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ELECTRICITY BASICS

We aren't supposed to be electricians, and we don't expect you to know how to handle electrical repairs. But there are a few facts about electricity you ought to know to guard yourselves against electrical shock.

The first thing is this — it isn't the amount of electricity in a circuit that makes the difference between life and death to you. What makes the difference is the amount of current that runs through the vital parts of your body.

For instance, you can work around a machine powered by very heavy voltage with complete safety if you stay away from the energized connections, if the machine is well grounded and properly protected by fuses. If you must touch equipment, make sure your hands are dry and your feet are on dry floor.

On the other hand, even the 110 volt power in your home electric light circuit can kill if you contact it with wet hands and are in contact with a ground return such as wet floor or a water pipe or radiator.

Here are some suggestions that will keep you safe from electrical hazards:

1. If any electrical device near your work area sparks, overheats or smokes, don't try to repair it yourself. Shut it off and report it.

2. Stay away from all electrical switches, fuse boxes, or other devices unless you have been authorized to handle them and instructed in their use. Even if you think you understand them completely, it's better to remember the old saying, "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing."

3. If you are authorized to replace fuses, follow the operating instructions you've been given faithfully. An apparently harmless variation may be deadly. And never bridge a fuse with a nail or other metal — the fuse is your best safety device on any electrical circuit.

4. When you must use any electrical equipment (including portable electrical tools or extension lights) in a situation where there is a lot of moisture around or where you have to contact grounded metal (particular­ly water or heating pipes) GET CLEARANCE FROM YOUR SUPERVISOR FIRST.

No equipment is foolproof, and if we try acting like fools we can be hurt.

Remember this rule — don't tackle any electrical job you haven't been assigned to, and don't do any elec­trical job you have been assigned to any other way than the way you've been trained to do it.

 

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