Discover Safety Tips on Any Electrical Installations
Why is it so important to work safely with or near electricity?
The voltage of the electricity and the available electrical current in regular businesses and homes has enough power to cause death by electrocution. Even changing a light bulb without unplugging the lamp can be hazardous because coming in contact with the “hot”, “energized” or “live” part of the socket could kill a person.
What kinds of injuries result from electrical currents?
People are injured when they become part of the electrical circuit. Humans are more conductive than the earth (the ground we stand on) which means if there is no other easy path, electricity will try to flow through our bodies.
There are four main types of injuries: electrocution (fatal), electric shock, burns, and falls. These injuries can happen in various ways:
- Direct contact with exposed energized conductors or circuit parts. When electrical current travels through our bodies, it can interfere with the normal electrical signals between the brain and our muscles (e.g., heart may stop beating properly, breathing may stop, or muscles may spasm).
- When the electricity arcs (jumps, or “arcs”) from an exposed energized conductor or circuit part (e.g., overhead power lines) through a gas (such as air) to a person who is grounded (that would provide an alternative route to the ground for the electrical current).
- Thermal burns including burns from heat generated by an electric arc, and flame burns from materials that catch on fire from heating or ignition by electrical currents or an electric arc flash. Contact burns from being shocked can burn internal tissues while leaving only very small injuries on the outside of the skin.
- Thermal burns from the heat radiated from an electric arc flash. Ultraviolet (UV) and infrared (IR) light emitted from the arc flash can also cause damage to the eyes.
- An arc blast can include a potential pressure wave released from an arc flash. This wave can cause physical injuries, collapse your lungs, or create noise that can damage hearing.
- Muscle contractions, or a startle reaction, can cause a person to fall from a ladder, scaffold or aerial bucket. The fall can cause serious injuries.
Electrical Safety Tips for Your Home
We love electricity – it keeps us warm, makes our homes bright, allows us to access all of our entertainment, enables us to eat a warm meal whenever we want and so much more. Electricity has made our lives more enjoyable in so many ways– but that doesn’t mean it comes without its risks–we’ll walk you through some electrical safety tips that all homeowners should be aware of.
Gain some knowledge on basic electrical safety tips– these tips will help you enjoy the devices and appliances you love while keeping everyone safe from harm.
- Replace or repair damaged power cords
Exposed wiring is a danger that cannot go overlooked, the NFPA wrote. If you see the protective coating on a wire is stripped away, be sure to replace it or cover it with electrical tape as soon as possible.
- Don’t overload your outlets
Every outlet in your home is designed to deliver a certain amount of electricity; by plugging too many devices into it at once, you could cause a small explosion or a fire. If you have a lot of things to plug in, use a power strip (an energy saving one of course!) that can safely accommodate your needs.
- Avoid extension cords as much as possible
Running extension cords through the house can trip up residents; this can cause injury and damage to the wire or outlet if it causes the cord to be ripped out of the wall. If you find yourself using extension cords very often, consider having an electrician install new outlets throughout your home.
- Keep electrical equipment or outlets away from water
Water conducts electricity, so even the slightest exposure to this dangerous mix can lead to injury. Make sure you wipe up any spills to ensure that plugs don’t get wet.
- Protect small children from hazards
Toddlers and small children are very curious– and they love to explore just about everything. Parents of small children should put tamper-resistant safety caps on all unused electrical outlets. In addition, all loose cords should be tidied up and put out of reach to avoid kids tugging on them.
Child proofing your home
Keep curious kids safe from the temptation to stick foreign objects into outlets or plugs.
- Unused wall outlets should be secured. Plastic inserts can be used but they can be pulled off and stuck in the mouth. Consider using safety outlets that prevent foreign objects from being inserted. You can also block outlets with the creative arrangement of furniture.
- If you’re temporarily using extension cords, hide them behind furniture or use a hide-a-cord device. You can also put electrical tape over unused plug holes on cords.
- Put electrical devices such as DVD players on a shelf out of reach, or behind a barrier.
- Store bathroom and kitchen electrical appliances – like hair dryers and toasters – out of reach of curious children.
More Residential Electrical Safety Tips
Other electrical safety tips at home range from preparing for severe weather to checking new appliances for Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories (NRTL) listings. Here’s a sample of electricity safety suggestions that will help keep your home’s appliances running smoothly:
- Look for NRTL listings for your products and appliances. NRTLs such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL), Edison Testing Laboratories (ETL) and Canadian Standards Association (CSA) test appliances to ensure they comply with OSHA’s electrical safety rules.
- Ask a professional to install electrical wiring. Electrical systems are potentially dangerous. Even if you’re a skilled DIYer, consult with a professional before installing new wiring or electrical appliances. Licensed electricians have the skills and knowledge needed to keep your home safe and in compliance with electrical codes.
- Know what to do when the power goes down. Knowing what to do when the power goes out helps you protect yourself from downed power lines and other hazards while shielding your appliances from damage caused by power surges.
- Install smoke detectors. Electrical fires often smolder before breaking out into open flame, and the U.S. Fire Administration reports that most electrical fires occur between midnight and 6:00 a.m. Installing smoke alarms helps alert you to the dangers of electrical fires.
BEWARE OF FIRE HAZARDS
Come up with a fire emergency plan; ensure that everyone knows and understands it.
Practice fire drills.
Avoid “power strips” which can ignite a fire if overloaded.
Ventilation is critical, especially if dealing with fumes and chemicals.
- Good ventilation helps to reduce the toxins in the air, and thus to eliminate highly flammable vapors.
In case of fire, know what has fed the fire.
- Never fight a grease fire with water; water will splash the oil and spread the flames.
- Be aware of the whereabouts and use of fire extinguishers.
Electricity safety is important in any home. From powering your appliances, to lighting your home, electricity is an amazing force worthy of our respect and consideration. By practicing these electrical safety tips at home you can lower your risk of accidents, avoid overworking your home’s electrical system, and keep you and your family safe.