Top 3 Risks When Working on Energized Equipment

Top 3 Risks When Working on Energized Equipment


When working with electricity, no hazard should be overlooked. According to specialists, there is no situation where electricity represents a lesser risk for workers. If the power is on, there is danger. The best protection against the risk of electric shock is to turn the power off before starting the task. It doesn’t take much to cause an accident.

Canadian federal legislation requires that employers exercise due diligence against workplace hazards, which means making every reasonable effort to protect their employees.


According to the regulation, employers must implement and document a comprehensive electrical safety program to outline the activities adapted to electrical hazards, voltage, energy level, and circuit conditions in the workplace and surrounding area.

Learn more about electrical safety standards

Three types of risk when working on energized equipment:

  1. Electrization and electrocution

Electricity going through the body or “electrization”, can sometimes cause external and internal burns, cardiac rhythm disorders and injuries to organs. In severe cases, when injuries lead to death, this constitutes an electrocution.

  1. Burns caused by arc flash

Arc flash can be created by faulty equipment, unleashing a significant amount of energy that will burn the worker. The quantity of energy freed up by the arc is called “incident energy”. This depends on:

  • The short-circuit capacity at the fault
  • The circuit voltage
  • Opening time for protection
  1. Explosion

This is a very dangerous phenomenon for workers. It can rupture eardrums, crush the lungs and throw debris and molten metals that can severely injure the workers.

Analyzing Incident Energy

A study shall be conducted by experts to determine the potential exposure of a worker to the energy generated by arc flashes in order to prevent injuries, establish safe work practices and a proper arc flash perimeter as well as to define the appropriate level of personal protective equipment.

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Control of Electric Risks: Working Offline

The essence of the Act on Occupational Health and Safety supports the elimination of the hazard at the source. Working offline is an efficient method to eliminate hazards and prevent accidents from occurring every year. Constraints sometimes make it difficult to work on de-energized equipment; work planning is also required. Standards, work methods and equipment allow workers to perform their tasks safely.