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Non-Conductive Mats: Insulation Against High-Voltages
Electricity is the most important energy used all around the globe. Almost all the material things that people encounter today need an electrical supply to function for daily usage. From the earliest inventions like light bulbs to the latest innovations, electricity is a necessity.
Although useful in a lot of ways, electricity is also a cause of deaths, injuries and/or property damage. One of the most common dangers with electricity is electrical shocks. Electrical shocks or electrocution happens when a person comes in contact with high voltages coupled with a strong electric current. There are almost 3000 cases of injuries and 1000 deaths from these electrical shocks every year.
According to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), there are 350 reported cases of electricity-related injuries that occur in the industrial workplace every year. Exposure to high voltage machinery and equipment are considered hazardous and life-threatening. However, safety measures and requirements were implemented to protect employees' well-being. OSHA requires employers to maintain a safer environment for their workers who are frequently exposed to hazardous electrical sources.
An additional general requirement from OSHA states that: “No employer shall permit an employee to work in such proximity to any part of an electric power circuit that the employee could contact the electric power circuit in the course of work, unless the employee is protected against electric shock by deenergizing the circuit and grounding it or by guarding it effectively by insulation or other means."
Personal protective equipment is usually issued for industrial workers, but protection against electrical shocks must be added. Non-conductive mats are mainly used as protective accessories because they provide insulation for the workers standing on top of them. These are commonly found in industrial workplaces that require powerful electrical supplies to utilize heavy machinery and equipment. These can also be used in any type of working environment as long as exposure to electrical injuries is a potential hazard.
Non-conductive mats are capable of insulating against 40,000 volts. These are made of vinyl matting, which is a good alternative for rubber mats. They also come in four kinds that can cater to different working environments:
Diamond Plate 701 Switchboard Mat — this can insulate against 30,000 volts, protecting workers using high-voltage machinery. It is ¼" thick with a diamond-plated surface. This is categorized as a Type II, Class 2 under the ANSI/ASTM D-178-01 standards for safety mats.
Corrugated 702 Switch board Mat — this mat can insulate against 30,000 volts with an anti-slip ribbed surface for added protection. This is also categorized as a Type II, Class 2 under the ANSI/ASTM D-178-01 standards for safety mats.
Smooth Military 711 Non Conductive Mat — it is a 1/8" thick mat that is able to insulate against 30,000 volts on top of being ozone and oil resistant. This meets military specifications of 15562-F Amend. 3, Type II.
Diamond Plate Military 712 Non Conductive Mat — is a 3/16" anti-fatigue mat that insulates against 30,000 volts. It is ideal for use in high-voltage machinery and conforms to military specifications 15562-F Amend. 3, Type II.
Using non-conductive mats can save the lives of many workers who are in constant danger of incurring electrical injuries. Company owners are also assured of protection against possible safety charges if they are compliant with OSHA requirements. Although using these non-conductive mats is only for added protection against electrical shocks, it does not prevent workers from other work-related injuries. Proper handling and care of electrical equipment and other machinery must be maintained to optimize safety and protection.