Industrial Electrical Hazards

Industrial electrical hazards include shocks, burns, electrocution, arc flashes, and electrical fires. Electrical dangers in industrial workplaces can be mitigated with proper education, configuration, and maintenance. Many hazards stem from incorrectly installed or damaged wiring.

Are you a business owner with potential electrical hazards in your warehouses, factories, or other industrial settings? Are you trying to find electrical services and improve safety? 

Keep reading to find out what industrial electrical hazards to be aware of. 

Access Electric will outline some major and/or common electrical dangers as well as some of the best ways to prevent injuries and property damage due to electrical problems like shocks or fires.

If you’re seeking more specific information about agricultural electrical hazards, keep reading here.

Industrial Electrical Dangers

Shocks, burns, injuries, and property damage are industrial electrical dangers. Treating injuries and repairing property damage can be expensive, so rectifying potential risks for electrical problems is essential for workplace safety and saving money on costly treatments and/or repairs.

Lack of Workplace Education and Training

One of the biggest contributors to electricity-related injuries at industrial job sites is a lack of training or understanding of electrical dangers. Educating employees about the following hazards can contribute to improved workplace safety as everyone becomes aware of danger signs.

Make sure your company has proper lock-out/tag-out procedures and adequate personal protective equipment for the electrical hazards in the workplace.

Improper Grounding

Improper grounding can lead to electrical shock. Grounding is a method of returning the excess voltage to the earth. Older or damaged electrical appliances or outlets may lack a proper ground or physical connection to the earth. The excess voltage may then shock the handler.

Do not remove grounding pins from cords or plugs. Do not use adapters or “pigtails.” 

Exposed Electrical Components

Electrical components are exposed when wires or terminals are not covered. These exposed electrical components increase the risk of shock or electrocution. All circuit breakers and panels must be configured correctly and have no openings or exposed wires for safety reasons.

Electrical components may also be exposed through broken or missing outlet covers.

Inadequate Wiring

Wiring is inadequate when the extension cord or circuit is not designed to handle the electrical load of the electrical appliance. Each gauge of wire and extension cord has a rating to indicate the amount of electrical current the wire can handle safely without overheating. 

Damaged or Insufficient Insulation

Cords for electrical appliances have a coating to insulate the wires. Make sure that this insulation is in good condition without separation near the plug or other connections, any melting, nicks, cracks, or other signs of damage. Any temporary job site lighting must be properly enclosed.

Only use tools that are labeled as double insulated. These tools will have a square within a square symbol on them.

Overloaded Circuits and Circuit Breaker Failure

Overloaded circuits overheat and increase the risk of a fire. If the circuit breaker fails to trip when a circuit is overloaded, then there is an even greater risk of a fire or shock. Do not use power strips or surge protectors in construction or industrial settings. Use portable GFCIs instead.

Do not overload outlets, and only use proper circuit breakers.

Damaged Tools and Equipment

Damaged tools and equipment can present electrical dangers because there may be damaged insulation or poor connections that will cause overheating and/or electrical shock. Overheated electrical components can lead to fire.

Damaged tools or equipment may also allow moisture or corrosive materials to come in contact with wiring, which increases the danger of using the electrical appliance.

Wet Conditions

Using electrical appliances and tools in wet conditions increases the risk of electrical shock. Water is a good electrical conductor, so when electricity comes in contact with the water, people or objects in the water will be exposed to electricity. 

Make sure that your work area and tools are dry before connecting them to an electrical supply and beginning work.

Improper Use of Extension Cords

Linking extension cords together lowers their amperage capacity. Make sure that permanent electrical receptacles are available throughout the industrial workplace to avoid using too many extension cords. Don’t 

If an extension cord or wire has been damaged, do not repair the cord with tape or other means. Promptly replace damaged wires and cords. Do not use nails, staples, or other sharp objects to hang cords.

Preventing Industrial Electrical Hazards

Preventing electrical hazards requires workplace training, personal protective equipment, proper inspection of tools and equipment, and other safety measures. Regular inspections, arc flash studies, and thermography can help identify problems before they cause injury or damage.

Access Electric performs arc flash studies and industrial electrical thermography to help businesses with preventative electrical maintenance. 


Electrical technologies have improved productivity and enhanced industrial processes. At the same time, these technologies present electrical hazards. Using caution and practicing preventative measures can mitigate the risks of electrical shock and fires.

Licensed Industrial Electrician

Find a trustworthy industrial electrician to help your business with regular inspections and repairs. Industrial businesses in central California can reach out to Access Electric for more information on inspections, repairs, and/or installation by calling (209)-577-1491.

Interested in onsite renewable energy? Keep reading here about microgrids.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the signs of an electrical hazard?

Electrical hazards may be clearly marked by signs like “high voltage” or “danger.” Look for additional indications of electrical danger, such as water or dampness, damaged insulation, or wires before beginning work. Check to make sure wires and tools don’t overheat during work.

What are common electrical hazards in the workplace?

Common electrical hazards in the workplace include damaged wiring, overloaded circuits, contact with power lines or live wires, using electrical appliances in wet conditions, improper use of extension cords, and improper grounding. Always check the area and equipment for safety.