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Card #13

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Electricity is all around us, so it's easy to forget how dangerous it is. When you learn what hazards to watch for, you're protecting yourself and the volunteers around you from fatal electrocution, shock, burns, and other injuries.

The FACTS: What you need to KNOW

  1. The most common causes of electrical injuries are: contact with power lines, lack of ground fault protection, equipment that's not grounded, misuse of equipment, and power and extension cords.
  2. Signs of faulty wiring include dim or flickering lights, sparks or sizzling sounds, burning smells or smoke, electric shocks, and warm or hot switches, plugs, sockets, or cords.
  3. Circuit breakers, fuses, and GFCI (Ground Fault Current Interrupter) circuits are safety features intended to interrupt the flow of electricity. When one trips, it's alerting you of a problem. Don't ignore it: unplug everything and check your equipment.

The Actions: What you need to DO

Make sure you know how to shut off each piece of equipment or disconnect the power. Don't use a piece of equipment for anything other than its intended purpose.

Water and electricity are a deadly combination. Make sure that electrical equipment in wet or damp spaces is specifically intended for such use. If you're not sure, don't use it.

Always use correctly-rated cords and fuses. Never remove a grounding pin from a power cord or attempt to "jury-rig" electrical equipment or cords.

Watch for loose or frayed wires, loose covers, and any fittings that are not in good condition. Bring them to the attention of your volunteer manager.

Volunteer Safety Videos are under development and will be available in 2023.

Links, Resources & More

  • Take a free safety course from Nonprofit Safety Hero.
  • Use the free APPapp to help your organization create an Accident Prevention Program.
  • Learn more about OSHA and WISHA laws that govern workplace safety for both volunteers and paid workers.
  • View a complete list of volunteer safety topics from Volunter Safety Hero.