Using electricity safely is a combination of using your common sense, knowing where the potential dangers are and how to minimise them. Here are some great ideas for keeping your family safe.

  • If you have children, put a detachable guard rail around your cooking elements.
  • Don’t let pan handles or electrical cords hang over the edge of your stove, where children can reach them.
  • Keep your stove top clear of everything except cooking utensils.
  • Never run a cord over your stove top.
  • Don’t leave cords and appliances near wet areas.
  • Never fill your kettle while it’s plugged in.
  • Dry your hands before touching power points (this applies wherever you are in the house).
  • If toast gets stuck in your toaster, unplug it before trying to get the toast out.

  • Don’t use extension cords in the bathroom or laundry.
  • Keep appliances away from wet areas.
  • Heaters and heated towel rails should be permanently wired by a registered electrician.
  • Clean your dryer’s dust filter regularly to remove lint and the risk of fire.

  • Even the recommended temperature of 50 – 55ºC can cause burns. Always treat hot water with extreme care.
  • Install a hot water mixing valve to control the temperature of your tap water.
  • Make sure taps are clearly marked hot and cold.
  • Always run the cold water first when running a bath, then add the hot water.

  • Keep heaters away from overhanging bedspreads and duvets.
  • Switch off heaters before you go to bed or leave the house.
  • At the start of winter, ensure your electric blanket is safe by turning it on to its highest setting for several minutes and checking to see if any part of it is overheating.
  • Switch your electric blanket off before you get into bed.
  • If you spill liquid on your electric blanket, switch it off at the wall immediately.
  • Never use a hot water bottle and electric blanket at the same time.

  • Keep heaters away from curtains or table cloths.
  • Don’t place vases or fish tanks near electrical appliances.
  • Don’t run electric cords through doorways or windows where they could be jammed.
  • Don’t place cords under carpets or where there is frequent foot traffic.

  • Replace damaged plugs or frayed cords immediately.
  • If an appliance begins to smoke, you notice a burning smell or you get a slight shock, switch it off at the wall immediately and either replace it or seek advice from a registered electrician.
  • Don’t overload your power points. If you need more power points, contact a registered electrician to have them installed or make sure you have a multi-plug board with a built in overload switch.

  • Only use one-piece extension cords. Never, ever plug two cords together.
  • Don’t use electric mowers or hedge clippers in the rain or after heavy dew.
  • When using a mower or clipper, keep the power cord clear of the area you are working in.
  • When working outside, use a Safety Switch (Residual Current Device) or an isolating transformer. The Safety Switch automatically disconnects the circuit if there is a leakage to earth and the possibility of an electric shock.

  • Keep extension ladders, boat masts and window washing equipment away from power lines.
  • Never climb anywhere near power lines.
  • Don’t let children fly kites near power lines. If they do fly a kite near lines, and it becomes tangled, make sure they know never to try to retrieve it. Warn them not to climb power poles, pylons or substations.

  • If you answer ‘No’ to any of the following questions, either fix the problem or contact your electrician immediately.
  • Do you have enough power points in your home, eliminating the need for overloaded multi-plugs?
  • Are your power points in good condition?
  • Are all power points firmly attached to the wall?
  • Are all your plugs in good condition?
  • Are all the cords and connections to the plug in good condition?
  • Are all the power points in your kitchen placed in such a way that you don’t have to reach over toasters, kettles or ovens?
  • Are all your appliances in good condition?
What Are The Leading Causes of Electrical Accidents?

Unsafe Acts

There are 2 reasons for unsafe acts:
  1. We know better but intentionally do something unsafe.
  2. We don't know better.
Avoid the following unsafe acts:
  • Failure to de-energize, lockout & tagout hazards during maintenance, repair or inspections.
  • Use of defective and unsafe tools.
  • Use of tools or equipment too close to energized parts.
  • Not draining off stored energy in capacitors.
  • Using 3-wire cord with a 2-wire plug.
  • Removing the third prong (ground pin) to make a 3-prong plug fit a 2-prong outlet.
  • Overloading outlets with too many appliances.
  • Using the attached electrical cord to raise or lower equipment.
  • Not verifying power is off when making repair (drilling into a 110 Volt a.c. line can kill).
  • Working in an elevated position near overhead lines.

Unsafe Equipment

Some common causes of unsafe equipment:
  • Loose connections
  • Faulty insulation
  • Improper grounding (removal of 3rd prong)
  • Use of "homemade" extension cords
  • Defective parts
  • Unguarded live parts--for example:
    • Bare conductors or exposed terminals
    • Metal parts of equipment may become energeized when connected by cord or plug. Capacitance may cause up to 55% of line voltage to be stored on the casing of metal tools.

Hazardous Environments

Use special precautions when working in potentially hazardous environments and situations. Even an accidental static discharge can cause a fire or explosion in areas where the following are present:
  • Flammable vapors, liquids and gasses
  • Combustible dusts
  • Corrosive atmospheres
  • Explosive environments
  • Poor housekeeping: blocked electrical boxes, flammable materials stored in equipment rooms, lack of proper hazard signs, excess clutter.

Special care is also needed in wet or damp locations - water and electricity are a bad combination. If the wire is frayed or damaged, a fatal electrical shock can result.