|Ground Fault Protection in Workplace|
|Library of Articles - Workplace Safety|
Is your workplace as safe as it can be?
Lack of Ground-Fault Protection
Due to the dynamic, rugged nature of construction work, normal use of electrical equipment at your site causes wear and tear that can result in insulation breaks, short-circuits, and exposed wires. If there is no ground-fault protection, these can cause a ground-fault that sends current through the worker's body, resulting in electrical burns, explosions, fire, or death.
Here are some tips from the Occupational Safety and health Administration (OSHA) to help keep you and your co-workers safe at work sites. To avoid hazards make sure to use ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCI’s) on all 120-volt, single-phase, 15- and 20-ampere receptacles. If your site doesn’t use GFCI’s, make sure there is a properly implemented assured equipment grounding conductor program (AEGCP). An AEGCP will assign company personnel to assure the installation and maintenance of grounding conductors for temporary wiring on construction sites in accordance with OSHA standards. If your work site uses GFCI protection, make sure you follow all of the manufacturers' recommended testing procedure to insure that they are working correctly. Use double-insulated tools and equipment, and make sure the tools and equipment are used according to the instructions included in their listing, labeling or certification. Finally, visually inspect all electrical equipment before use. Remove from service any equipment with frayed cords, missing ground prongs, cracked tool casings, etc. Apply a warning tag to any defective tool and do not use it until the problem has been corrected.
The following story is an example of what can happen when there is a lack of ground fault protection at a work site.
A journeyman HVAC worker was installing metal duct work using a double-insulated drill connected to a drop light cord. Power was supplied through two extension cords from a nearby residence. The individual's perspiration-soaked clothing/body contacted bare exposed conductors on one of the cords, causing an electrocution. No GFCI's were used. Additionally, the ground prongs were missing from the two cords. (OSHA)
Following these safety tips can help keep you alive and uninjured and your work site a safer place.