Electrical Safety Tips - How to recognize hazards to avoid personal injury and possible death from electrocution.
Electricity is an immediate and essential part of our daily lives, providing energy communications and computerization in offices, homes and industrial plants, as well as for residential purposes like boiling water, home heating, stove and oven cooking, air conditioning and food refrigeration, home, office and industrial and commercial lighting and other electrical systems. Because electricity is so widely used in evrey aspect of our life, every year people are killed or injured by electric shocks and arc flash burns because they either were not complelely aware of the relative hazards and did not properly understand the effects of electricity on the body or did understand but were negligent in their use electricity.
Listed below are general electrical fire safety tips on how to use electricity safely and keep your home safe from electrical hazards.
Tips for working with power tools:
- Switch off the power tool before connecting it to an electrical outlet.
- Disconnect the electric power supply before making any adjustments or changes to the electrical equipment.
- Ensure that electric power tools are exactly grounded or properly insulated. The grounded electric power tool must have a govenment approved 3-prong (grounded) plug. This grounded plug should be plugged in a properly grounded 3-pole outlet.
- Test all electric power tools for effective grounding with a continuity tester or a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) before use.
- Do not bypass the circuit switch and operate the electric power tools by connecting and disconnecting the power cord.
- Do not use electric power tools in wet conditions or damp locations unless tool is connected to a GFCI.
- Do not clean electric power tools with flammable or toxic solvents.
- Do not operate tools in an area containing explosive vapours or gases, unless they are intrinsically safe and only if you follow the manufacturer's guidelines.
Tips for working with electrical power cords:
- Keep electric power cords clear of tools during use.
- Fix all electrical problems right away to prevent electrical fires. If power fuses fail often, or if circuit breakers trip often, electrical switches get hot or people are shocked from touching electrical equipment, it is an indication that something is amiss.
- It is recommended that you should elevate electrical cords over aisles or work areas to eliminate the risk of people stumbling or tripping over them.
- Do not use light duty electric power cords.
- Follow the safety tips on new appliances.
- Do not carry electric power tools by the power cord.
- Do not wrap or tie electric power cords in tight knots. These knots can cause short circuits in the broken wire underneath the plastic jacket and shock a person. Loop the cords or use a twist lock plug.
- Any broken lamps cords, electric power cables which are not enclosed, improperly repaired wiring, or unsupported electrical wiring which is deemed to be unsecure, contact a licensed electrical contractor or electrician to ensure that they are made electrically safe.
- Never place electric cords under rugs or bedding. Heat or sparks from these cords could cause a fire.
- Never attach metal ladders or any other metal object to a extension cord, as it could cut through the power cord's insulation.
- Never attempt electrical work or interfere with electrical wiring or equipment. Always use a licensed electrical contractor for installation and repairs. Always read and follow the manufacturer s instructions on electrical appliance use and maintenance.
- People who live in homes that are more than 10 years old should consider having the wiring inspected. If your home is more than 40 years old, an inspection is overdue. Be sure to consult with your local building inspector before making repairs.
- Never use electric power equipment outdoors unless it s connected to an grounded power source protected by a Residual Current Device (RCD), safety switch.
- Cover unused outlets with plastic plugs.
- If a cord has 3-prongs, use it properly. Don’t remove the extra prong. The third prong is there because the appliance must be grounded to prevent electrical shocks.
- Before cutting, drilling or nailing into any wall or ceiling or roof, make sure of the location of any electrical wiring, to eliminate any possibility of penetrating through the wiring.
- When working on a metal ladder avoid contact with live wires, especially the supply cable to the house.
- A shock from a water pipe, even a tingle, may indicate a problem. Contact the local electricity distributor immediately.
- Install safety switches to provide additional protection from electric shock and minimise fire risk.
- Take cover during a thunder storm. If indoors, stay away from open windows and doors and use the telephone only in an emergency. If outdoors stay in the car and away from water, trees, and metal objects. Avoid low areas that might flood in a heavy rain.
- Be aware that safety switches are only a backup, and will not prevent all electrical fatalities. They is no substitute for using electricity safely.
- Never fly kites or model planes near electric power lines. If a kite does become entangled in electric power lines, if tree branches are touching electric power lines, or if electric power lines have fallen or sagged, contact the electric utility.
- Never use electrical appliances or extension cords where water could be accidentally be splashed onto them or they could fall into water. If an extension cord does get wet, switch off at the source, unplug it, dry it out and have it checked.
- Check labels on lamps and use the right size bulb. Check the label on your fuse box and be sure to delect the right size fuses.
- Never contact electric appliances, power switches, power sources or electrical lights with wet, bare hands or a damp rag as this will conduct electricity through the body.
- Never spray power sources or switches with liquid cleaners or insecticides: if there is a crack in power cables, moisture can contact live parts.
- Check electrical cords and connections for signs of wear. Replace broken, frayed or cracked power cords to prevent shock and fire.
- Never use a portable electric heater in a bathroom, ensure that combustible materials are kept well away from heaters.
- Cords and plugs should be checked regularly and replaced if frayed or damaged. Watch for danger signs like scorching, melting or blistering.
- Check electrical appliances regularly for any damage needing repair. Look for flickering, smoke, fizzing, spluttering, popping, hot fuses or erratic stop-start running.
- A tingle or a shock is a warning. Disconnect electrical appliances at the power source, label them to precent others from using them and report the incident to your electric utility or electrical contractor for repair.
- Never use broken switches and power cords. Have them replaced by a licensed electrical contractor. Never wash or immerse electrical appliances in water, unless the manufacturers instructions permit it.