5 Electrical Hazards to Watch Out for when Earning an Electrician DiplomaJuly 12, 2022
If you’re interested in problem-solving and using your hands in a fast-paced career, you might consider becoming an electrician. In addition to flexible schedules, Job Bank Canada forecasts that close to 25,000 new job openings will become available between 2019-2028 in Canada alone.
North American Trades Schools provides electrician certification for residential, commercial and industrial levels, preparing you with the knowledge and hands-on training to feel confident and safe at the workplace. As a student in electrician school, familiarizing yourself with safety practices and common hazards will help you to stay safe throughout your training and future career.
Keep reading to learn about five common electrical hazards and how to prevent them so you can improve your safety while earning your electrician diploma.
1. Wearing Personal Protective Equipment Is Essential When Earning Your Electrician Diploma
Electrocution, electric shock, burns and falls are all common injuries that an electrician must be hyper aware of avoiding. During your electrician training, you’ll learn that the first preventative measure that you can take is equipping yourself with the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
There are many different types of PPE you can protect yourself with, depending on the scope of the job. Insulated gloves, matting, and ladders can provide a protective layer eliminating a pathway for electricity to travel through the body. Face shields, non-metal helmets and flame retardant clothing can also add extra protection. Additionally, you should always inspect your PPE before use, and be sure to safely store it after completing a job.
2. Beware of Improper Grounding and Unwanted Voltage
Grounding is the method of connecting an isolated conductor to a ground, preventing unwanted transmission and voltage. When an electrical system is not appropriately grounded it can create voltage that cannot be eliminated safely, as the exposed parts of a system can become energized and cause electrocution. This can include the metal parts of motors, appliances or electronics that are plugged in.
To prevent electrical hazards, equipment must always be properly grounded. Using a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) is a recommended safety measure that can safeguard you from improper grounding when working with electric systems. If a ground fault is detected in a circuit protected by a GFCI, it automatically stops the current, protecting you from electrocution.
3. Following Lockout and Tagout (LOTO) Procedures Keep You Safe
During your electrician certification, you’ll learn about using the LOTO method to control hazardous energy and prevent the accidental use of equipment while it is unsafe, being inspected, or being worked on.
Lockout and Tagout ensures that equipment is appropriately shut off and unable to be restarted prior to the completion of any work being done. When the power sources are off, they are locked with a tag attached identifying the reason the LOTO is there. The worker that places the LOTO is the only one with the key, ensuring that it is not accidentally started by anyone else.
4. Working in a Wet Environment Increases the Chance of Electrocution
From spilled water near an electrical outlet to leaks from plumbing issues, electricity and water are always a dangerous combination, together increasing the chances of electrocution. It’s important to keep tools, equipment and wires away from damp and wet areas, especially if equipment has any damages to its insulation. Wear and tear can make it easier for water to make contact with the conductors, leading to electrocution. As with improper grounding, protecting circuits with a GFCI ensures that if electrical shock occurs due to these conditions, the current will immediately be stopped.
5. Overloaded Power Strips and Outlets Are a Common Hazard
One of the most common electrical hazards in many homes and businesses are overloaded power strips and outlets. Outlets are designed for a limited amount of electricity output. Plugging in an excess of high-voltage devices can overload a power strip, increasing the chances of an electrical fire. Choosing power strips with surge protection will help to reduce the risk of fire, as the breaker stops the current if it gets overloaded. However, when working with heavy electric equipment as an electrician, you cannot rely on common surge protectors and power strips. Instead, a safer alternative is a three-way extension with GFCI for added protection.
With an extensive hands-on learning experience, as well proper safety techniques and leading practices, you will be fully prepared to identify and avoid common electrical hazards throughout your future career.
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4 Tips for First-Year Apprentices Working Towards Electrician CertificationJanuary 22, 2020
After you complete a pre-apprenticeship program you can seek out an electrician apprenticeship, where you get paid while learning on the job. In Ontario it can take up to five years to complete an apprenticeship during which you will learn the tools of the trade from professionals. An apprenticeship also includes some more time in the classroom and is a necessary step to becoming a licensed electrician.
Before you start your apprenticeship, you may have an idea of what it will be like, but there are a few points that may help you adjust to on-the-job training. Also, depending on which province you apprentice in, there might be loans to buy tools as you start and grants to support you during your classroom hours. In the meantime, here are a few tips to help you during your first year as an apprentice.
1. Ask Questions
While it is true that you are doing a job and you are getting paid, an apprenticeship is still training and it is a great time to ask questions. Professionals know that you are learning to become a maintenance electrician and should be prepared to explain tools and procedures to you. This may be as simple as asking “what’s next?” and “why?” Electricians have experiential and sometimes highly specialized knowledge that goes beyond the classroom. This is why they may have special insight and it is worth asking for as much information as you can get.
2. Record Your Hours
When you are on your way to electrician certification it will be necessary to record your hours and ensure that they are counted toward the completion of your apprenticeship. The same way you will have to keep up to date with electrical codes and regulations as an electrician, you should stay up to date on your progress as an apprentice. Not only is this necessary, it also helps you keep track of how much you’ve learned.
3. Stay Healthy
You will get a sense of the physical demands in the first year of your apprenticeship and many electricians say it is important to stay in good shape. Electrician work can involve a lot of movement, stretching and lifting. You will be able to work longer and better in your career if you are healthy. The first year of your apprenticeship is a great time to work exercise into your routine, and make sure you are having nutritious meals.
4. If You Want to Become a Maintenance Electrician, Take Your Work Seriously
Electricians are highly respected skilled trades people and play an important role in construction and maintenance. When you begin your apprenticeship, remember that you have a big responsibility. It is important to do basic things like show up on time for jobs, but it is also important to remember that you are responsible for maintaining safety standards in whatever setting you work. The more seriously you take your work during the first year, the more you’ll develop good habits in your career that can help you land additional work in the future.
Want to know more about maintenance electrician training?
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