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Do You Want to Know How to Lessen the Risk of Electric Shock in Cold, Dry Weather? Posted by Best Access Doors - Canada on 23rd Jan 2024

As we settle deeper into the winter months and the temperatures continue to drop, the risks of electric shocks continue to increase. The cooler temperatures brought on by the winter months pose a particular challenge to the drier, arid, and semi-arid regions in Canada, such as the southern regions of British Colombia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and the Yukon.

Electricians, construction workers, and general contractors, particularly in the regions mentioned above, are required to be armed with as much knowledge of electric shock prevention as possible, as the cold, dark winter months pose an increased risk.

Continue reading to find out how this occurs and the steps that you can take to enhance electric shock prevention and improve your construction safety procedures.

How Does Cold Weather Impact Electric Shocks?

On every construction site, there are two primary safety risks associated with shocks—static and dynamic; however, static electric shocks are most affected by weather conditions. When electricity is “static,” this means that there is an imbalance of electric charges on an object’s surface, resulting in an accumulated electric charge.

Friction is the main culprit, as it causes what is known as the triboelectric effect, which has a greater impact on non-conductive materials. When two surfaces interact, their contact results in an accumulation of friction, causing changes at the microscopic level. As one surface loses electrons for a positive charge, the other surface gains them for a negative charge.

The imbalances create an electric field that attracts or repels two charged objects. An example of this would be when socks come out of the drier clinging together due to their attraction after being charged in the drying machine. One sock carries a negative charge, while the other carries a positive one.

As the surfaces continue to rub together over time, the charges accumulate and build up, requiring neutralization or transfer of electrons from a charged to a non-charged surface. Although the human body is a relatively poor conductor, it is a conductor, nonetheless, allowing varying degrees of electrical current to flow through it under certain conditions.

Skin, rubber, glass, nylon, and wool are prone to becoming negatively charged through electron gain, while polished metal, cotton, paper, silk, and fur quickly lose electrons for a positive charge. The drier the conditions, the more prone each interaction of materials will be to the triboelectric effect. As the charges seek to neutralize, your body becomes a prime outlet, which you experience as a quick, unpleasant shock.

On the job site, polished metal and cotton can be primary sources of positive electrical charges, expounded by cold and dry conditions. Although these shocks are non-life-threatening, an accumulation of them can leave you on edge with a heightened level of cortisol and a loss of focus.

Reducing Electric Shocks on the Cold and Dry Job Sites

In cold and dry conditions, the primary concern is to reduce friction, which is inevitable due to the lack of moisture in the air. Humidity control, the use of humidifiers, is an excellent solution to reducing friction, as the added moisture limits the triboelectric effect and subsequent static shocks.

Grounding all materials and equipment also helps to dissipate static charges, preventing their accumulation and minimizing electrostatic transfer and shocks. Anti-static flooring clothing and personal protective equipment are also excellent solutions to minimize electric shocks on the job site.

Finally, routine cleaning and maintenance are essential to limiting dust and debris, which contribute to conditions where static electricity flows freely. By taking these actions, you can greatly minimize and even eliminate electric shocks during the winter and remain focused and productive!

The Real Concern

A far more pressing concern is that of dynamic electric currents and the shocks they produce, which have hazardous and potentially life-threatening effects. Dynamic electric shocks carry an exponentially higher voltage than static shocks, and they can occur in any weather conditions—be it cold and dry or hot and humid.

Dynamic electric shocks allow electrical current to flow through conductors such as metals, and the less resistance to the flow, the more detrimental the impact will be. Construction sites pose numerous potential electrical hazards, from power tools and machinery to wiring and overhead powerlines.

Ensuring that all tools and equipment are properly grounded while performing routine maintenance and inspections is essential to your safety procedures. However, just as essential is using the right products to begin with. Additions such as the BAC-FGRG-RC Fiberglass Reinforced Gypsum Door – Radius Corners by Best Access Doors Canada provide added insulation to your safety precautions while ensuring a highly secure access point for inspections, installations, and maintenance of electrical components.

Where safe and hassle-free access is required, BAC-FGRG-RC is here to deliver, providing enhanced safety as an insulated fiberglass solution. BAC-FGRC-RC eliminates the risk of the flow dynamic electrical current, which may result in serious injury or even worse. With a non-corrosive structure, this access door is long-lasting and will not falter under frequent use while maintaining its structural integrity for maintained resistance and insulation.

Knowledge Powers Safety

It is critical to remain informed and aware of the risks and dangers associated with all job sites and in all weather conditions. However, by arming yourself with the right knowledge for electric shock prevention and taking the necessary precautions, you will ensure the reduction of electric shocks on the job while increasing safety for all.

For more safety tips and industry insights, you may check out our blog or contact our team of experts who can suggest the best access solutions. At Best Access Doors Canada, we pride ourselves on our commitment to going the extra mile for our customers—advising on the best practices and solutions to ensure safer and more productive worksites.

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