Electrical Safety

Simply put, electricity can kill. It also is a leading cause of fires in laboratories.

Types of electrical injuries include electrocution (fatal), electric shock, burns, and falls caused as a result of contact with electrical energy.

  • Immediately take out of service any equipment with frayed wires, giving off smoke, or that causes a tingling sensation when touched.
  • Store flammable liquids and gases away from electrical sources.
  • Keep electrical cords away from sources of water.
  • Do not use extension cords in place of permanent wiring.

Common findings relevant to electrical safety: 

Electrical panels obstructed: 

Remove equipment and material that impedes access to the electrical panel. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires that you maintain 36 inches of clearance in front of and to the side of electrical panels.

Electrical cords are damaged: 

Electrical cords must be securely plugged into wall outlets with the grounding prongs intact. Equipment with cracked, frayed, or damaged cords must be taken out of service until the cord is repaired or replaced.

Extension cords in use (instead of permanent wiring)

Extension cords may not be used as permanent wiring and must be removed. If additional outlets are required, ask your department administrator to arrange for additional outlets to be installed within the laboratory. More information on Extension Cord Use is available.