I think I’ve tripped the safety switch, what do I do?

What is a safety switch?

Safety switches are devices connected to electrical cables within a home, factory or alike and they have the ability to detect the loss of a current from a particular circuit and cut off power to the affected electrical device in as little as 25 milliseconds. Safety switches are designed to save lives; they prevent electric shock and electrocution. They have become mandatory on power outlet circuits of new homes since 1992 and on light power circuits in most Australian states since 2000. Many older homes and business residences don’t have safety switches installed which means things like air-conditioning, hot water systems and kitchen stoves aren’t protected. As of 2008, all residential rental properties were required to have safety switches installed. Workplace supervisors have a responsibility to make sure that RCDs (residual current devices) are installed within their workplace and fitted to electrical circuits wherever hand-held electrical tools are to be used. RCDs are to be installed by a licensed electrician only.

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Safety Switches

Safety switches provide protection against injuries caused by electricity. Many of the fatalities caused by electricity could be easily prevented by installing a safety switch. A safety switch is designed to save lives by monitoring power flow and making sure it is even. When a person comes into direct contact with electricity, electricity is directed through their body to earth. This causes a loss in the amount of electricity in the electrical circuit (the path for the flow of electricity). A safety switch detects very small losses of electricity and immediately switches the power off within in a circuit in as little as 0.3 seconds.

Safety switches should be tested every three months to ensure they are in good working order.
You can test a safety switch by pressing the ‘Test’ or ‘T’ button. The safety switch should immediately trip to the ‘Off’ position. You will then need to return the switch to the ‘On’ position.

If your safety switch does not trip to the ‘off’ position after you have pressed the ‘Test’ button, cut the power immediately and call a qualified electrical contractor.

Electrical Safety Tips

The safety of your family is our primary concern.

To prevent future hazards and dangerous outcomes around your home, here are a few safety tips we recommend!

1. Grease and dirt can affect the functionally of appliances and can also make them unsafe. Cleaning your appliances regularly, by disconnecting the power and wiping down with a damp cloth, can improve the function of your appliance and prevent future hazards.

2. Safety switches are invaluable for protecting your family from serious injury, electric shock or even electrocution, along with protecting your appliances. Having an electrical safety switch installed is quite easy and relatively inexpensive, make sure you maintain your switchboard and if repairs or upgrades are required always use a licensed electrical contractor.

3. When changing a light bulb, ensure the electrical supply to the lighting circuit is turned off at the switchboard, and be sure to never replace light bulbs that exceed the socket rating.

4. Make sure you clean exhaust fans and lint filters in clothes dryers regularly to prevent risk of fire and damage to appliance.

5. It’s very important to always have a functional smoke detector. Maintain your smoke detectors by ensuring that you have changed the battery at least once a year, cleaned/dusted the detector and tested the detector at least once a month to ensure your family’s safety.