As an Electrical Contractor, you are often working in confined spaces and with a number of manual and power tools. It is important to carefully consider the health and safety risks, particularly in relation to ergonomic related injuries, as these can often lead to significant compensation claims from current or previous insurers under the employers’ liability section of your Electrical Contractors Insurance policy.
Duty of Care
All employers in the UK are required by law to purchase employers liability insurance in excess of £5,000,000, although the majority of policies provide a £10,000,000 limit as standard. Employer liability provides indemnity against your legal liability for injury or illness to an employee as a result of their employment with you.
As an employer, you have a duty of care to all your staff to provide a safe working environment. While there is an acceptance that an electrical contractor is a manual occupation, potential hazards and risk of injury should be mitigated through a thorough risk management programme.
Risk Assessments and Best Practice
Regular risk assessments should be undertaken, feeding into best practice and training for your workforce. The following tips may assist you in developing your own bespoke plan:
#1 Prefabrication Tips
- Use mechanical conduit benders whenever possible.
- Prefabricate as much conduit as possible to minimise manual on-site bending.
- Use long-handled manual conduit benders when mechanical ones are not an option.
- Wear gloves to protect your hands while manually bending conduit.
- Pre-plan welding jobs to minimise awkward postures.
- Work on tables and jigs that can be adjusted to allow you to keep a neutral position while working.
- Use anti-fatigue mats to help reduce discomfort from prolonged periods spent on your feet.
#2 Repair and Installation
Pulling and Feeding Wire
- Use a mechanical wire puller whenever possible.
- Use portable pulleys to exert larger forces while maintaining proper posture.
- Reduce the length of pulls whenever possible.
- Take regular breaks from manual pulling.
- Rotate pulling and feeding responsibilities with a co-worker if one is available.
- Use spool rollers that allow spools to rotate in place, releasing wire smoothly and with less effort.
Trenching and Digging
- Use a mechanical means of digging, such as a trencher or excavator whenever possible.
- Use long handled tools to minimise torso bending.
- Take frequent breaks while manually digging.
- Use tools that do not require an extended grip. The hand should be in the shape of a "C" while gripping the tool.
- Use powered or ratcheting tools whenever possible for repetitive tasks.
- Use spring-loaded pliers, snips and crimpers.
- Use torque bars on tools such as drills and pipe threaders for easier control.
- Use power tools that allow for neutral wrist position.
- Use padded tool belts with braces to evenly distribute the weight between the shoulders and waist.
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