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Electrical Hazards

The hazards associated with the use of electricity include electrical shock and electrical fires caused by shorts and overloaded circuits or wiring. In addition, sparks from electrical equipment can serve as an ignition source for flammable or explosive vapors or combustible materials. Most incidents are a result of unsafe work practices, improper equipment use, and faulty equipment.

The following are important safety procedures to protect against electrical hazards:

  • Do not overload circuits or wiring.
  • Inspect all electrical equipment before use to ensure the cords and plugs are in good condition.
  • Ensure electrical outlets have a grounding connection requiring a three-pronged plug.
  • Do not use damaged equipment.
  • Lock-out and tag-out damaged equipment.
  • Report damaged equipment to your supervisor.
  • Limit the use of extension cords. Extension cords are for temporary, short-term use only.

Contact Environmental Health & Safety at to report electrical hazards. Electrical outlets, wiring, and other electrical equipment integral to the building may only be serviced and repaired by University Facilities qualified trades personnel or other qualified electricians.

Review the Laboratory Safety Manual [PDF] for more details about electrical safety in the laboratory.