11.7 Electrical Safety

POLICY: The Spoon River College Electrical Safety policy conforms to OSHA best practices related to electrical safety and are intended to minimize the risk of injury. This policy may also follow state and local code requirements such as:


This policy applies to all individuals working with electricity on Spoon River College property.


  1. The following should be considered standard operating procedures for electrical safety:
    1. All electrical equipment should be adequately insulated, grounded or isolated to prevent bodily contact with any source.
    2. Equipment and handheld tools should have 3-prong plugs and/ or double insulation.
    3. Unplug any tool or equipment when not in use.
    4. Label all circuit box switches.
    5. All electrical panels must be unobstructed, have a minimum clearance of 36″, and shall be easily accessible.
    6. Ensure no energized or circuits/ parts are exposed (i.e., outlet cover plates, electrical panel doors).
    7. NEVER repair/ modify electrical wiring unless specific training is provided.
    8. Never modify a plug by bending or removing the prongs. When plug prongs are bent, loose or missing, replace the device.
    9. Never unplug an appliance by pulling on the cord, always remove by the plug.
    10. Keep dust and lint off electrical panels, receptacles, and appliances.
    11. Electrical panel doors should be closed and latched when not in use.
    12. Separate all combustible materials away from electrical equipment.
    13. Attempt to limit one appliance per outlet. However, if more than one appliance is to be used for each outlet, used an approved plug strip.
    14. Always turn off a tool before disconnecting it to avoid exposure to live electrical parts (see SRC Lockout/Tagout policy).
    15. Use proper lighting in all areas where electrical hazards may be encountered.
    16. All energized parts of electrical circuits and equipment shall be guarded against accidental contact by approved cabinets or enclosures.
    17. Where electrical shock hazards exist, first-line and backup protection shall be provided to prevent access to energized circuits and parts. This protection includes using lockouts, grounding hooks, barriers and rubber mats.
    18. In places where electrical hazards exist, there shall be conspicuous visual indications of ON and OFF conditions, the type of hazard and its exact location.
    19. Bench tops and bench edges in the immediate work area should be non-conductive and only a minimum of connected equipment should be on the bench tops. Rubber matting of adequate breakdown voltage should be used.
    20. Adequate and workable lockout-tag out procedures shall be used.
    21. Never work alone on a live circuit – always have an observer.
    22. Be acquainted with all electrical hazards that may be encountered in your work area.
    23. Notify your supervisor of any potential electrical hazard that may be going unnoticed.
    24. New equipment or existing equipment that is to be relocated must be examined for recognized hazards when it is installed.
  2. Immediately report damaged/ malfunctioning items to the Director of Facilities and take out of service until repaired by a qualified electrician.
  3. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is required during the following:
    1. where service is required with power on and inadvertent contact is likely;
    2. where it is necessary to reach over, under, around, or in close proximity to hazards;
    3. where equipment may produce sparks or arcing during normal operation;
    4. when maintaining any electrical equipment;
    5. when using tools near electrical hazards, all tools must have a double insulated casing to prevent contact with energized parts.
  4. Warning signs are needed to identify and locate potential hazards. The need for such warnings is particularly significant:
    1. where the hazard may not be immediately apparent.
    2. where personnel may assume there is no hazard when, in fact, one exists.
    3. where the hazard may exist only under a certain set of conditions and not otherwise.
    4. when personnel are in the presence of possible hazards in service areas when there is exposure to chemical, electrical, thermal or mechanical hazards.
    5. when hazardous potentials (other than line voltage) above 250 VAC or DC are present.
  5. Main Control Enclosure. A label indicating the following information shall be installed near the supply circuit disconnecting means:
  6. Circuit Protection Devices: The rated current (in amperes) of the circuit protection devices shall be visibly indicated near the device. Special fuses must also indicate type.
  7. Emergency Off (EMO): EMO devices shall be engraved or have a red legend plate or label with white letters stating “EMERGENCY OFF.”
  8. Components (Devices): Shall be identified to (not on) the component with the same designation as shown on the diagram.
  9. High Voltage Electricity: SRC employees are prohibited from working with high voltage electricity.
  10. Receptacles shall comply with the following:
    1. voltage and current ratings shall not be less than that of the supply circuit;
    2. when installed for convenience use, shall be rated at not less than 15 A at 125 V;
    3. when installed for power distribution, shall not have a connected load exceeding 80% of rating;
    4. shall be grounding type specification grade receptacles;
    5. receptacles should be mounted firmly in their enclosures and should not move when the plug is inserted. Loose receptacles can cause short circuits;
    6. shall be enclosed;
    7. shall be securely mounted to a vertical surface or may be mounted to a horizontal surface with faceplate down;
    8. shall be accessible to service personnel;
    9. shall be accessible without removing covers or opening doors when installed as convenience outlet for operator use;
    10. faceplates shall be flush with the outer edges of the box;
    11. faceplate screws or faceplate screw holes shall not be use for receptacle mounting unless other provisions are made to counteract the plug insertion pressure;
    12. all receptacles and any electrical conductors must be sufficiently grounded, and if uncertain whether or not this is true, call Facilities for assistance;
    13. if plug prongs break off and remain in the receptacle slots after insertion or withdrawal, do not attempt to remove them. Call Facilities for assistance.
  11. Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs):
    1. keep the floor in your workplace completely dry;
    2. keep all electrical equipment away from any source of water unless the appliance is rated for use around water, such as a wet-dry shop vacuum;
    3. ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI’s) should be used as much as possible. In any wet, damp or moist environment, GFCI’s are required;
    4. receptacles shall be protected by ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) when installed in a damp or wet location, e.g., hose wash down area;
    5. if anyone discovers loose receptacles or other faulty electrical equipment, it should be removed from service or tagged out until a qualified electrician from Facilities can make repairs.
  12. Extension Cords:
    1. Extension cords should be used only when necessary and only on a temporary basis (>90Days). Extension cords should not be used in place of permanent or fixed wiring.
    2. Do not “daisy chain” extension cords and/ or power strips.
    3. Prevent damage to the cord and plugs (i.e., avoid placing in walkways/ driveways, never staple, nail or otherwise attach extension cords to a surface.) * Keep all electrical cords away from areas where they may be pinched, such as off the floor, out of walkways, and out of doorways. Where possible, move the electrical appliance closer to the outlet.
    4. Only use extension cords rated for the equipment power needs.
    5. Make sure all extension cords are the right size or rating for the tool you’re using. EXAMPLE: The diameter of the extension cord being used should be equal to or greater than the cord of the appliance being used.
    6. Do not use any appliance or extension cord that exhibits signs of wear, such as frayed insulation or exposed wiring. To insure safe operation, all electrical equipment should be visually inspected before use.