We all know that electrical hazards can be dangerous, but sometimes we don’t take the necessary precautions to protect ourselves from them. So, how can you protect yourself from electrical hazards? In this blog post, we will discuss some of the most common electrical hazards around the home and how you can protect yourself from them including knowing when to arrange a new switchboard installation. We will also provide some helpful safety tips for identifying electrical hazards and how to avoid electrical injuries! Want to brush up on some lingo before we start, browse our Electrical Terms and Definitions page.
One of the most common electrical hazards is electrical shock. This can happen when you come into contact with an electrical current, either through your skin or through clothing. If you are ever in this situation, it is important to remain calm and try to remove yourself from the source of the current as quickly as possible. Once you are away from the source of the electrical current, call for medical help immediately.
Do you live in a street that has overhead power lines? During periods of extreme weather, you may see downed power lines near your property, it is important that you never approach these and instead alert your electricity provider.
Another common electrical hazard is electrical fires. These can occur when electrical equipment or wiring is not properly maintained. If you see sparks or smoke coming from an electrical outlet or appliance, it is important to evacuate the area immediately and call for fire help. Do not try to extinguish the fire yourself!
The NSW Fire & Rescue Department provides the following tips for the prevention of electrical fires and overall better electrical safety:
- Be mindful of your electrical load – don’t overload powerpoints and powerboards.
- Use quality power cords and certified circuit breakers.
- Regularly check electrical leads for damage and faults.
- Never use faulty electrical leads or appliances.
- Store your electric blanket safely – roll don’t fold.
- Before going to bed, turn off all electrical appliances at the powerpoint.
- Turn off electric blankets and heaters when you’re not at home and before getting into bed.
Electrical explosions are the release of energy as a result of a circuit between power phases or a phase to ground. When the electrical panels in most homes are functioning within their normal design parameters, they contain an enormous amount of energy on the bus.
Electrical explosions can happen due to many reasons like loose electrical connections, damaged electrical insulation, circuits overloaded with too much electricity or even faulty electrical wiring. All these reasons can lead to a huge release of energy which can cause serious damage to property and even loss of life.
Electric static electricity can cause damage not just with the high voltage flow, but also by generating a spark. Depending on the conditions of the operation environment, this spark may cause a fire or an explosion.
To protect yourself from this hazard, it is important to have a qualified electrician regularly check your electrical panels and wiring. If you see or hear any sparks, smoke, or explosions coming from your electrical panel, evacuate the area immediately and call for help.
Electrical Board Safety Tips
Home and business electrical fires can be sparked by improper care, as well as incorrect usage of electricity boards and associated circuit breakers.
Electrical faults are believed to be the cause of over 350 residential house fires in NSW each year, according to statistics so taking appropriate electrical safety precautions is paramount.
Powerboards can be responsible for electrical hazards when:
- They have been overloaded.
- They have a build-up of dust or dirt in unused points.
- They are being operated in an environment with inadequate ventilation.
- They become overheated via the use of heavy plug-in transformers.
Common Electrical Hazards around the home
Did you know that faulty wiring is one of the leading causes of electrical fires? Poor wiring can cause electrical shorts and sparks, which can easily ignite fire hazards. It is important to have your wiring checked regularly by a qualified electrician to avoid any potential hazards.
Electrical outlets close to water
Installing outlets in bathrooms, kitchens, and other living areas with water a safe distance away from the water source is recommended. The chance of electric shock is decreased by keeping electrical connections out of water.
Avoid using a radio, hairdryer, phone, or any other gadget in the bath, around the pool, or anywhere with a wet floor.
Touching appliances with wet hands
You should always make sure your hands are dry before you touch electrical appliances. If they are wet, you could be electrocuted. Whilst this may appear somewhat obvious for adults, it may not be so well known with younger children when looking to do activities like drying their hair with a hairdryer after a shower.
Infants and toddlers are naturally curious and eager to discover more about the world. While it is always preferable to keep an eye on children this young, parents and expectant parents can take additional precautions to safeguard young children at home.
EXTRA-SAFE powerpoints may be used in place of any electrical outlet at their height and within their reach. These can be mixed with regular powerpoints to prevent sharp objects and fingers from being put into the socket. Unprotected sockets might result in severe bodily harm.
If you must use an extension cord, choose one that is heavy-duty and made of 14-gauge wire or thicker. Do not overload the cord by plugging in too many devices. Never run electrical cords under rugs or furniture, or nail or staple them to walls, baseboards, or floors. Doing any of these things can damage the extension cords, causing a fire hazard.
Covered power cords
Wires can overheat if they are covered with a thick layer of insulation, potentially causing an electrical fire. Keeping cords and wires out of the way of other objects and uncovering them is important.
Similarly, keep an eye on electrical equipment like PCs and televisions to ensure that there is enough room for ventilation around them so that they do not overheat.
Tips for staying safe around electricity
Here are some helpful safety tips to prevent electrical hazards:
- Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using electrical equipment.
- Do not overload electrical outlets.
- Inspect electrical cords and plugs regularly for damage. Do not use them if they are damaged in any way.
- All combustible materials, such as bedding, clothing, curtains, furniture, and newspapers, should be kept away from all heating devices.
- Do not place electrical cords under rugs or furniture.
- Keep electrical equipment away from water.
- It is vital that you teach your youngsters that power points and appliances are not toys. It is bad for children to touch live pins on plugs. Children are less likely to put things in power outlets when they have plastic covers instead of real ones.
- If you are using electrical equipment outdoors, make sure that the area is clear of any flammable materials.
- Do not use electrical appliances while standing on wet ground.
- Always unplug electrical appliances before cleaning them.
- Under Australian conditions, some imported goods may not function correctly or safely with a 240V 50Hz supply. These items might be dangerous if used without proper modification. Have them examined before use to ensure that they are safe.
By following these safety tips, you can help prevent electrical hazards such as electric shock, cardiac arrest and even death. Be mindful of your electrical circuits and if you operate electrical equipment such as power tools be sure to follow the tips contained in this article like checking for exposed electrical parts and being careful around wet conditions.
If you do come into contact with an electrical current, remember to remain calm and call for medical help immediately. And if you see sparks or smoke coming from an electrical outlet or appliance, evacuate the area immediately and call for help. Do not try to extinguish the fire yourself! By taking these precautions, you can help keep yourself and those around you safe from electrical hazards. Lastly, if you have concerns about the electrical systems used in your home – contact the licensed electricians from Finnley Electrical today!