Tagging your Wires Could Save your Life!

In The Cable Technicians Guide by Fred Arnold

NO THANKS! WE DON’T NEED ADDITIONAL SAFETY MEASURES.

Many business owners are approached by entities that sell items such as hazmat signs. There is a bittersweet truth with safety products, and it’s this; business owners are typically not interested in them despite the fact that they save a great deal of money and legal liability in the long term. They save so much more than money and legal burden, however. These products can save lives!

IT DOESN’T APPLY TO MY INDUSTRY!

To complicate matters even further, there are those business owners that think, “MY work environment doesn’t require safety labels or hazmat signs, it’s an office! I thought that Hazmat stuff was for chemicals anyway…..”

Well Mr. Office owner, while you don’t have chemicals to store and use, you certainly have plenty of wiring all around that office. The same goes for the owners of construction sites and manufacturing plants. Wires are all over the place for all types of work environments when you think about it.

CONSTRUCTION AND WIRING: A DEADLY COMBINATION!

When we look at statistics, it’s essential to consider construction. This is because one in EVERY five work-related deaths occur within this industry! Statistically speaking, OSHA considered death by electrocution to be number three on its list of fatal four areas to monitor and eliminate within the construction industry.

IT DOESN’T STOP THERE…

While many electrocutions occur within construction, let’s remember that it is one of the deadliest industries. Any other industry with plenty of wiring could undoubtedly compete on an unlucky day, and it could be YOURS! The improper handling of wires can put that plant worker into cardiac arrest, even if he’s only exposed briefly! Central nervous system damage, burns and tissue/organ damage are all possible. Like cardiac arrest, any of these injuries can quickly lead to death. As we discussed previously, even that office worker is at risk……

SO HOW DOES THE COLOR CODE SYSTEM WORK?

There are two categories of wire labeling. A coded color system for electrical wiring and a name labeling system for non-electrical wires. Why are we concerned with data wires? Because that data also carries varying amounts of electrical current depending on what it is! This is why ALL wiring and cables should be labeled.

STANDARD A/C SYSTEM COLOR CODE.

With A/C current, it’s important to remember that you mainly have three color codes for, “hot,” wires. Hot is a generic term used for any cable that is live with electrical current. Hot wires are called phase wires professionally. They are labeled as phases one, two and three. The three hot cables are coded red, black and blue. Any white wire present in such a setting is typically neutral. There generally are two green ground wires as well. Ground wires are included for safety; they ground the current to the earth.

HIGH VOLTAGE A/C SYSTEM COLOR CODE.

Phases one, two and three are brown, orange and yellow respectively on most systems. These phase wires have up to 480 volts, however! It’s mainly important to identify them. The neutral wire is now grey for high voltage. There are also three ground wires on most of these systems. Two of the wires are green, and one is not colored. This provides additional safety.

I SEE THOSE COLORS ON MY WIRES, WHY LABEL THEM?

Even with that color scheme present on the outside covering of most wiring, accidents happen. The worker can’t always see what wire they are grabbing. Reinforcing the color scheme with tags is a great idea because of this. A worker might not have ANY IDEA what a data wire is without such tagging.

TO WRAP THINGS UP…

The next time a salesperson approaches you with a sales pitch for safety items like hazmat signs, pay attention! You might be able to spend a little money and tag your wiring to make it safer for everybody involved.

Sources

Creative Safety Supply

Zumar

SMP