Safety is the job of each individual. You should be concerned not only with your own safety but with the safety of others around you. This is especially true for persons employed in the electrical field.
Some general rules should be followed when working with electrical equipment or circuits at your home.
The most important safety precautions in using electricity at home are:
1. Never work on an energized circuit
When possible, use the following three-step check to make certain that power is turned off:
1-Test the meter on a known live circuit to make sure the meter is operating.
2-Test the circuit that is to become the de-energized circuit with the meter.
3-Test the meter on the known live circuit again to make certain the meter is still operating.
Install a warning tag at the point of disconnection so people will not restore power to the circuit. If possible, use a lock to prevent anyone from turning the power back on.
2. Never assume that a circuit is off. Double-check it
Of all the rules concerning safety, this one is probably the most important. No amount of safeguarding or idiot-proofing a piece of equipment can protect a person as well as taking time to think before acting. Many technicians have been killed by supposedly “dead” circuits. Do not depend on circuit breakers, fuses, or someone else to open a circuit. Test it yourself before you touch it. If you are working on high-voltage equipment, use insulated gloves and meter probes to measure the voltage being tested. Think before you touch something that could cost you your life.
3. Avoid horseplay
Jokes and horseplay have a time and place, but not when someone is working on an electric circuit or a piece of moving machinery. Do not be the cause of someone being injured or killed and do not let someone else be the cause of your being injured or killed.
4. Do not work alone
This is especially true when working in a hazardous location or on a live circuit. Have someone with you who can turn off the power or give artificial respiration and/or CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation). Possible effects of several electrical shocks are breathing difficulties and causing the heart to go into fibrillation. Also, a telephone should be available for emergencies.
5. Work with one hand when possible
The worst kind of electrical shock occurs when the current path is from one hand to the other, which permits the current to pass directly through the heart. A person can survive a severe shock between the hand and foot that would cause death if the current path was from one hand to the other.
6. Wear protective clothing and remove metal objects
Wear safety glasses when appropriate, particularly when soldering and clipping wires. Always wear shoes and keep them dry. Do not stand on metal or wet floors when working on electrical circuits. Even low-voltage circuits can be dangerous because of the high temperatures that can be momentarily generated when a short circuit occurs. These temperatures can cause burning, sometimes severe. As a precaution, chains, watch straps, and rings made of metal should not be worn while servicing is being carried out.
7. Check the tools and equipment
Do not work on equipment until you know proper procedures and are aware of potential hazards. Keep your tools properly maintained. Make sure the insulation on metal tool handles is in good condition. Make sure power cords are in good condition and grounding pins are not missing or bent.
8. Discharge the capacitors inside the home appliances
Always shut off power and discharge capacitors before you touch any part of a circuit. Capacitors can be discharged with a special capacitor discharge tool that releases the charge in a controlled manner. Avoid contact with the terminals of power supplies.
9. Make connections properly
Always use wires with insulation and connectors or clips with insulating shrouds. Keep cables and wires as short as possible. Connect polarized components properly. And never put an electricity cable on a hot surface, as it can damage the insulation and wiring inside.
10. Keep unused devices unplugged
Try to keep out-of-use or rarely used fixed appliances unplugged. This is a great safety practice for devices like washing machines, tv, computer, and charging devices.
On one hand, it will help with the power drain. On the other hand, it will keep the electronics protected from unwanted power surge-related damage.
11. Test your safety switch every three months
Test your safety switches every three months to ensure they are working properly. Follow these simple steps:
Let everyone know you are about to test your safety switches, especially if they’re using a computer or recording something on TV – the testing process will cut power to those circuits connected to the safety switch.
At the switchboard, press the ‘T’ or ‘Test’ button located on the safety switch, if it flicks off and cuts the power, it is working. Check to see which lights or appliances are now off – these are protected by the safety switch. If it has not cut the power to the connected circuit then you are no longer protected and you should talk to your electrician as soon as you can.
After testing, turn the safety switch back on. Depending on the safety switch type, push it back upwards or twist it into the ‘on’ position. For circuits with a refrigerator or air conditioner, wait for two to three minutes before resetting to avoid possible appliance damage.
12. Check the outlets and bulbs
Install childproof caps or cover plates on unused outlets (Make sure you use the non-choking hazard type) Do not overload outlets with multiple adaptors or power strips; relocate cords instead. Install ground fault circuit interrupter (GFI) outlets in potentially hazardous areas such as kitchens, bathrooms, unfinished basements, crawlspaces, garages, and all outdoor outlets. Use bulbs that have the correct wattage requirements for each fixture – using a higher wattage bulb can cause the fixture to overheat (consider switching to more efficient compact fluorescent or LED lamps that provide the same level of light at a lower wattage level)
13. Use electrical cords safely
Electrical cords must be the proper wire size for the load they serve. Overloaded cords will become hot and can start a fire. Avoid permanent use of extension cords. Appliance cords and extension cords are susceptible to physical damage from foot traffic, furniture, house pets, swinging doors, and many other causes, so protect them from damage.
Never overload electrical cords or power strips. Electrical cords and power strips have a designated load capacity. Be sure the total amount of energy used by appliances and lights plugged into the cord or strip does not exceed that capacity. Use only listed power strips that have integral overload protection and have been tested by a product safety laboratory. Don’t use appliances that have damaged cords. Extension cords should not be used as a substitute for permanently wired receptacle outlets.
14. Learn first aid
Anyone working on electrical equipment, especially those working with voltages greater than 50 volts, should make an effort to learn first aid. A knowledge of first aid, especially CPR, might save your own or someone else’s life. Do not work when tired or taking medications that make you drowsy. Buy a first aid kit.