A Guide to Electrical Safety

Electrical Safety is as important in the home, as in the workplace.Regardless if we are an employer, a employee or a householder, we all have a duty to respect electricity and use it safely. In this guide, we will look at how we can use electricity safely and the steps we need to take.

I am writing this post, after a dangerous cable, which had partially melted, knocked the power out on the 3rd and 4th floors of J Block.

First, Lets Talk About Pylons, Substations and Railways.

Tall electricity Pylons can be very dangerous, as they carry thousands and thousands of of volts of electricity and is enough to instantly kill you. This is why you should never attempt to climb a pylon or fly a kite or model plane (inc. drones) near them. If you see someone trying to climb a pylon, you must phone the Police, by dialling 999, Followed by Electricity Emergency on 105 immediately.

Substations are also just as dangerous. They may carry less voltage, but still can kill you or seriously injure you, due to the voltage and magnetic fields, caused by the incoming and outgoing power, as it is stepped up and down. Some Substations are in yards, like the one behind the School Laundry. These usually have high fences and also have large Danger of Death signs on them. (For good reason) Others may be in a building or enclosed in a room inside a building. An example of this, is the substation that transforms the power from our Generators, to a safe voltage and are located next to the Generator Plant Room in the Basement of D Block. These Substations are also kept locked and only the Electricity Board have keys.

Railways use either 750v DC 3rd Rail, 25kv AC Overhead, (25,000 Volts) or 750v DC 4th Rail. Each type of power feed can cause life changing injuries or can cause instant death. It is illegal to trespass on Railway land and it is extremely dangerous to touch the conductor rails or the overhead lines.

Safety of Electrical Equipment at Home and At Work.

Equipment at work, that is plugged into the mains, should have a Portable Appliance Test (PAT) once a year. This checks the connections to the plug and ensures that the appliance is safe to use. Some appliances may fail, due to old wiring, damage to the plug or earth leakage.

Testing of equipment at home is not a legal requirement, but you should check that sockets are not overloaded and that the plugs and sockets are checked regularly. This also applies in the workplace. If you need to use an extension lead, DO NOT OVERLOAD IT! If you are using en extension lead on a drum, make sure that it has been completely unwound and is not looped, or it may get very hot. Never use paperclips as substitute to fuses, as it can cause the fuse holder to overheat and combust!

In the home and at work, it is important to check cabling, sockets and switches regularly. Look for signs of cracked \ frayed cabling, cracked sockets \ switches, switches and sockets that are hot to touch, Burnt or scorched, electrical fittings that are loose or badly connected etc. Any signs of the above should be dealt with, by taking the socket \ switch \ appliance out of use and a electrician called to remedy the fault.

Electrical Safety When Out and About

If you are out and about and see a faulty lamp post, or a traffic lights that are not working properly, report the issue to your local Council. However, if the fault poses a danger to the general public, such as a sparking lamp post, call the Emergency Services on 999.

If you see a pit, where men have been working to replace cable in the ground, don’t be a pratt and jump down to have a look! There is the possibility that a live cable may of been left exposed and that the cable may be a higher voltage than 240 volts. The higher the voltage, the higher the risk of you receiving an injury or even death!

If you see a downed cable, do not go near it, keep everyone clear and call the emergency services. Dial 999.

If we respect electricity and we use it for it’s correct purpose, it will respect us. If we do not respect electricity, it can lead to death injury or even fire!