Electricity Safety Advice
We all want to keep our homes and loved ones safe. We’ve put together some advice when using electrical equipment so you don’t need to worry.
Things to remember
Electricity is part of our everyday life, and most of the time we use it without thinking. However, we should all be aware of the hidden dangers.
Keep electrical equipment away from water
Water conducts electricity, and not all electrical equipment is insulated to keep out water. If water gets into the equipment, it becomes dangerous. It is also dangerous to touch equipment, plugs and switches with wet hands, so make sure you dry your hands thoroughly before touching them.
Check the user manual when cleaning electrical equipment
It’s fine to clean electrical equipment and the manufacturer usually tells you how to do this safely in a user manual that comes with the equipment. We also advise switching off and unplugging the equipment before you do this.
Check plugs and wires
Check plugs and wires regularly to make sure they aren’t split or frayed, as this can cause short-circuits. A short-circuit could electrocute you or result in a fire. If you find any damage or loose connections, then switch the equipment off, unplug it and get it fixed straight away.
Using electrical equipment in your home
There are lots of everyday things in our homes and gardens that use electricity. Follow this simple advice to stay safe around your home.
Don’t hang anything over convector or fan heaters
A convector heater uses a heat source within the unit to heat the air around it. A fan heater passes air over a heating element and warms the air, which leaves the heater and heats the room. Both heaters can get very hot so it’s important not to hang laundry on or near them to dry.
Always check your electric blanket
If you have an electric blanket, make sure you always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines. Don’t use it when it’s damp, folded or creased, and always check for signs of damage to the blanket and power cable.
Avoid using adaptors and extension leads
If you need to use one, it’s better to use a bar adaptor (multi board) on a lead rather than a block adaptor. Don’t plug one adaptor into another as this can cause them to overheat.
Be safe when you work outside
If you’re working with electrical equipment outside, make sure you use a Residual Current Device (RCD). This is a safety gadget that automatically disconnects the equipment in case of a fault. Check for damage before using them and make sure you know how to stop them. If it’s raining, don’t use any electrical equipment outside.
Equipment and electricians
It’s important to make sure our homes are safe. Take a look at our tips before you make a decision to buy a new piece of equipment or use an electrician to do work for you.
Get the BEAB seal & SLS of approval
The British Electrotechnical Approvals Board (BEAB) is an independent organization for electrical safety. BEAB test electrical equipment and if they find the equipment is safe to use, they’ll grant it a certificate. You’ll find the BEAB seal of approval on the equipment. Also SLS is Sri Lanka sanded certificate
Make sure you wire plugs correctly
If you fit a plug yourself, make sure you wire it correctly and always use the right size fuse. Always use short, undamaged wires and don’t join two pieces of wire together. You can also get an independent electrician to do the work for you.
Stay at least 15 meters from a downed power line or other damaged facility. The voltage on the ground is highest in the immediate area around the electrical source and decreases with distance (see illustration below). Walking over the area can cause a fatal shock.
If you feel a tingling sensation, stop immediately, place your feet together and shuffle or hop out of the area without touching anything with your hands.
If you are driving a vehicle that touches a downed power line, you are generally safe as long as you stay in the vehicle. Others are safe as long as they stay back 15 meters.
- If you are able, slowly drive at least 15 meters clear of the downed power line and any pools of water.
- If you are unable to drive the vehicle call, or have someone call, LECO and stay inside until LECO Electric arrives.
- If you must leave the vehicle due to immediate danger (such as a vehicle fire), jump out of the vehicle with your feet together and without touching the car and ground at the same time. Shuffle or hop away to a safe distance: at least 15 meters from the vehicle.
Plan Your Work
- Before doing any work near power lines, know where all of the power lines are located.
- Before digging or driving posts into the ground, call LECO at 0112371627 to locate and mark all LECO Electric underground cables.
- Make sure swimming pools are situated well away from power lines.
- Do not plant trees where they will grow into power lines.
- Install antennas at a distance at least equal to the height of the antenna plus three meters.
Where’s The Line
Take great care to avoid overhead or underground power lines, especially when performing dangerous activities such as:
- Using a ladder
- Pruning or cutting trees
- Cleaning a pool
- Installing or removing an antenna
- Working on the roof
- Carrying long tools or pipes
- Setting up and moving scaffolding
- Digging post holes
- Always be on the lookout for fallen or sagging wires, especially after storms.
- Stay away from downed power lines. Never touch an energized wire with your hand or any other object, under any circumstance. If you notice a damaged facility, notify LECO immediately and keep everyone away from the area.
- Never play around power substations, poles, towers, fences and trees near power lines or electrical equipment.
- Never fly kites near overhead power lines.
- Never spray water guns or hoses at power lines.
- Never try to open or poke sticks or other objects into underground transformer boxes.
- Stay out of substations and areas marked ‘Keep Out’ or ‘Danger.’ If a ball or toy lands in a high voltage area, call LECO to retrieve it.
- Avoid going outdoors during a lightning storm.
- Rubber gloves WILL NOT protect you from the voltages carried by overhead power lines.
- Wood CAN conduct electricity.
- Make sure bathroom and outdoor outlets are equipped with Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs).
- Never poke fingers, toys or anything else into wall outlets.
- Do not overload circuits.
- Use cords with a third (ground) prong. Never try to remove the third prong.
- Do not plug or unplug electrical appliances, tools or equipment with wet hands or in wet conditions.
- Do not insert any metal implement into an electrical appliance while it is plugged in.
- Replace damaged or frayed cords.
- Never attempt to disconnect your power meter, as it could explode.
- Always have a qualified electrician perform any electrical work including hooking up an emergency or back-up generator.