Electricity should always be treated with respect. According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, all accidents are always most likely to occur at home, and these include electrical accidents and injuries.
If you don’t know the risks posed by electrical appliances, there’s still time to learn how to keep safe. Read on to find out more about the dangers of electricity, the electrical tests required by law, and how you can proactively reduce the dangers.
What are the dangers of electricity?
Electrical injuries can occur at a wide range of voltages, but the severity depends on individual cases. Alternating current (AC) and Direct Current (DC) electrical supplies can both cause of range of physical injuries. These include:
- Electric shock
- Loss of muscle control
- Electrical burns
The Health and Safety Executive offers more advice on working around electricity, including some of the best ways for employers to keep their employees and their premises safe. One of the first steps for any manager should be to carry out the necessary, legally required electrical tests, detailed below.
Which electrical tests are carried out by engineers?
- Insulation resistance test
This test calibrates the quality of the electrical insulation used. Using an insulation tester can quickly help to indicate if and where the current is leaking and to what capacity, informing engineers to be able to perform a precise repair.
- High voltage test
Known in the industry as dielectric withstand test, this measures the capacity of an electrical appliance to withstand a high voltage applied between the ground and an electrical circuit.
- Leakage current test
This test determines whether the current flowing between an AC source and the ground does not exceed a specified limit. In this test, engineers simulate the effects of a person touching exposed metal components to identify if a current would flow.
- Ground continuity test
A continuity test ensures that a clear path is available between any exposed metal surfaces. These tests are also known as continuity tests and can be carried out with a multimeter.
Why are electrical tests so important?
In short, testing is the only way to identify potentially lethal faults in an electrical appliance. If current flows incorrectly, the risk of electric shock is increased significantly.
Once you’ve had electrical tests carried out, there are still a few habits you can keep up to promote electrical safety at home. These include:
- Having your wiring installation maintained at least once every five years
- Discarding appliances with damaged flexes
- Not using mains-operated appliances in the bathroom
- Regularly checking electric blankets
- Checking for the CE mark when you buy new equipment
Overall, electrical testing is paramount to safety at home and in the workplace, so don’t delay in getting yours up to date.