Having an electrical safety switch is a must. Electric currents can affect a body in three ways:
- Thermal skin burns through contact with a source of electricity
- Tissue, nerve and muscle destruction by a current passing through your body
- Cardiac arrest due to the effect of electricity on your heart
Depending on the voltage involved, injuries by electrocution can be severe, even fatal. Preventing injury by electrocution through use of an electrical safety switch is therefore essential.
Why having an electrical safety switch is a must
Fuses and circuit breakers will cut power in the event of an electrical fault. This may, however, not prevent electricity-related injuries. An electrical safety switch, more commonly referred to as an RCD, or residual current device, on the other hand, is specifically designed to prevent injuries by electrical shock.
It does so by monitoring flow of electricity through circuits and, on detecting a leak of current through faulty appliances, switches or wiring, automatically shutting off the power supply.
When to use an electrical safety switch
Ideally, every electrical appliance should be secured by an RCD, but it is particularly important to do so when:
- Using power tools in the garden, where the risk of cutting through leads or moisture entering a tool and causing current leaks or short circuits obviously significantly heightens the risk of accidental injuries
- Installing outside lighting, such as fairy lights, strings of lights for garden parties, for example
- High voltages are involved, such as in working environments
At work, your employer is responsible for your health and safety. This means they must assess all potential risks of accidents at work and put all necessary, reasonable measures to minimise such risks into place. In terms of preventing electricity-related workplace accidents, this should include:
- Maintaining all electrical and electronic equipment, leads and wiring in safe working order
- Regularly having all equipment safety tested
- Installing RCDs to prevent potentially fatal injuries at work by electrocution
If these measures to protect you are not put into place by your employer and you are subsequently injured at work, your employer may be liable to compensate you for your pain, suffering and financial losses. This includes loss of earnings and any expenses you may have incurred as a result of your injury at work.
Accident Advice Helpline
Specialising in work injury claims, we can help you get the industrial injury compensation owed to you quickly. Find out how by calling us from your landline or mobile on 0800 689 0500 or 0333 500 0993 today.
Date Published: August 1, 2016
Author: Accident Advice