In order to avoid accidental electrocution during home roof repairs, homeowners should learn and follow OSHA warnings pertaining to electrical safety. Whether repairing a roof leak or repairing a leak related electrical problem, learn the associated risks and avoid watts of pain.
Troubleshooting electrical systems is always risky. Factor in the possibility of accumulate water from a leaky roof, and the possibilities of electrical shock takes a sharp upward spike. According to the 2013 OSHA construction “Fatal Four” report, 8.6% out of 828 total 2013 construction-related deaths were by cause of electrocutions (1). Furthermore, three hundred and two of those deaths were due to falls – some of which were triggered by an electrical shock.
Not all electrical accidents result in death, but a lasting scar or a disabling wound can induce a similar type of extended family trauma. So… If you are not sure how to avoid accidental electrocution during a roofing installation or roof repair project, consider leaving the task in the hands of professional roofers.
Electricity, Dangerous On or Off the Roof
Although sometimes connected via underground cable, electricity typically enters homes through a lead wire that suspends between the eaves of the roof and a nearby utility pole. In either event, careless handling of electrical wires and components can result in serious electrical shock.
For roofers the risk of accidental contact with exposed electrics is a daily job hazard. Working with hammers, nails, ladders and other metal work tools proportionally increases the chances of an avoidable electrical accident. Even taking handhold on a metal gutter can result in an unexpected discovery: somewhere around the corner, that very gutter system may be in contact with an open and live wire.
Other electrical hazards include:
- A improperly grounded roof antennae or TV dish
- A shorted roof-mounted air conditioning unit
- And even a collection of water that links to shorted outlet in the attic.
How to Avoid Accidental Electrocution
Sometimes the wires around a roof get old, worn and exposed to destructive weather elements. It doesn’t take much to let injurious energy into the roofer’s world. Furthermore, not all home electricians perform their duties with care. It is possible that even in a brand new home, the electrician to correctly install the electrical system. This can mean that even a roofing nail could penetrate a hidden electric line.
Water leaking into an attic electrical outlet can also result in serious roofer injury. So, if you have any concerns about the electrics in your home, consider having a professional electrician come out for a wiring check.
Shutting down power at the c-panel box eliminates most of the risk factor. And, if necessary, your local power company will gladly come out and disconnect the lead line into the house if necessary. But remember also that certain appliances store energy in on-board capacitors. Thus even a dead lead line is not absolute assurance that all dangers are removed.
Specifics of Outdoors Electric Wiring
Although performing the same primary function, outdoor electrical cables are constructed differently than interior cables. According to electrical installation standards released by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, and adopted in one form or another by all U.S. states, the code for outdoor wiring is slightly different than the code for indoor wiring (2). Although not all states apply the same measure of NEMA standards, many communities do require a a licensed electrician for outdoor wiring projects. However, some regions merely demand that a licensed pro handle the final inspection of a finished electrical project.
What makes outdoor wiring different? Outdoor wiring needs protection from the elements. It is subjected to wet and icy conditions, drastic changes in temperature, and corrosion. Also, overhead cables must be kept high enough to avoid posing a hazard to ground traffic. Generally a height of 12 feet is adequate for residential work, but not always practical, and does nothing to guard against dangers such as falling trees, limbs and swinging ladders.
Weatherproofing Outdoor Electrics
Outdoors electrical materials and equipment such as fixtures, electrical boxes, receptacles, connectors, and fittings are manufactured not only to meet code requirements but also as resistant to the elements. Outdoors electrical equipment must be weatherproof and sometimes fully weather-tight as well.
Right Way Exterior Solutions – Doing the Hard Work For You
Avoid accidental electrocution and any other hazard associated with residential roofing. Call Right Way Exterior Solutions.