Electricity: Electrical Safety

Electricity: Electrical Safety

  • Electricity can be a serious hazard with potential for causing injury or even death, hence it is important to understand electrical safety measures.

  • Usage of plastic or rubber, which are insulators, around wires is an essential safety measure to prevent shocks. These materials resist the flow of current, ensuring it stays within the wire.

  • All electrical appliances in homes are connected to an earth wire system as a safety measure. The earth wire provides a low-resistance path to ground that the current can follow if a fault occurs in the device, thereby preventing potential shocks.

  • Another vital safety feature in electrical systems is the use of fuses and circuit breakers. A fuse is a small wire that melts if too much current flows through it, breaking the circuit and preventing further flow of electricity. Circuit breakers work in a similar fashion, they automatically switch off the circuit if excessive current is detected.

  • The use of Residual Current Devices (RCDs) is another safety measure. These devices constantly measure the current flowing in and out of a circuit. If the currents are not equal — indicating a fault like a live wire touching the casing of a device — the RCD will quickly break the circuit.

  • It is crucial not to mix water and electricity. Water is a good conductor, and the human body consists mostly of water, so if a person touches water that’s in contact with an electrical source, then the current can flow through their body, potentially causing a fatal shock.

  • Warning signs and labels are used in environments with potential electrical hazards. Ignoring these can lead to serious accidents.

  • Regular maintenance and checks of electrical devices and installations can prevent mishaps. Cables, plugs and devices should be visually inspected for any signs of wear or damage.

  • It’s important that repairs and installations are carried out by qualified professionals with the appropriate safety training.

  • Lastly, always switch off and unplug electrical devices when not in use to minimise the risk of shock, overheating or fire.