The importance of safety switches

Sep 06, 2017

According to Master Electricians Australia:

“Every year, 15 people are killed in Australian homes in electrical accidents that could be prevented if a safety switch was fitted on the electrical circuit. As many as 20 times that number of people are hospitalised with serious electrical injuries and burns.”

As licensed electricians, we know that safety switches save lives. However, it is surprising how many people don’t realise how important safety switches are, or what purpose they serve. That’s why we thought we’d write our first blog post about safety switches, explaining what they are and how they save lives.

What is a safety switch?

A Safety Switch is also known as an RCD (residual current device). They are specifically designed to prevent electrocution by cutting the power to an electrical circuit in 0.03 of a second in the event of an electrical leakage or a perceived threat of a leakage. The electricity is cut so fast that the person won’t even receive a shock. A current leakage can result from a wide range of situations. Some common scenarios include:

  • Cutting through a live cable
  • Stormwater leaking into lights and electrical appliances
  • Old wiring or faulty appliances

Why we need more safety switch awareness

While there is legislation in place which makes the installation of safety switches mandatory, the laws vary from state to state, and in NSW, safety switches are only compulsory in homes built or rewired after 1991. When you consider the statistics from Master Electricians Australia, there is certainly more that could be done to protect lives.

  • 20% of Australian homes have serious pre-existing electrical faults
  • 35% of Australian homes have no safety switches
  • 26% of homes have only one safety switch (on the power circuit)
  • 30 million safety switches are needed to protect every circuit in every Australian home

Despite these statistics, 80% of homeowners reported they feel they are well protected from electrical injury in their homes.

Safety switch installation in the Shoalhaven

The good news is that safety switches are relatively inexpensive. The total cost of supply and installation will vary depending on the size of your property, and the number (and type) of switches you need, but the expense is well worth it to protect your family. If you would like an electrical assessment of your home, contact Innovate Energy today. We can test existing safety switches and offer advice on any additional switches your home needs.

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