Electrical Safety, Training

Don’t Short Circuit Electrical Safety Training

Over half of workplace deaths resulting from electrocution are caused by defective electrical equipment and failure on the part of employees to follow safe work procedures. Electrical safety training can prevent both types of accidents.

OSHA’s electrical safety standard recognizes two types of employees—qualified and unqualified (Safety-Related Work Practices, 29 CFR 1910.331-335).

Qualified employees are those trained to identify live electrical parts, know their voltages, and work with and around them safely. Only qualified workers are allowed to work with exposed, energized electrical equipment.

Training requirements for qualified workers are specified in Section 1910.332 of the standard. Everyone else in your facility is designated as an “unqualified” employee under the standard and is not allowed to perform electrical work.

BLR’s OSHA Training System offers a completely prewritten, affordable program to handle electrical safety and dozens of other mandated training needs. Try it at no cost.

But because many unqualified workers work with or around electrical equipment, they still need some training in electrical safety. Training for unqualified workers should cover the basics. For example:

  • Electrical hazards

  • Restricted activities/areas

  • Personal protective equipment

  • Safe work practices if working with or near electrical equipment

  • An overview of lockout/tagout procedures

  • Care/use of electrical power tools

  • How to report electrical problems or defective or malfunctioning electrical equipment

  • First-aid and emergency procedures for electrical accidents

Electrical Safety Do’s and Don’ts

All workers should also be trained to follow safe work practices. We’ve distilled the key issues here into terms of safety do’s and don’ts.


  • Use only plugs that fit the outlet.

  • Make sure electrical connections are tight.

  • Check insulation on cords and wires.

  • Use extension cords only when necessary.

  • Use waterproof cords outdoors and in damp areas.

  • Use only approved extension lamps.

  • Keep machines and tools well lubricated.

  • Keep the work area clean.

  • Leave at least 3 feet of workspace around electrical equipment.

  • Follow manufacturer’s instructions for use and maintenance.

  • Leave electrical repairs to qualified and licensed electricians.


  • Overload outlets or motors.

  • Use defective equipment (shut it down, tag it out, and report it).

  • Let grease, dirt, or dust build up on machinery.

  • Run cords near heat or water.

  • Touch anything electric with wet hands.

  • Put anything but a plug into an electric outlet.

  • Use temporary wiring in place of permanent wiring.

  • Use cords or equipment that aren’t grounded.

  • Wear metal jewelry when handling electrical equipment.

Try OSHA Training System for a complete solution to your mandated training needs. You can do so at no cost or risk.

Need More Information?

This material is excerpted from the “Working Safely with Electricity” training session in BLR’s OSHA Training System. It’s just a small sampling of the training materials in the handy resource. As its name implies, this is a complete system to meet your full training needs. All the materials are prepared in advance, so no prep time is required. All you do is reproduce what you need and put it to use. Materials include:

  • 32 complete safety units, meeting every key OSHA standard. Each includes full background for trainers, a ready-to-use safety meeting, and follow-up handouts. View a Table of Contents.

  • Quizzes, handouts, and copies of 27 different employee booklets, coordinated to the safety meetings. (Booklets can be bought in any quantity at a discount.)

  • A complete training recordkeeping and tracking system that tells you which employees need what training, and then tracks your program to ensure they get it.

  • Quarterly updates included with the program. You receive at least 4 new safety units every 90 days, covering new OSHA standards and training needs.

If you share the common problem of never having enough time or the right materials for training, we suggest you examine the OSHA Training System program. We’ve arranged for you to do so for up to 30 days at no cost or risk. Just let us know and we’ll be happy to make all the arrangements.