Don’t muck around when electrical safety is involved

February 5, 2014

When it comes to electrical safety you might think it’s safe to proceed, but it’s best to call in an electrician to be sure.

Don’t muck around when electrical safety is involved

According to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, the electrical current and voltage that comes into our homes is powerful enough to cause death by electrocution.

  • Even changing a light bulb can be a real danger if the light is still connected to the current.
  • When you have work or renovation projects inside or outside your home, they should always be entrusted to certified experts if they involve electricity. It is a matter of electrical safety.

The basics of electrical safety

When you plug in an appliance (hair dryer, toaster or power tool, for example) the electric current always follows the most direct path.

  • Some materials are good conductors of electricity, such as gold, silver, copper, iron and water.
  • What you should know is that the human body can also be a good conductor. That is why it’s important to identify all potential risks in order to reduce injuries from falls, electric shock, burns and electrocution.

Valuable tips to follow

Where electrical safety is concerned, some tips are worth their weight in gold.

Here are a few to consider:

  • Unplug an iron before filling it with water.
  • Do not bend or cut the third prong (called a grounding prong) of a plug in order to fit it into an outlet with only two slots.
  • When children are present, keep unused outlets covered with a protective cap.
  • Do not leave an electrical wire lying on the floor where someone could trip over it. Do not nail it to the wall and do not hide it under a rug. The safest solution is to bring the appliance or light nearer to an electrical outlet or ask a professional to install a new electrical outlet near the appliance.
  • Think of extension cords as a temporary solution. Do not overload them.
  • Never use a hair dryer in a bathroom if it is not plugged into an outlet with a GFCI button. Remember that water and electricity are fatal when mixed.
  • Never use an appliance when the wire’s insulating sheath has been damaged.
  • Use light bulbs of the appropriate wattage in the light fixtures they’re intended for, and make sure the bulb are screwed in properly.
  • Replace a fuse with another fuse of the same type.
  • Never place an auxiliary heating device or a halogen floor lamp within one metre of the bed, curtains, clothing, or any other combustible material. Always switch it off when you leave the room.
  • Avoid cutting wet grass with an electric lawn mower.
  • For the outdoors, only use extension cords intended for outdoor use. The same applies to Christmas lights.
  • Never go close to a power line with a ladder.

I need an expert!

Building codes are quite strict about electrical wiring out of concern for electrical safety. To be on the safe side, changes to home wiring should always be done by a certified electrician.

*Not only is it dangerous, it may even be illegal in some provinces, such as Québec, to do your own electrical wiring. The solution: consider hiring a master electrician.

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