Dealing with or working with electricity is always a dangerous proposition. If you are not an electrician yourself, it might be difficult to identify potential electrical hazards without the professional advice or assistance of a licensed electrical contractor.
Even if you are only working incidentally with electricity, such as when you are setting up a specific venue for an event or a conference, it is always good to practice safe electrical practices whenever possible. Of course, the number one priority is to hire a licensed electrical contractor to help you set up and check your electrical systems and wiring, but on a personal level, you might also want to start with good practices in dealing with electricity yourself. In this area, mistakes can be fatal. Electricity can cause burns and shock, and it can also kill. This article contains some of the more basic safety practices when dealing with electricity.
- Regular maintenance of electrical equipment and installation
Many of the problems you might find yourself facing could possibly be handled preventively – that is, by keeping our equipment well-maintained and in good shape, and making repairs immediately when necessary. By doing so, plenty of potential electrical and fire hazards are eliminated automatically.
- Don’t overload your sockets.
If at all possible, alternative sources of power should be offered different people so that they do not overcrowd and overuse any available sockets and plugs. Ask your electrician how you can safely offer different power sources to your guests while keeping down the electrical risks of overloading your sockets.
- Use safety devices such as the RCD, or the Residual Current Device
The RCD is intended to be a safety device that attaches directly to the main socket-outlet. This offers a first level of protection to the main power supply cable. How it works is that should there be any fluctuations or faults in the electrical system, the RCD detects this and switches off the power supply.
Many electricians appreciate the use of an RCD as it prevents basic electrical problems from worsening before a professional has had to check things out. It is a very valuable safety device that is recommended for establishments or events where a professional electrician is not always present. It is recommended that the system not be turned back on again until after it has been checked out by a professional electrical contractor.
Just an additional word regarding RCDs, however. It may sometimes happen that an RCD trips frequently, but no discernible problem could be found in the system. If so, it may be a problem with the safety device itself rather than with the electrical system. When this happens, it may be a mechanical issue with the device itself, and you should consult with the manufacturer.
- Common electrical safety practices
Sometimes practicing electrical safety means nothing more than being observant of your equipment and the people around you, and practicing general safety tips. For instance:
- Anybody working with electricity or electrical equipment must be fully qualified to do so.
- Switch off all electrical equipment before plugging or unplugging them
- When handling, repairing, or making adjustments to any electrical equipment, make sure that the device is unplugged
- Make sure dangerous or faulty or wiring are labeled appropriately to prevent other people from accidentally getting hurt.