What to do if an Electrical Wire Falls on Your Vehicle

There’s a wind advisory but you have to go somewhere. You get in your car but before you can start it up you hear a thump and notice that a power line has just fallen on your car. What do you do?

According to experts, the best thing to do is to stay put. Because of the rubber in the tires, the electricity will flow over the car and you will be safe inside.

DO NOT GET OUT! Trying to exit the vehicle could result in electrocution as the electricity, flowing through the ground can now flow through you as soon as you step outside.

Call 911 and advise them of the situation. They will respond and bring someone from the power company to determine whether the power line is live or not. Until them just stay put.


Beware of Counterfeit Products Online

Millions of people go online to shop for Christmas presents this year. Brick and mortar retailers are showing significant drops in walk in customers and it’s primarily attributed to online stores like Ebay and Amazon.

It is, of course, attractive to shop online. No long trips to the mall, no waiting in line to check out, no wondering if you might have got the same items cheaper somewhere else… but it also comes at a price.

There are millions of counterfeit products being sold online each year. Unless you are purchasing from a reputable dealer or retail store you risk not getting the quality that you are paying for and worse, the item you purchased might not be safe.

Check out this video from England where they tested a real Nutribullet (we’ve had one for about 3 years now and use it every single day. I highly recommend it) and a fake Nutribullet.

As you can see in the image above (just click on it to watch the test), you really can’t tell the one from the other; they look absolutely identical.

Anyone and everyone can sell their products on Ebay and Amazon. There is no guarantee that if you purchase something from them, you are aren’t getting a counterfeit product. Beware of fake, and dangerous counterfeit products, purchase these type of products from a trusted retail store like Target or Costco.

May is National Electrical Safety Month

If you’re reading this post you’re probably using it, namely electricity. It’s the pulse of our homes and our workplaces and powers our lives. It can also be deadly.

According to the NFPA, some 24,000 fires originated from faulty wiring between 2007 and 2011. 455 people die in those fires and 1,500 people were injured.

Here’s a list of things that you can do to make sure your home is safe:

  • Have all electrical work done by a qualified electrician.
  • Only plug one heat-producing appliance (such as a coffee maker, toaster, space heater, etc.) into a receptacle outlet at a time.
  • Arc fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs) are a kind of circuit breaker that shuts off electricity when a dangerous condition occurs. Consider having them installed in your home. Use a qualified electrician.
  • Use ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) to reduce the risk of shock. GFCIs shut off an electrical circuit when it becomes a shock hazard. They should be installed inside the home in bathrooms, kitchens, garages and basements. All outdoor receptacles should be GFCI-protected.
  • Test AFCIs and GFCIs once a month to make sure they’re working properly.
  • Check electrical cords to make sure they’re not running across doorways or under carpets.
  • Extension cords are intended for temporary use; have a qualified electrician add more receptacle outlets so you don’t have to use extension cords.
  • Use light bulbs that match the recommended wattage on the lamp or fixture. There should be a sticker that indicates the maximum wattage light bulb to use.

(Source: http://www.nfpa.org/press-room/news-releases/2015/nfpa-reinforces-importance-of-electrical-fire-safety-during-national-electrical-safety-month)

Updates to 1910.269 Electrical Safety Standard

July 10th, 2014, OSHA updated the 1910.269 standard for electrical power generation, transmission and distribution installations.

Main points:

  • Workers must be adequately trained and training must match the degree of risk that workers will be exposed to.
  • Employers needs to do an assessment to determine the level of exposure that workers might have to flame and/or electrical arc flash.
  • Employers need to provide an estimate of the amount of energy potentially present in any arc flash for any and all jobs that employees might need to do. They have until January 1 of 2015 to document these estimates.
  • Employers must additionally provide any and all FR and Arc-Flash personal protective equipment that workers might need for protection against the flames and arc-flash hazards. This must be done by April 1, 2015.
  • Multiple crews working together need to have one central person who is in charge of deenergizing and reenergizing or have a system in place so that only all crews together can reenergize lines and equipment.

For more information visit the OSHA “electrical power” page.

Free Copy of Electrical Safety Illustrated

From the Electrical Safety Foundation International website…


In celebration of Electrical Safety Month 2014, ESFI is excited to announce the launch of Electrical Safety Illustrated. In this magazine ESFI addresses timely electrical safety issues to equip the public with the knowledge to better protect your home, family and communities from electrical hazards

While we touch on a variety of topics, we recognize that we must also go back to the basics to ensure a fundamental understanding surrounding electrical safety. Each section provides only an overview of the issues and we encourage you to visit our website, wwww.esfi.org, to delve deeper into the subjects. We also invite you to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube to stay abreast of emerging electrical safety concerns and receive reminders about how you can protect yourself.
– See more at: http://www.esfi.org/index.cfm/cdid/13323/pid/10272#sthash.EXCX0Hm6.dpuf

In celebration of Electrical Safety Month 2014, ESFI is excited to announce the launch of Electrical Safety Illustrated. In this magazine ESFI addresses timely electrical safety issues to equip the public with the knowledge to better protect your home, family and communities from electrical hazards


While we touch on a variety of topics, we recognize that we must also go back to the basics to ensure a fundamental understanding surrounding electrical safety.  Each section provides only an overview of the issues and we encourage you to visit our website, wwww.esfi.org, to delve deeper into the subjects.  We also invite you to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube to stay abreast of emerging electrical safety concerns and receive reminders about how you can protect yourself.

– See more at: http://www.esfi.org/index.cfm/cdid/13323/pid/10272#sthash.EXCX0Hm6.dpuf

May Electrical Safety Awareness Month

May is National Electrical Safety Month

Electrical wiring – improper installation, or damaged or deteriorated wiring and cords – sparks an estimated 50,000 home fires each year. These fires cause more than 500 deaths, 1,500 injuries, and $1.4 billion in property damage and loss each year. Additionally, emergency rooms treat almost 2,500 children each year for injuries triggered by sticking objects into electrical outlets or getting kites tangled on electrical power lines. All of these can be Prevented!

Top 10 Rules for Electric Safety

To play it safe around your home or work, just remember the rules for using electricity the right way.

1. DON’T plug a bunch of stuff into one outlet or extension cord.It could damage the electrical system in your house or even cause a fire.2. Make sure all electric cords are tucked away, neat and tidy.

Pets might chew on electrical cords, and people might trip and fall.

3. DON’T ever climb the fence around an electrical substation.If a ball or pet gets inside the fence, ask a grown-up to call the electric company – they’ll come and get it out for you.
4. DON’T yank an electrical cord from the wall.Pulling on a cord can damage the appliance, the plug or the outlet.
5. Fly your kite far away from power lines or substations.The kite and the string may conduct electricity – sending it right through you to the ground.6. Ask a grown-up for help when you need to use something that uses electricity.
7. DO look up and look out for power lines before you climb a tree.The electricity can go right through the tree branch – and right through you!8. Have a grown-up put safety caps on all unused electrical outlets.

Covering outlets will also help save energy by stopping cold drafts.

9. Watch out for power lines when they’re using a ladder, chainsaw or other outdoor equipment.10. Keep electrical stuff far away from water.Most electrical accidents around the house happen when people use electricity near water.

General Electrical Safety Tips

· Replace or repair loose or frayed cords on all electrical devices.

· Avoid running extension cords across doorways or under carpets.

· In homes with small children, unused wall sockets and extension-cord receptacles should have plastic safety covers.

· Consider having additional circuits or outlets added by a qualified electrician so you do not have to use extension cords.

· Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for plugging an appliance into a receptacle outlet.

· Avoid overloading outlets. Plug only one high-wattage appliance into each receptacle outlet at a time.

· If outlets or switches feel warm, shut off the circuit and have them checked by an electrician.

· When possible, avoid the use of “cube taps” and other devices that allow the connection of multiple appliances into a single receptacle.

Polarized and 3-Prong Plugs

· Polarized plugs have one blade that is slightly bigger than the other. This design makes sure that plugs are plugged into outlets correctly and also reduces the risk of electric shock. NEVER shove a polarized plug into a non-polarized outlet or extension cord.

· 3-prong plugs also help to reduce the risk of electric shock. NEVER remove the 3rd prong in order to make it fit into a 2 prong outlet or extension cord.

Light Bulbs

· Check the lamp’s wattage and use the appropriate watt light bulb.

· Make sure that light bulbs are screwed in securely to prevent overheating.

· Place lamps on level surfaces, away from things that can burn.

· If you smell a faint burning or rubbery smell from a lamp then the wattage level of the light bulb is too high for the lamp and it should be replaced with the appropriate bulb.


· Make sure that all appliances have been tested by an independent research laboratory and be sure to follow all manufacturer’s instructions carefully.

· Appliances that take a lot of power to operate, such as space heaters and halogen lamps, should be plugged directly into an outlet. These appliances should not be plugged into extension cords.· One Outlet One Plug! Don’t overload electric outlets with several plugs. If multiple appliances must share one outlet, be sure to use only one appliance at a time.

Water and appliances don’t mix!· Don’t leave appliances plugged in where they may come into contact with water.· If an appliance falls into water DO NOT reach in to pull it out. First turn off the power and unplug the appliance.

· Don’t use electric appliances or take showers or baths during an electric storm. Using electricity during an electric storm increases your risk of getting an electric shock.

Hunt for Home Electrical Hazards

Keep an eye out for these warning signs. If any of these are present in your home there could be a risk of an electric fire or electrocution.

· Frequent power outages or blown fuses. This may indicate that your home wiring needs to be updated or repaired. Contact a licensed electrician.

· Overloaded electrical outlets

· Dim or flickering lights

· Sparks or sizzling sounds in outlets or walls

· Overheated plugs, cords or switches

· Smells of something burning or rubbery smells

· Frayed wires or cracked cords Feeling a mild shock or tingle when you plug in an appliance.

Starting a New Outdoors Project?Call Dig-Safe at 811 before any digging or excavation work to prevent any electrical danger.

Safe Extension Cord Use

Extension cords deliver electrical power to where it’s needed. But when they are misused, they can also become electrical hazards.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates that some 3,000 people are treated each year for injuries associated with extension cords. In addition, the CPSC reports that improperly functioning extension cords cause 5,000 residential fires annually. The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) suggests following these cord safety tips to help avoid shock and fire hazards.

Remember, extension cords are intended for temporary use.

• Never run extension cords through walls, under rugs or furniture, or across doorways.

• Never try to repair a damaged extension cord with electrical tape; replace it instead.

• Never overload an extension cord. If any part of the cord feels warm to the touch, the cord is drawing too much power and could present a fire or shock hazard.

• Never cut off the ground pin to connect a 3-prong appliance cord to a 2-wire extension cord or receptacle. Always use a UL-listed adapter for this purpose.

• Replace older extension cords if one of the prongs in the plug is not “polarized.” In a polarized plug, one prong will be wider than the other.

• Do not allow extension cords to dangle from counters or tables, where someone could accidentally pull them down or trip over them.

• Always plug an appliance in to the extension cord before plugging the extension cord into a wall receptacle. Also, make sure the appliance is “off” before plugging it in.

• When disconnecting an extension cord, pull from the plug, not the cord itself.

• Cover unused outlets on the extension cord to prevent children from making contact with a live circuit.

• Before buying any extension cord, check to ensure that the product has been listed by a nationally recognized laboratory, such as Under-writers Laboratories (UL) or Canadian Standards Association (CSA)

• Use special, heavy-duty extension cords for high-wattage appliances such as air conditioners, portable electric heaters and freezers.

• When placing furniture or an appliance directly up against a wall where a cord is plugged into a receptacle, use a low-profile type of plug. These plugs will let the appliance or furniture get closer to the wall, and there is less chance of the plug coming loose.

• Outside the home, use extension cords designed expressly for outdoor use.

Arc Faults

What is an arc fault?

Arcing faults often occur in damaged or deteriorated wires and cords. Some causes of damaged and deteriorated wiring include puncturing of wire insulation from picture hanging or cable staples, poorly installed outlets or switches, cords caught in doors or under furniture, furniture pushed against plugs in an outlet, natural aging, and cord exposure to heat vent and sunlight.

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs)

One of the most important safety devices in your home is a simple electrical device called a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI). Estimates indicate that the installation of GFCIs have saved hundreds of lives and prevented thousands of injuries in the U.S. over the past 30 years.

GFCIs are designed to provide protection against electrical shock from ground faults, or leakage currents, which occur when the electrical current flows outside of the circuit conductors. If a person becomes part of a path for leakage current, he or she will be severely shocked or electrocuted.

If GFCIs were installed in every U.S. home, experts suggest that nearly 70 percent of the approximately 400 electrocutions that occur each year in the home could be prevented.


· Put a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) between your electric power source and your electric product.

· Test your GFCI monthly and after every major electrical storm.

· If you have a home without GFCIs, consult a qualified, licensed electrician about adding this important protection, purchase plug-in units or a portable GFCI to provide individual receptacle or load protection.

· GFCIs are products designed to prevent serious injury or death from electrical shock by detecting ground faults at very low levels.

· A GFCI should be used in any area where water may come in contact with electrical products. GFCIs are now required by code in certain areas of the home, including unfinished basements, kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms, garages, crawl spaces and around swimming pools.

· If a GFCI senses minimal current leakage to ground in an electrical circuit, it assumes a ground fault has occurred. It them interrupts power fast enough to prevent serious injury from electrical shock.

· Three types of GFCIs are designed for home use-wall receptacle, circuit breaker and portable plug-in. All three are readily available, inexpensive and fairly simple to install.



Surge protectors and UPS devices protect equipment, but they do not protect from the potential hazards of an overloaded circuit. Make sure the electrical load is not too great for the circuit. A licensed electrician can check your electrical system and provide guidance on the capacity of electrical circuits in your office.

Telltale signs of overloading include:

  • outlets warm to the touch;
  • outlets that are discolored;
  • circuit breakers that frequently trip
  • fuses that frequently blow;
  • burned insulation odors; and
  • extension cord that are warm to the touch.
  • To prevent these electrical hazards, contact a licensed electrician to install dedicated circuits where needed. It is also smart to install outlets to eliminate the use of extension cords.

Information from NEC, OSHA, ESFI, www.electrical-safety.org,

Today’s post comes to us courtesy of Ken Oswald

Safety and Security Manager for Plateau



OSHA Update to Electrical Standard

It’s been 40 years since OSHA updated the standard, but better late than never. Earlier this week OSHA announced that the long-overdue update to the standards for electric power generation, transmission and distribution was finally here.

From the press release on the OSHA site:

WASHINGTON – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration today announced that it would be issuing a final rule* to improve workplace safety and health for workers performing electric power generation, transmission and distribution work.

“This long-overdue update will save nearly 20 lives and prevent 118 serious injuries annually,” said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. “Electric utilities, electrical contractors and labor organizations have persistently championed these much-needed measures to better protect the men and women who work on or near electrical power lines.”

OSHA is revising the 40-year-old construction standard for electric power line work to make it more consistent with the corresponding general industry standard and is also making some revisions to the construction and general industry requirements. The updated standards for general industry and construction include new or revised provisions for host and contract employers to share safety-related information with each other and with employees, as well as for improved fall protection for employees working from aerial lifts and on overhead line structures. In addition, the standards adopt revised approach-distance requirements to better ensure that unprotected workers do not get dangerously close to energized lines and equipment. The final rule also adds new requirements to protect workers from electric arcs.

General industry and construction standards for electrical protective equipment are also revised under the final rule. The new standard for electrical protective equipment applies to all construction work and replaces the existing construction standard, which was based on out-of-date information, with a set of performance-oriented requirements consistent with the latest revisions of the relevant consensus standards. The new standards address the safe use and care of electrical protective equipment, including new requirements that equipment made of materials other than rubber provide adequate protection from electrical hazards.

The final rule will result in estimated monetized benefits of $179 million annually, with net benefits equal to about $130 million annually.

Additional information on the final rule is available at http://www.osha.gov/dsg/power_generation/. The final rule becomes effective 90 days after publication in the Federal Register. OSHA adopted delayed compliance deadlines for certain requirements.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.

You can download the full 1607 page document from the OSHA website.