Performing any electrical project comes with its fair share of risks, and knowing how to properly perform the job as well as accurate risk assessment is key for performing a job safely. As with many home improvement projects, taking shortcuts or simply not having the proper know-how can lead to safety issues while performing the job, as well as lead to hazards around your home if the work isn’t done the right way.

Proper Equipment

You won’t get very far on any job if you don’t have the right tool at your disposal. You’ll want to have a toolkit with all of the basics:

  • Screwdrivers
  • Pliers
  • Tape Measure
  • Electric Drill
  • Level
  • Wire Strippers
  • Electric Staple
  • Voltage Tester
  • Reaming Bit
  • Conduit Bender
  • Flashlight

With these tools, you’ll be able to safely perform electrical work, be it installing new wiring or repairing or replacing existing fixtures. When performing work electrical work, always inspect the current wiring and look for any warning signs such as frayed wires, rust, water damage, or improper grounding systems before getting to work. Also, ensure all power is cut from the area you’re working on, and inquire about any backup generators or other power sources before getting to work.

Safety Equipment

You’ll want to make sure you have all the necessary safety gear before starting any job. You’ll want to have all of the essential PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) ready to go to prevent any safety hazards to yourself while working. The standard PPE for electrical work includes:

  • A helmet for outdoor work primarily on construction sites where falling debris could pose a potential hazard
  • Long sleeve cotton protective clothing
  • Rubber protective gloves
  • Goggles or other protective eyewear
  • Hearing protectors for particularly loud environments
  • Protective footwear like work boots or rubber boots

When it comes to gloves, it’s important to note there are various grades of rubber gloves designed for different voltage limits. These range anywhere from 500 volts all the way up to a 54,000-volt capacity. Before getting to work, determine the voltage ranges you’ll be working with and make sure you have the appropriate grade gloves to work with.

Train Yourself Properly

Proper training is required if you plan on doing electrical work professionally. While the prerequisite for beginning electrical training is simply obtaining a high school diploma or equivalent, the training itself does take a serious commitment. Professionally trained electricians spend 4 years training in order to maximize safety. The training does pay off though, as performing electrical work can be a rewarding and stable profession.

Performing a Job for a Client

While performing work in your own home can be much easier since you’re working in familiar territory, doing work on a client’s home can be a lot riskier. Keeping both you and the homeowner safe comes down to a few simple steps which should be performed while doing any job.

  • Plot out an escape path. If anything goes awry, you’ll be able to safely exit with the owner.
  • Wear your PPE during every job.
  • Perform a risk assessment of the area.

Once your preliminary checklist is complete, make sure you also protect the owner of any risks or hazards you come across, as well as explain what you’ll be doing. Never allow the homeowner to assist in any way, even if it’s something as simple as removing the casing for the electrical box. Maintain a barrier position, placing yourself between the owner and the area you are working on, and always inform them when you plan to cut the power.

As long as you use the proper equipment and are aware of any potential risks and hazards going into a job, you’ll be able to perform any electrical work relatively safely. There is always a risk of injury when performing electrical work, especially when you don’t have a strong understanding of how the electrical layout of a home, but maximizing safety especially when working in unfamiliar territory takes priority.

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