What is a Safety Switch?

Many people are now more interested in learning about ways to protect themselves from avoidable incidents and are asking questions that will help them make informed decisions. One of the popular questions, “What is a Safety Switch?” will be answered with this article.

What is a Safety Switch?

A safety switch is a device built to monitor the flow of electricity, detect imbalances, and automatically switch off the power supply to prevent electric shock. With a safety switch installed in your house, the risks of electric shock and electrical fires breaking out are greatly reduced.

How Are Safety Switches Different from Circuit Breakers?

Often, people tend to mistake safety switches for surge protectors or circuit breakers – but while they perform similar functions, they are distinct from each other in several important ways.

The major difference between them is the fact that circuit breakers detect fluctuations in the current, such as when there is an overload, high current, or short circuit. The circuit breaker turns off the supply of power when any of these are detected to protect the circuit from being damaged.

On the other hand, safety switches monitor the flow of electricity and with every imbalance that can cause an electric shock it detects, immediately shuts off the power supply. It is designed with the safety of the user in mind as opposed to purely protecting appliances from damage.

Which Safety Switch Should I Get?

There are three types of safety switches from which to choose: the switchboard safety switch, the portable safety switch, and the power point safety switch.

The portable safety switch is mostly used by people who work with power tools. These people often have to work in houses with no safety switches, and therefore, they always carry a mobile one with them.

The switchboard safety switch is installed on circuits, while the power point safety switch replaces already existing power points. They are more complex – therefore, you must be sure to install safety switches to the appropriate standard whenever you use this type.

How to Test a Safety Switch

Every safety switch comes with a button that you can use to test whether or not it is functional. This button comes in different colours but is usually labelled either “T” or “Test”. All you have to do to test your safety switch is to press the test button and watch the safety switch.

If it is working, it should immediately turn off. If not, call your electrician and let him know it is faulty. This test should be conducted at least once every three months. A call should also be placed to your electrician if you find your safety switch turning off too frequently, as this problem is called “nuisance tripping” and is a sign of malfunction.


If lives and property are to be secured against electrical fire outbreaks and electric shocks, safety switches must be installed. With the knowledge you now possess about safety switches, you should endeavour to confirm the presence or absence of a safety switch on your electrical switchboard.

Enlist the help of an electrician to install or repair your safety switches, and breathe a sigh of relief knowing you are safer now.


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