Electrical Safety

We rely on electricity in almost every aspect of our daily lives, but we often underestimate its ability to cause injury. BSU students, faculty, and staff need to be aware of the hazards electricity poses, such as shock, fire and explosion, and know how to either eliminate or control these hazards.

Shock vs. Electrocution

Electrical shock occurs when electrical current passes through the body. Electrical energy flows through part(s) of the body to a ground. This can happen if a person touches both wires of an energized circuit, touches one wire of the circuit while standing unprotected or touches a metal part that has become energized.

Electrocution refers to the injury or lethal dose of electrical energy. Electricity can also cause forceful muscle contraction or falls. The severity of injury depends on the amount of current flowing through the body, the path the current takes through the body, and/or the length of time the body remains as part of the circuit and the current’s frequency.


Electrical Fires may be caused by excessive resistance that generates heat from any of the following:

  • Too much current running through wiring, or overloading circuits
  • Faulty electrical outlets resulting in poor contact or arcing
  • Poor wiring connections or old wiring that is damaged and cannot support the load

An explosion can occur when electricity ignites a flammable gas or combustible dust mixture in the air. Ignition is also possible from a short circuit or static charge.

What you Need to Know
Electrical Safety- Basics
  • Extension cards cannot be used as permanent wiring. The should be removed after temporary use for an activity or event.
  • Surge protectors with built-in circuit breakers may be used long-term.
  • Ensure electrical equipment is properly connected, grounded and in working order.
  • Don’t work with exposed conductors carrying 50 volts or more.
  • High amp equipment like, space heaters, portable air conditioners, etc., must be plugged directly into permanent wall outlets.
  • Do not access, use or alter any campus building’s electrical service, such as circuit breaker panels, unless you are qualified and authorized to.
  • Wet environments can increase the risk of an electrical shock.
  • Never use an electrical cord, extension cord, etc. with frayed or exposed wiring.