May is National Electrical Safety Month - time to begin year-round electrical safety awareness efforts, according to the Electrical Safety Foundation Intl. (ESFI).
“Despite the fact that improved product-safety engineering, standards, and electrical codes have reduced electrical hazards, thousands suffer from electrical shock and fires each year,” says ESFI President Brett Brenner.
To increase electrical-safety awareness and protect those at home and in the workplace, ESFI has developed an electrical-safety tool kit that includes statistics on electrical hazards and recommendations to avoid electrical shock, burns, and fires.
Electricity kills nearly 400 people and injures thousands more each year. Most of these deaths and injuries could be avoided with an increased awareness of electrical safety, such as noting locations of power lines when working outside. Power line contact with construction equipment, ladders, and gardening tools are among the leading cause of electrocutions. Use of ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) to protect against lethal electrical currents can also reduce electrocutions.
Estimates indicate electricity causes 140,000 fires each year. These fires kill hundreds of people, injure thousands more, and cost billions of dollars in property damage. Aging electrical systems, combined with growing power demands, contribute to electrical fire hazards. Overloaded circuits, flickering lights, and discolored electrical outlets and light switch face plates point to the need for electrical upgrades. Addressing these hazards can save lives, reduce injuries, and cut economic losses caused by electrical fires.
This information was reprinted with permission from the Electrical Safety Foundation Intl. (ESFI). Founded in 1994, ESFI is North America's only non-profit organization dedicated exclusively to promoting electrical safety in the home, school, and workplace. A registered 501(c)(3) funded by leading electrical manufacturers, internationally recognized testing laboratories, electrical unions and associations, utilities, consumer groups, and individuals, ESFI sponsors National Electrical Safety Month each May and engages in public education campaigns and proactive media relations to help reduce property damage, injury, and death due to electrical accidents. To download the Electrical Safety Month Toolkit, visit (www.esfi.org/documents/MayKit2006-FULLcontentS_000.pdf). To find out more about ESFI, visit (www.electrical-safety.org).