Electrical Hazards and Safety

It’s common knowledge that electricity and water don’t mix — we teach children that at a very early age. But when you need both to care for beautiful plants, bushes, and trees, what can you do to keep your employees safe? It’s simple: assess, organize, and plan so no one gets zapped.

Search the entire property

When you’re searching for potential electrical hazards, start by walking through the property and carefully evaluating every nook and cranny of your business. Look in all buildings and structures, on the ground and up high, behind doors, and under sinks. Consider contacting our safety services team to have a safety expert walk through with you, and keep an eye out for the following:

  • Shredded cords: Is there a rodent problem, or is the equipment is too old?
  • Ground pins: Are extension cords or power cords on tools missing the important ground pin?
  • Exposed wires: Are outlets broken, or loose enough that wires are visibly sticking out of walls? Are they of a GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters) type in wet areas?
  • Wet floors: These may be difficult to avoid, so are cords elevated and dry?
  • Circuit overload: Are there too many things plugged in to one outlet, or are multiple extension cords used?
  • Overhead wires: Will employees be working near outside electrical lines?

If you find anything hazardous, document what you see both in writing and visually with pictures or video so you have an easily accessible record, which will help when you organize and plan.

Note: It is recommended that GFCIs be installed in areas where electrical cords and power tools are used in close proximity to water.

Don’t forget: Be sure to regularly test all electric-based tools and equipment, and upgrade quickly on an as-needed, ongoing basis.

Organize and prioritize

Once you’ve reviewed your property and tools, and before you’ve created a safety plan, organize tasks by priority. Is it important to fix the exposed wiring first, or does that seem like it’s out of harm’s way for now, so you can start by replacing or repairing tools? Figure out what’s best for both the safety of your employees and your business.

Don’t take chances: Make a plan

After searching, create a plan for how often you should repeat that process; considering how much equipment you own, is once a year enough, or should you look more often? Keep written records of all repairs so you can avoid breakdowns and know when to re-test equipment for quality, efficiency, and safety.

A testing plan should not be your only one, however. You need to train all employees on the proper use of electric tools and equipment. If English is a secondary language for some of your employees, help them with an interpreter. Train new employees as soon as they start, and create a continuing education plan to keep employees’ skills and safety knowledge sharp.

Learn more tips on staying safe from electrical hazards in your greenhouse or nursery contact us at safetyoncall@pinnacol.com.