Electrical Safety – Basic Information
Note: Static electricity is the accumulation of charge on surfaces as a result of contact and friction with another surface. This contact/friction causes an accumulation of electrons on one surface and a deficiency of electrons on the other surface.
Electric current cannot exist without an unbroken path to and from the conductor. Electricity will form a path or loop. When you plug in a device (e.g. a power tool), the electricity takes the easiest path from the plug-in to the tool and back to the power source. This is also known as creating or completing an electrical circuit.
There are four main types of injuries:
- Electrocution (Fatal)
- Electric Shock
- Inspect portable cord-and-plug connected equipment, extension cords, power bars and electrical fittings for damage or wear before each use. Repair or replace damaged equipment immediately.
- Always tape extension cords to walls or floors when necessary. Nails and staples can damage extension cords causing fire and shock hazards.
- Use extension cords or equipment that is rated for the level of amperage or wattage that you are using.
- Always use the correct size fuse. Replacing a fuse with one of a larger size can cause excessive currents in the wiring and possibly start a fire.
- Always use ladders made with non-conductive side rails (e.g., fiberglass) when working with or near electricity or power lines.
- Place halogen lights away from combustible materials such as cloths or curtains. Halogen lamps can become very hot and may be a fire hazard.
- Know where the panel and circuit breakers are located in case of an emergency.
- Label all circuit breakers and fuse boxes clearly. Each switch should be positively identified as to which outlet or appliance it is for.
- Do not use outlets or cords that have exposed wiring.
- Do not use portable cord-and-plug connected power tools with the guards removed.
- Do not block access to panels and circuit breakers or fuse boxes.
- Do not touch a person or electrical apparatus in the event of an electrical accident. Always disconnect the power source first.
Both electrocutions and electric shocks are capable of causing serious injuries but one is much more serious than the other. Electrocution refers to an accident with electricity in which a person died. Common causes of this type of accident including exposure to electrical sources like exposed wires, contact with power lines or electrical arc flash, and contact with a downed power line.
On the other hand, an electric shock is one that involves electrical harm but in which the victim does not die. Electric shocks can result in serious and even life-changing injuries.
Indoor causes of electrocution/ electric shock
Outdoor causes of electrocution/ electric shock
|Faulty appliances||Fallen power lines in water logged areas.|
|Electrical appliances encountering water.||Touching a vehicle in contact with a downed power line|
|Damaged cords or extension leads||Contacting an individual that has been electrocuted/electric shocked|
|Incorrect household wiring||Running or taking large steps near downed power lines.|
|Unregulated electric cords which can come into contact with children.||Electricity theft|
|Walking on cords or wiring (breaks insulation) can cause an electric shock.||Lightning|
|Touching an electric generator with wet hands.|
|Keep appliances away from moisture and water||Keep away from downed power lines in water logged areas during torrential rains (at least 35 feet).|
|Turn off the power.||Stay inside your car a downed power line comes into contact.|
|Utilize insulated extension cords for household usage.||Do not drive over fallen power lines.|
|Check for improper or faulty wiring.||Do not touch a vehicle in contact with a downed power line.|
|Never connect or disconnect under load.||Assume all downed power lines are live.|
|Use the correct size fuse.||Use insolated tools such as rubber-soled boots and rubber gloves when moving past water-logged areas.|
|Do not run electrical cords underneath rugs, carpets or furniture||If you have to move past a downed power line, shuffle (or hop) with both feet together. Keep both feet on the ground and touching at all times.|
|Always tape extension cords to walls or floors when necessary. Nails and staples can damage extension cords causing fire and shock hazards.||Suspend power to areas with water logging and other technical faults.|
|Use extension cords or equipment that is rated for the level of amperage or wattage that you are using||Always use ladders made with non-conductive side rails (e.g., fiberglass) when working near electricity or power lines.|
|Never open the refrigerator or deep freezer if your feet are damp and bare||Do not use a Kunda or illegal hook connection under any circumstances.|
|Do not use cords or extensions until a qualified electrician has checked the wiring.||Never fly kites or model airplanes near power lines|
|Label all circuit breakers and fuse boxes clearly.||Stay away from substations, transformers and the fences that surround them|
|Place halogen lights away from combustible materials such as cloths or curtains.||If there is lightning, avoid staying outdoors. Do not touch any metal objects and do not take shelter under trees.|
|Make sure your hands are dry before touching the generator and use a rubber mat||Never allow your children to play in pools of rain water.|
|If your hands are wet after being in the rain, then do not ring the house bell without drying them.|
If you receive an electric shock
If you see someone else receive an electric shock
|Let go of the electric source immediately.||Do not touch someone who has been shocked if they are still in contact with the source of electricity. Stay 20 feet away from them|
|Do not move unless you have to from the electric source.||Immediately call for help contacting KE Response Centre 118 or your nearest complaint center.|
|Cover any burns with a sterile gauze||– Turn off the flow of electricity if possible. Use a non-conducting object such as rubber or wood to turn off the flow.|
|Once power is turned off, elevate the individual’s legs and feet.|
|Cool the individual’s burns with cool running water for 20 minutes.|