Repairing a broken electrical outlet in the home

Electrical Safety

DF SafetyHealth and Safety Tips

Electrical injuries can happen both at work and at home. From serious to minor injuries, not following proper procedures when working with electricity can be harmful. In general, there are four main types of electrical injury: electrocution, electric shock, burns, and falls. Therefore, it is important to understand the importance of electrical safety, and what you can do to help stay clear of accidents and harm. So, today, let’s discuss some tips to follow when working with any kind of electricity.  

Stay dry 

It is important to always keep water, and any other kinds of liquids, at a safe distance from sources of electricity. You may also want to consider installing a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter. A Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) is described as “an electrical safety device. It is designed to trip or cut power to electrical circuits by monitoring the amount of current flowing from hot to neutral wiring.” A GFCI can help in preventing accidents such as electric shock or fires. 

Inspect plugs and cords 

When unplugging any kind of cord, it is important to do so safely and properly. We recommend gently pulling the plug, rather than harshly tugging on the wire, from a distance. You also want to make sure that your plug-ins aren’t covered by heavy furniture or other equipment that can damage the plug in any way. If you do have electrical outlets behind a couch, for example, ensure the object isn’t pushing against the plug. When plugging into an electrical outlet, ensure you put the plug in properly, and never overwhelm extension cords as this could cause overheating, which may result in a fire. 

If you happen to notice unusually warm or hot outlets or cords, this could be sign of unsafe wiring. Immediately unplug everything from the outlet, and refrain from using until you have had an electrician come and investigate the wiring. 

While this might seem obvious, we must remind you to never use a cord that has obvious damage. Regularly check your cords to ensure they are in working order and replace if needed. 

Hire a professional 

It is tempting to DIY large projects, but when it comes to electrical work, we suggest bringing in trained professionals. This way, you not only ensure that the job is done properly, but that it is also done safely. Small jobs, like replacing a light switch, can be completed if done so safely. Be sure to always flip off the breaker to turn off power. To check that you have done so, turn your light on, switch off the breaker, and make sure the light turns off. If the light continues to stay on, you have turned off the wrong one. Keep going until you find the correct breaker. 

Avoid power lines 

There are many hazards associated with power lines. The recommended safe distance can vary by where you live or by utility company. As outlined on the Epcor website, “The limits of approach were designed to keep you working safely on the job site. In Alberta, the safe working distance is 7 metres from an overhead power line, unless confirmed otherwise by EPCOR.” Contact your local electrical company to assist you with what needs to be done or assessed. 

Electricity can be dangerous! However, if you keep these tips in mind, and ensure you are well educated and prepared, you can keep yourself and your home safe.