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The indoor workplace

It's important to ensure safety is always a priority for both employers and employees inside the workplace.

A safety switch protects you and your employees against the most frequent cause of electrocution - a shock from electricity passing through the body to the earth.

How do they work?

If a fault occurs in an appliance or wiring, causing current to flow to earth, a safety switch's earth leakage sensor responds to the imbalance and cuts the power. This happens in less than a heartbeat, potentially preventing electrocution.

Do you have one?

Your workplace should have a safety switch. You can check on your switchboard by looking for a 'test' or 'reset' button.

Is it working?

If you have a safety switch installed, it should be tested every three months. Simply press the 'test' button once and the switch should automatically trip - that means it's working. Then you must reset the switch by turning it back 'on'. And remember, if you're unsure, seek advice from a licensed electrical contractor (try Master Electricians).

Important note

Testing the safety switch will cut your power supply so be aware that you'll need to reset your electrical clocks, etc.

Appliances and electrical fittings

  • Switch off the power before pulling out a plug and hold the plug, not the cord. Always switch off appliances before cleaning them.
  • If extra power points are needed, make sure they're installed by a licensed electrical contractor or use a powerboard. Note that using double adaptors is not permitted in some workplaces. The Electrical Safety Regulation 2013 sets out specific requirements about electrical equipment and installations at a workplace.
  • Always check for electrical cables before drilling into walls, floors and ceilings. Be particularly careful when drilling around power points and light switches. Contacting a concealed electrical cable with a metal drill bit can be extremely dangerous.
  • Keep leads and electrical cables tidy and out of the way.
  • Install safety switches.  If a fault occurs in an appliance or wiring, causing current to flow to earth, a safety switch's earth leakage sensor responds to the imbalance and cuts the power.  This happens in a heartbeat, potentially preventing electrocution.

Regular maintenance

  • A regular routine safety check is the best way to help keep your appliances and electrical fittings safe.
  • Ensure that damaged power points and frayed, perished or damaged cords are replaced. Always have repairs and safety checks carried out by a licensed electrical contractor.

Water and electricity

  • Water and electricity don't mix. Inside the workplace, the office kitchen is particularly dangerous because water is a conductor of electricity. An electric shock can be more serious if you have wet skin. So, remember never touch electrical appliances or switches with wet hands.

Other important safety tips

  • Keep emergency numbers close to your telephone in case you need them quickly.
  • Be careful using cables or extension cords. Make sure they are taped down and safe if they run across pedestrian areas.
  • If you are a business owner, make sure you meet all your responsibilities and obligations under legislation.
  • Ensure all employees are aware of safety regulations and make safety a personal priority in the workplace.