangers associated with chemicals lists laboratories as a must for frequent safety checks of electrical equipment as well as the electrical devices. Without safety checks on the electrical system in a laboratory, the risk of fire, shock and explosions are much greater. Safety checks of laboratories should be completed on a regular basis by an electrical inspector designated for the area and laboratory assigned.
For additional information on the importance of performing electrical safety checks in laboratories, please see this link.