For a home or business to function properly, electricity is necessary. It is a major component of every modern establishment. Unfortunately, most people don’t give much thought to their dependence on electricity until an outage occurs and disrupts their daily routine. That’s when the terms electrician and safety switch/switches come to mind.
No matter how much we take electricity for granted, it can be life-threatening if not handled properly and monitored regularly. That is why you need an electrical safety switch to mitigate potential danger.
Electrical switches should be on all the electrical circuits within the residence but what is a safety switch?
An electrical switch is a gadget you can liken to physical insurance against electric shock or burns. The gadget protects you when interacting with electric devices by switching off any time there is a current leak.
What Does a Safety Switch Do?
Note that even in the presence of a circuit breaker, you will still need to use a safety switch. That is because the two do not perform the same functions.
- A safety switch protects you by shutting off the electric supply in case of a leak
- A circuit breaker will shut off the power supply if there is a high current fault to protect the electric appliances.
So, both are important, and none of them can replace the other. A safety switch will monitor the flow of electricity flowing through a circuit and then detect a problem that is likely to pose a risk to you. It then shuts off the power within 0.03 seconds.
Remember, the presence of a safety switch is not a guarantee to drop your guard when handling electrical appliances and ignoring danger signs. You must take the necessary caution while using electricity.
How Does a Safety Switch Work?
In the event of an electric shock, the electricity must have flown through a person’s body to the earth. Electric shock can happen through direct and indirect contact with a live conductor. There is a likelihood that the electricity will travel through the heart, causing an interruption of the electrical impulses. These are the impulses responsible for achieving a normal heart beat. At this point, the heart will have to stop, leading to death.
But with a reliable electricity connection, the safety switches detect the circuit’s residual current flowing through the body to avoid this. I.e., they can tell there is a difference (loss) in current and immediately disconnect the power in 300 milliseconds. That is how they manage to minimize the risk of fire and electrocution.
For the homeowners who have owned establishments since 1991, there is a rule stating that all the buildings must have functional safety switches. Therefore, you must adhere to the requirement for the safety of the tenants leasing your premises by having the control in place.
If you’re hiring an electrician, make sure they have a valid license to do the job. As a property owner, you have an obligation to ensure that your premises have safety switches for any power outlet circuits and to declare this in your sale or rental agreement. If you’re buying a property, make sure that it has safety switches or have them in place within three months.