Safety Switches – Are you protected?

Have you tested the Safety Switches at your place recently? Worksafe QLD recommends you test your Safety Switches every 3 months!
You should be familiar with the safety switches inside your electricity box or switchboard which is usually located on the side of your house. The Safety Switch will have a Test or “T” button next to it. The test button could be various colours and sizes depending on the model installed. Testing the Safety Switch is as simple as pressing the Test button. If the switch flicks off and cuts the power, it is working correctly. If it does not cut the power, call AJ Palmer Electrical immediately.

*Note – This testing process cuts the power to the household – make sure you let everyone know within the house especially if anyone is using a computer.

safety switches

Electrical box containing the safety switches

What are Safety Switches for?

Safety Switches protect you, your family and visitors from electric shock, devastating damage to your home or death. However, despite the importance of the safety switch there are many misconceptions and common myths that unfortunately means it gets overlooked.

A safety switch monitors the flow of electricity through a circuit and turns off the power in a fraction of a second if a leakage of current is detected, this is different to a Circuit Breaker. For example, if you have switched on a faulty toaster, hair dryer or other electrical device the Safety Switch will trip and cut all power to the entire house.  You will find that power points and lights will not switch on. Circuit breakers provide short-circuit protection such as when a power point is over loaded and only this circuit will be affected.

You may have multiple Safety Switches within your switchboard for various different circuits. Sometimes separate Safety Switches are required for the following circuits: Solar panels, hot water, pool equipment, air conditioning, power points, lighting and many more.

Worksafe Queensland have produced a short video to show what to look for within your home switchboard.

If you are unsure which circuits are protected in your home AJ Palmer Electrical can review your existing wiring and advise if you are adequately protected.

Safety switches are not a substitute for common sense!

Faulty appliances, frayed electrical cords, overloaded power sockets and appliances that are leaking water must be dealt with accordingly and either repaired or discarded immediately.