Research shows that most electrical fatalities in Australia are caused by faulty appliances and other consumer equipment. Only about 35 percent of deaths are caused by fixed wiring. This means that even though you have a home with top quality wiring fitted by a registered electrician, if the electrical equipment you use in your home is not up to standard, you could be at risk.
Precision Electrical and Plumbing advises clients to buy equipment that meets the AS/NZS 3160:2010 Standard. Even though the Standard is not law, workplaces must comply with it, and it’s recommended that all households do to.
In the workplace all appliances should be tested while in service. While this is not compulsory for domestic homes, the list of equipment specified in the Standard includes items that are used in the house: microwave ovens, vacuum cleaners, kettles, toasters and the rest. Portable air conditioners, hand-held and other portable tools, machines, office equipment and even safety switches and residual current devices (RCDs) are also included.
The reality, as any Melbourne electrician knows, is that many fatal accidents – in the home as well as the workplace – are caused by people coming into contact with damaged or worn cables, as well as faulty switches. So if the appliances you are using are not new or relatively new, it’s a good idea to have them tested.
Here are some other general safety tips to ensure that your home is safe.
Safety Tips For Householders
Electricity can be lethal, which is why only registered electricians are permitted to wire homes and work on electrical systems. However electricity is a vital source of power and treated with caution and respect, it is perfectly safe.
- Unless appliances are operated via a timing device of some kind, plugs should always be removed when appliances are not in use.
- Use good quality plugs and check the wiring in the plug regularly. If people tug on cords, the wiring in a plug can come loose.
- Any appliances that undergo rough treatment should have a rubber plug (rather than plastic).
- If you are working on a circuit – even simply removing the faceplate of a switch or changing a circuit fuse – switch off the mains electricity.
- Do not join flex with insulating tape. If you have to join flex, use a proper flex connector.
- When you use appliances, be careful not to stretch flex.
- If flex is damaged or worn, replace it or replace the appliance. Never try to patch it.
- When using long extension leads, do not work with them rolled up because they can overheat.
- Plug adaptors are very useful, but don’t overload plugs. Generally you should never use more than one adaptor in a single socket.
- Never plug a high-powered appliance into an adaptor.
Lastly, if you have any doubts or worries about electricity in your home, or are concerned about an appliance, call in a registered Melbourne electrician to help you. And remember that Precision Electrical and Plumbing offers a 24-hour emergency service.