The increasing frequency and significance electrical and electronic equipment play in our lives means it’s possible to get complacent about the danger electricity presents. It mustn’t be underestimated– for example, static electricity has the potential to cause a fire or explosion and electric shocks can cause deep burns, permanent disablement, muscle spasms strong enough to break bones or dislocate joints, and might cause a fall or throw you some distance. It takes as little as 50 volts (about 25 watts – less than a DVD player uses) flowing through your body to cause breathing difficulties and stop the heart beating resulting in cardiac arrest.
Employers have duties set out by the Electricity at Work Regulations and Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) to keep people safe, and assess and eliminate or control risks to employees and others. They need to provide resources, instruction and training so that workers are able to work safely. Workers are also responsible for making sure they keep themselves and others safe.
Too often, electrical and electronic equipment cause fires, injuries and fatalities due to a lack of protective measures and failing to maintain equipment properly.