Safety precautions when using electrical appliances

Written by james holloway Google
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Safety precautions when using electrical appliances
Electrical appliances are important parts of our lives, but they need to be handled safely. (Pixland/Pixland/Getty Images)

Electrical appliances are an important part of our lives. From vacuum cleaners to power tools to kitchen gadgets, they make a wide range of tasks easier. Electrical appliances have to pass rigorous safety checks to make it to market. Nonetheless, it's important to observe a few basic precautions when using them.

Check for damage

Electrical appliances are most dangerous when they aren't working correctly. All appliances should be periodically checked for signs of damage. Frayed cords, blocked air intakes and other wear can lead to the risk of overheating, electrical shock or fire. Some problems can be identified with a quick visual inspection. For instance, an appliance which has exposed wires on its power cable should not be used, while scorch marks can indicate overheating. Items which are in constant use in the workplace should undergo periodic safety inspections by an electrician.

Control cables

Power cords or data cables stretching across the floor are one of the most significant safety risks posed by electrical equipment. Trips and falls are a major cause of injury both in the home and the workplace, and poorly-secured cables are a major contributor to this hazard. Wherever possible, cables should be bundled together and kept away from foot traffic. Where a cable is unavoidable, users should remain aware of its position at all times.

Hazardous environments

Even electrical appliances which are in perfect working order can be dangerous when used in an unsafe environment. Bathrooms and other humid environments are particularly dangerous places to use electrical equipment because of the dangers of combining water and electricity. Because water is such a good conductor, it can cause shorts and dangerous shocks if it gets into electrical equipment. As a result, non-waterproof electrical appliances should never be operated in an environment where they might interact with water.

Other safety rules

Many basic safety precautions for electrical equipment are routine. For instance, electrical appliances should never be unplugged by pulling the cord, which can damage the cord or plug. The plug should be removed at the socket. Appliances should be switched off at the socket when not in use, both to reduce energy consumption and to minimise the risk of fire. Although power strips can be useful, users should be careful not to run too many appliances from a single socket.

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