Electrical Safety Tips – Ultimate Guide
Our homes, workspaces and public areas take use of electricity around 24 hours a day. It is used for lighting, heating, and to operate all sorts of electrical appliances. In fact, it is impossible for us to work without electricity. With its benefits, come its risks too. Electricity is after all electric current, and it may harm us if we do not take safety measures beforehand.
Injuries Caused by Electric Current:
Electricity flows in the form of electric current through a conductor. Electricity will usually form a path or loop back to the source. This completes the electrical circuit. The human body is actually a good conductor of electricity and so if electricity does not find a path, it will course through your body and this can injure you mildly or severely. There are basic four types of injuries i.e. electrocution, electric shock, falls, and burns. These can occur in various situations.
1: Direct Contact: When the body comes in direct contact with electricity, the current tends to flow through the body and affect the electric signals from our brain to our muscles through our nerves and can cause muscle spasms and affect heart functioning.
2: Electric Arc Contact: This usually occurs due to exposed energized conductors or circuit parts (power lines etc.) which create an electricity arc. These can jump onto a person who is grounded and flow into the ground. The person can get burnt and suffer from damage to the retina, and in some cases blindness.
3: Arc Blast: An arc blast is a type of discharge due to arc fault. These can create potential pressure waves to be released which can cause physical injury, collapse your lungs, can cause painful muscle contractions etc.
Statistics from the Electrical Safety Foundation show that in 2010 there were 163 fatal injuries in American workspaces. Most of them were electricity related mishaps. Therefore, it is important to adopt safety measures. In case the electrocution occurred due to the negligence or fault from the power line distribution company, you can take legal actions against them. Usually the victim gets monetary compensation.
Signs of Electrical Hazards:
There are some signs that show the possibility of electrical hazards. You should be aware of them for example, the dimming, surging or flickering of lights, breakers tripping frequently, fuses burning out, overheating of switches and fuses, plug outlets not working even after resetting the breaker or replacing the fuse, or if you sense a hot, plastic burning odor. If you ever face these signs, it is recommended to get in touch with an electrician as soon as possible.
Some Electrical Safety Rules:
Now we will discuss some electrical safety rules you should follow to minimize any chances of accidents or mishaps.
1: Switch off Unnecessary Appliances:
If you are not using an electric appliance then you should switch them off. This will not only save electricity but all also increase the lifespan of your appliance. Keeping appliances on overnight or for long quantities of time can cause them to overheat and may catch fire or cause short circuits, so make sure to switch off your appliances when not in use.
2: Do not Overload:
Do not overload your electrical outlets by connecting too many plugs, or installing an adaptor without considering the total output of the outlet. This can cause overheating and the fuse may burn out. If you use an adaptor make sure the output does not exceed the total rating. Also do not use multiple adaptors, and try to keep one plug per electrical outlet.
3: Don’t Nail Your Walls:
Try not to nail your walls as there is a large chance you may hit a live wire, and that could result in deadly shocks. You should always try to get a professional to do it for you. Try not to bang holes into your wall even if you want to save a bit of cash!
4: Keep Liquids Away from Electric Sources:
This is a very common rule. One you should still never overlook! Keep you appliances and outlets away from liquids; do not even put your drinks near appliances in case of a spill. Liquid could enter your appliances and cause short circuits. Try not to touch appliances with wet hands either, especially while plugging or unplugging.
5: Install Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters:
In case you are doubtful of the quality of wiring, install a GCFI (ground fault circuit interrupter). It is designed to shut off electrical power in case of a ground fault and helps prevent electrocution. While the circuit interrupter cuts of the circuit you may still feel a slight shock but it won’t be fatal. You can also use portable interrupters that you can plug into outlets for portable appliances.
6: Keep Appliances out of your Bathroom:
Try to check items if they are designed for use in the bathroom before using them. Other than that try to minimize the number of electric appliances you keep. Also do not touch the essential appliances with wet hands.
7: Fix faulty sockets, wiring, and plugs:
Try to keep an eye on your plugs, sockets and wiring. In case of any fault, or burns, contact an electrician and get them fixed immediately. Also do not let wires trail along your floor as they can cause mishaps. Try to keep faulty appliances away too or get then fixed.
8: Keep your Kids Away from Electricity:
In case your household includes kids, make sure they do not touch unnecessary electrical appliances and keep them away from sockets and plugs as much as possible. Try to make sure they do not use appliances with wet hands and teach them to avoid empty sockets and open wiring.