21 Safety Rules for Working with Electrical Equipment

21 Safety Rules for Working with Electrical Equipment


A safe work environment is not always enough to control all potential electrical hazards. You must be very cautious and work safely. Safety rules help you control your and others risk of injury or death from workplace hazards.

If you are working on electrical circuits or with electrical tools and equipment, you need to use following golden safety rules:


21 Golden Safety Rules

Rule no. 1

Avoid contact with energized electrical circuits. Please don’t make fun of this rule if you already know this (and you probably already know if you are reading these lines) and remember that if something bad occurs – you probably won’t have second chance. That’s not funny.


Rule no. 2

Treat all electrical devices as if they are live or energized. You never know.


Rule no. 3

Disconnect the power source before servicing or repairing electrical equipment.

The only way to be sure.


Rule no. 4

Use only tools and equipment with non-conducting handles when working on electrical devices.

Easy to check.


Rule no. 5

Never use metallic pencils or rulers, or wear rings or metal watchbands when working with electrical equipment. This rule is very easy to forget, especially when you are showing some electrical part pointing with metallic pencil.

Always be aware.


Rule no. 6

When it is necessary to handle equipment that is plugged in, be sure hands are dry and, when possible, wear nonconductive gloves, protective clothes and shoes with insulated soles.

Remeber: gloves, clothes and shoes.

Safety clothes, gloves and shoes

Safety clothes, gloves and shoes


Rule no. 7

If it is safe to do so, work with only one hand, keeping the other hand at your side or in your pocket, away from all conductive material. This precaution reduces the likelihood of accidents that result in current passing through the chest cavity.

If you ever read about current passing through human body you will know, so remember – work with one hand only.

If you don’t clue about electric current path through human body, read more in following technical articles:


Rule no. 8

Minimize the use of electrical equipment in cold rooms or other areas where condensation is likely. If equipment must be used in such areas, mount the equipment on a wall or vertical panel.


Rule no. 9

If water or a chemical is spilled onto equipment, shut off power at the main switch or circuit breaker and unplug the equipment.

Very logical. NEVER try to remove water or similar from equipment while energized. Afterall, it’s stupid to do so.


Rule no. 10

If an individual comes in contact with a live electrical conductor, do not touch the equipment, cord or person. Disconnect the power source from the circuit breaker or pull out the plug using a leather belt.

Tricky situation, and you must be very calm in order not to make the situation even worse.

Like in previous rules – Always disconnect the power FIRST.

Always disconnect the power FIRST

Always disconnect the power FIRST


Rule no. 11

Equipment producing a “tingle” should be disconnected and reported promptly for repair.


Rule no. 12

Do not rely on grounding to mask a defective circuit nor attempt to correct a fault by insertion of another fuse or breaker, particularly one of larger capacity.


Rule no. 13

Drain capacitors before working near them and keep the short circuit on the terminals during the work to prevent electrical shock.


Rule no. 14

Never touch another person’s equipment or electrical control devices unless instructed to do so.

Don’t be too smart. Don’t try your luck.


Rule no. 15

Enclose all electric contacts and conductors so that no one can accidentally come into contact with them.

If applicable do it always, if not be very carefull.


Rule no. 16

Never handle electrical equipment when hands, feet, or body are wet or perspiring, or when standing on a wet floor.

Remeber: Gloves and shoes


Rule no. 17

When it is necessary to touch electrical equipment (for example, when checking for overheated motors), use the back of the hand. Thus, if accidental shock were to cause muscular contraction, you would not “freeze” to the conductor.


Rule no. 18

Do not store highly flammable liquids near electrical equipment.


Rule no. 19

Be aware that interlocks on equipment disconnect the high voltage source when a cabinet door is open but power for control circuits may remain on.

Read the single line diagram and wiring schemes – know your switchboard. 


Rule no. 20

De-energize open experimental circuits and equipment to be left unattended.


Rule no. 21

Do not wear loose clothing or ties near electrical equipment. Act like an electrical engineer, you are not on the beach.


Example of human stupidity and ignorance of basic safety

Electrical safety, come on… I guess we’ll never know did the cord extension drop into water… Hope not.

Example of stupidity

Example of stupidity


About Author //

author-pic

Edvard Csanyi

Edvard - Electrical engineer, programmer and founder of EEP. Highly specialized for design of LV high power busbar trunking (<6300A) in power substations, buildings and industry fascilities. Designing of LV/MV switchgears. Professional in AutoCAD programming and web-design. Present on



15 Comments


  1. Chuck Sampson
    Mar 03, 2015

    I don’t work on big power like you guys. Usually only a few kilowatts. However these rules are pretty much universal and apply at all power levels. I couldn’t think any other rules, however I would make one change and that would be to combine rule 3 with rule 13. So many times I’ve seen guys get hit when they forgot to discharge the input or output caps of a power supply or amplifier before they started to service it and then discharged those caps through themselves.

    Just turning off the power isn’t good enough,

    You need to make sure every part of the circuitry has been discharged. I usually wait four or five minutes -probably longer for the big power guys -and then check the voltages with my DMM before I start working on any electrical equipment.

    Thanks for the reminders.


  2. Vhander
    Sep 23, 2014

    Hi Mr Edvard,

    If I may ask can I include these Rules in our Safety Policy?

    Thank you.

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